The Paradox of AI: Why We Need More Of A Human Touch in Marketing

The Paradox of AI: Why We Need More Of A Human Touch in Marketing

January 20, 2023
5 min read

The latest technology, marketing automation, AI and all the mar-tech tools you never thought you needed can be helpful. Until they’re not. Even though we’re gaining efficient techniques that have the power to make our lives easier, we can’t afford to lose human touch in marketing.

I call this the Paradox of AI: the more automation and artificial intelligence we use, the more human our audience will expect us to be.

As we focus more and more on improving customer experience, human nature will drive us to use conventional methods of communication to create true intimacy. There’s nothing impersonal about purchase decision. Buyers are people too!

So an effective marketing team is not only anchored in ROI and sales, but dedicated to building relationships, managing a strong reputation and fostering humanity.

And so in a world consumer with talk about AI taking our jobs (we disagree!), we hope to provide you with 8 ways to think about keeping that human touch in your marketing.

8 Ways To Add a More Human Touch in Your Marketing

1. Remind customers that businesses are human, too

We spend hours trying to understand our audience’s behavior. As the months turn into years and companies continue to grow, it’s too easy for us to blend in with the rest of the faceless entities.

Out-of-touch companies fail to recognize their brand’s perception and make their customers realize that they are human, too. The obvious solution is put the CEO and executives in front of the clients more often, but we all know that this is next to impossible.

What can we do to change this? Highlight the human side of business by sharing wins and failures, telling real client success stories, showcasing employees and all of their hard work, or referencing your company’s founding story.

The world will continue to work remotely and become more digitized. But we’re all in need of the human touch!

Source: Open AI’s ChatGPT

2. Ensure your marketing is catered to humans

Maya Angelou said it best: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is true for marketers, too. The only time we’ll be remembered for the services that we provide is when we’re able to touch an emotional chord in our audience or customers.

Who are they? How do they spend their days? What do they truly value?

If you’re too focused on the numbers and losing sight of the human element, you’re missing out on building a community of loyal and vocal brand enthusiasts.

Human touch in marketing is crucial to appeal to human's emotions

Take video marketing for example. We can very easily tell the difference between an interview-style speech versus a scripted recording. Scripts can feel robotic or sterile, and so can any other type of content. Avoid sharing content that is uncaring and impersonal.

When you begin speaking their language (and stop trying to shove your products or services down their throats), they’ll trust that you have the solution they need.

3. Personalize to meet our emotional needs

Once you’ve adjusted your language to connect with real humans, you can begin to resonate with them on a deeper level through personalization.

Have you ever gotten an email promo or seen an ad for something that you’ve already purchased from a company? Something as simple as creating multiple email campaigns to maintain individualized interactions could make a huge difference in the long run.

By now, you should have a pretty good idea as to what your ideal customers are searching for and the answers that they need. It’s crucial that you personalize the messaging that fills this need in order to meet them where they are with the answers to their questions.

Rather than the scripted sales pitch, give your audience the simple reassurance that you have their best interests in mind. People what to feel understood. The best marketers will anticipate their customers’ needs before their customers even have the chance to ask the question.

4. Capitalize on the soft skills of your employees

Soft skills can add immeasurable value to the human touch in marketing. As digital marketers, we know what it’s like to try and deliver a personalized experience behind a screen. It’s not always easy.

While emails, social media campaigns and other content can be automated and scheduled to a great extent, they need to be personalized by humans in order to resonate with humans.

Sometimes it feels like AI and robots will rule the world and take our jobs away from us, but interpersonal communication skills and human psychology still win every time.

Seriously, humans take the cake in so many more areas:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Social relationships
  • Interpersonal relativity
  • Intuition
  • Authenticity

Don’t get lost in the technology. By honing in on the unique skills that human interaction provides, your customers will feel the personal touch through the screen every time.

5. Marry the two, AI and human touch in marketing

Automation is certainly not a monster. You just have to be sure you’re using it to your advantage! One of the best ways to assure this is to combine the two superpowers: human touch with artificial intelligence.

If you’ve ever worked with an accounting software before, you know that they can certainly make our lives easier. You connect it to your bank, reconcile your accounts, track your expenses. It’s pretty simple. But that doesn’t mean that some accounting tasks aren’t better suited for the pros, so you hire a bookkeeper to cross check the reports.

