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I am sure you have all heard the term “bean counter” or the phrase “it looked good on paper”. They aren’t just funny comparisons; both have a lot of meaning and truth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a numbers person at heart. Heck, I even have an Accounting degree, so I guess, technically, I’m a bean counter. I love a good Excel spreadsheet because they can tell a great story about a business and how they are doing. Speaking of a spreadsheet, successful marketing is more than just a formula and analytical analysis. Yes, you need all of these tools to know how successful a campaign is, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers and forget that they actually represent a real human being. This is an especially easy mindset to fall into when you don’t have a brick and mortar store and sell almost exclusively online.

Harvard Business Review wrote a great little article entitled, Your Customers Still Want to Talk to a Human Being. It brings up great points about how most businesses communicate with their customers via several online channels, invest in software to track their interactions, software to help them personalize the experience for every customer that will optimize every step of the customer’s digital journey. They referenced a study conducted by Google that revealed that 61% of mobile users call a business when they are in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. The majority of respondents actually called the business rather than reach out online because they wanted a quick answer or to talk to a real person. Ironically, in the age of texting and messaging, calls to businesses have significantly increased due to the mass use of mobile phones. Finally, the article finished with an example of a major hotel chain with a golf course investing heavily in online search ads. The analytics looked great with a high click-through rate, but the actual hotel bookings weren’t happening from the ad. Just before pulling the ad, the marketing team ran a test to match the ad with phone calls made directly to the hotel because the patrons would not book a room unless they could get a tee time—which could only be booked over the phone. The ad was a success, but based upon the analytics it did not appear to be.

Bottom line, use the spreadsheets, online tools, digital marketing campaigns, but don’t forget to add the human element to your business. Whether it be making it easy for your customers to make a phone call and actually get a live person or if you have local customers stop by for a face-to-face visit bearing cookies or a sweet treat. Sometimes we just need to get back to the basics.

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