Note: This article was originally published in THE GLOBAL FUTURIST blog.
Marketing has all but ceased to involve relationships and two-way communications (personalities aren't conveyed too effectively by an automated "press a number" answering service, or in a 140-character social media status update, i.e., Twitter Litter), and has become a matter of shouting about a product or service and then having an operational protocol for fulfillment. The salesmanship has been leached out; the friendship and familiarity between account representative and client has largely been replaced (inadequately) by automation; the Humanity of the process, the relationship between two or more Human Beings to finalize commerce has been minimized.
As a result, customer and client satisfaction with many companies and brands is very poor and getting worse. Loyalty and retention suffer in these hyper-automated companies because people have a hard-wired, deep-seated need to be in personal contact with other people. If you have a captive client base (as in the case of any government-blessed utility or other monopoly), your clients have no choice but to use your services. They are handed to you -- and you are probably abusing, overcharging and underserving them -- if they could leave you, they would. But most emerging enterprises and non-monopolistic businesses, are fighting harder and harder to gain market share because they do not have a persona.
The companies in the small to medium-sized entrepreneurial market sector are merely burning eachother's margins down, and creating an increasing population of discontented, angry and frustrated customers. These people want to speak with a person who knows them, will listen to them, and be personally responsive to them.
The Human Factor will be a major determinant of success in acquiring and retaining market share in the near future. Since it has become so rare, it will actually be re-introduced as an innovative new way to conduct business. Look for the companies that are returning to a person-to-person customer services and marketing model, and you will see the new leaders in their respective spaces.
People want to be greeted by other people; assisted by other people; listened to by other people -- and they have become increasingly desperate for longer-term, dependable, predictable and comfortable "business friendships" with other people. The consumer market is quitely desperate for communion with their commerce -- and the companies that are willing to re-Humanize in order to provide that "personal touch" are going to grab large chunks of market share.
Think about it. I am saying what you've been thinking.
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