Same thing goes for spell-checkers or self-driving cars. Automations and robots are not foolproof. Marrying human intelligence with softwares is the same idea. We can’t rely on the automation to do all of the work, even if it can do the heavy lifting.

6. Use social media to personify your brand

Create a personality for your business online where you can tell stories and engage with your following.

More than just showing up consistently and being on the forefront of your prospective customers’ minds is the benefit of getting to know everyone more intimately. Whether you’re a one-man show or you have a social media department, make sure someone’s role surrounds social media sharing, replying back to comments and even leaving comments on others’ posts.

Social media is important for business. Having a solid strategy will bring your brand to life, helping it to stand out from the faceless corporations that none of us should envy.

7. Stay creative and innovative

Remember, machines cannot generate new ideas without the assistance of unique human creativity and innovation.

Intelligence is a prerequisite of innovation. Stay curious and encourage individuality among your team members without stifling their creative freedom too much.

Let’s use Spotify Wrapped as an example for ways that businesses got creative this season.

If you’re not familiar, a huge topic of mainstream discussion on the socials is that of Spotify’s annual EOY personalized metrics that share each listener’s unique stats. They share things like the user’s top artist, # of minutes listened to their favorite song, and even their daily audio personalities like “pumpkin spice comforting hopeless” at night or “energetic feel good fun” in the afternoon.

In order to incorporate human touch in marketing, Spotify releases its annual Spotify Wrapped metrics.

The devil works hard, but Ulta Beauty’s marketing team works harder. They released their own series of Spotify Wrapped memes catered to their audience’s language a few hours after Spotify released this year’s data.

8. Develop timely, valuable content

Content with valuable insights is key to successful content marketing. Some ways to achieve this goal are to go in depth about your core subjects, provide a unique perspective, outshine competitors, and prioritize readability.

Marketers need to focus on generating content that lands with the right audience. Instead of spamming your audience with irrelevant content that’s not tailored to what they’re looking for, try a strategic approach around SEO-driven keywords.

With MIG, not only do you get an entire year’s worth of content, but you get a keyword strategy mapped to your buyer’s needs. If you’re interested in a content marketing strategy, check out our content builder services.

Onto You

Human touch in marketing is invaluable. As marketers, we’re all trying to meet the needs of a growing business and battling annual budget cuts. So it’s crucial that we spend our budget, time and efforts wisely.

People want to do business with people. We need to focus on building new contacts and reaching new audiences. Infusing human touch in marketing throughout your content will withstand the test of time through different management regimes, external changes and marketing strategies, and you can get started today.

Get ahead of your content marketing strategy and secure success with one of our marketing experts today. 

4 thoughts on “The Paradox of AI: Why We Need More Of A Human Touch in Marketing

  1. Achim Klor

    Terrific post, Michael

    The human touch is paramount. I believe the thing that separates companies like SAP from traditional B2Bs is that customer engagement is at the core of the content ecosystem. European B2Bs seem to get this right more than we do in North America.

    If you’re not familiar with Maersk Line’s recent B2B social success story, I highly recommend reading it. It’s another perfect example of a “boring” B2B company taking customer engagement to a whole new level.

    More here:

    You’re right, the phone will never go away, but neither will high touch content channels like social and mobile. Maersk believes that social media is no different than the phone if used as communication rather than marketing or advertising. What do you think?


  2. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Achim, i appreciate the support, the comment and the link. I’m not familiar with the Maersk example but will check it out.

  3. shahzaib Khatri

    Michael, Understanding human is much desirable than anything.I recently read an article over the internet which focused to gather a database from each of the four doors through which a customer can enter into communication. Besides sales, marketing & customer service, finance was also included in the list and that is what i call it a total customer interest. Think about the ways you can make things easy for them, understand them, educate them how are you going to help them.

    Marketing strategies like resources utilization on new contact list creation as mentioned by Mr. David in his interview can really help you in new customer prospects . Repeated communications can help them understand the products, build trust & improve on low-resistance.

    I didn’t get the logic why phones will get importance on future marketing. whereas majority of consumers are busy with their smartphones. Is it something about credibility & trust?

  4. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Shazaib, I like that 4 doors concept a lot! we call is the “360 degree view.”

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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