digital-humanistAre You a “Digital Humanist”?

The words “digital” and “humanist” don’t seem to fit together, do they?

According to an article I came across at Direct Marketing News, putting the two terms together is a key ingredient in successful modern multi-channel direct marketing campaigns. Multi-channel communications are a powerful way to reach audiences these days, but all communications, regardless of channel, must originate from one priority of mind – we must create genuine human connections.

What is Digital Humanism?

Digital Humanism is the concept that “puts customers at the center and uses technology to help them achieve their goal or solve a problem.” Simply put – it keeps people, not technology, the focus of communications. This idea of keeping people the focus is challenging when we marketers are faced with customers who want to go completely digital. To conserve costs, they sometimes want to capitalize on the digital trends and eliminate all event interactions, in person sales calls, and snail mailings. This is a HUGE mistake. Studies show that while people may prefer to interact online and through mobile devices, they also want human interaction in the mix to make them feel comfortable taking the next step in their buying process.

How can we achieve the perfect Digital Humanist balance? Look at the article’s Digital Humanist Manifesto:

  • Keep people in the center: Design your digital communications around what your audience needs and expects, and observe their behaviors.
  • Embrace serendipity: Capitalize on opportunities that present themselves in digital communications.
  • Give people space: Know when to engage customers and know when to leave them alone.

While all of these make perfect sense, I have my own contribution to the manifesto.

Use empathy in all marketing efforts…

We’ve all been on the consumer side of campaigns just like ours, so put yourself in your recipients’ shoes. Then, ask yourself what you want from digital communications. How do you like to receive digital communications? How often do you want to receive them? Do you like automated menus instead of speaking to people on phone calls?

If we keep all of these points in mind and answer the empathy questions, when we put our marketers’ hats back on, we will have the tools to balance both digital and human factors in the campaign communications equation. Digital channels are an amazing development in communications and we know from success rates that multi-channel communications are the best way to reach target audiences today. Because digital channels are low cost and reach so many quickly, it is natural that our customers would want to focus on them and hope they reach their audiences, but we are charged with keeping the human spark in our message. No matter how many ways to communicate digitally evolve, marketers need to remember that it is people we are sending to on the other end. If we develop our digital communications with a humanist marketing strategy, we will find that the words “digital” and “human” complement each other like never before.