Retail Buzz 005: Have digital marketers lost the human touch?

By Neil Collins | Thursday 12th September 2013

The Human Touch

Digital marketers have lost the human touch and focus too much on data, says an expert on marketing and psychology.

Michal Kosinski, from Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre, set people thinking when he made these points in a presentation at the 2013 Ecommerce Future Conference.

You can see videos of the presentation here:

In this week’s Retail Buzz, Summit’s Head of Retail Consulting, Neil Collins, reflects on Michal’s claim and offers advice on how digital marketers should re-tune their thinking.

The Used Car Salesman’s Skill in Tailoring his Marketing to Fit an Individual

Michal Kosinski made the point, in his 2013 EFC presentation, that the used car salesman was the consumate marketer because he could read the subtle signals that betray character, personality, motivation etc of anyone who came to his showroom.

He was illustrating the power of psychometric data in marketing and suggested it gave back to the digital marketer information about an individual that the used car salesman would have determined in a face-to-face setting.

So Have Digital Marketers Lost the Human Touch?

We probably have lost the human touch, says Neil Collins, Summit’s Head of Retail Consulting, and he concedes that digital marketers do spend a great deal of time on their data!

Neil says there’s a reason for that: data tells us what people did and we can use that for targeting marketing spend.

He also says that data doesn’t tell us why shoppers behaved in the way they did, and that’s where the human touch comes in.

Neil’s advice is for digital marketers to be mindful of their own shopping experiences and try to combine that motivational information with the data record that all shoppers leave behind.



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