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5 Examples Where the Personal Touch Still Matters in Marketing

Jennifer Dublino
Jennifer Dublino
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Sep 20, 2022

In marketing, using a personal touch can make all the difference.

In today’s digital world, we can immediately reach hundreds or thousands of people, increasing efficiency and improving our marketing ROI. It may be tempting to rely on digital marketing strategies, websites, online advertising, social media accounts and email marketing blasts to communicate with customers and prospects. 

But sometimes, adding a personal touch to your marketing efforts can be the difference between success and failure. We’ll explain why a personal touch is important and highlight five situations where it benefits your business to apply a personal touch to marketing efforts.

What is a personal touch in marketing?

A personal touch means communicating directly with customers or prospects one-on-one. It often involves face-to-face meetings, phone calls, thoughtful gifts or “analog” communication, such as handwritten notes. 

You can use a personal touch in marketing to create and strengthen relationships with customers and key accounts. It’s crucial to personalize your communications to address the customer’s or prospect’s specific experiences, needs and history. 

What are the benefits of using a personal touch in marketing?

Adding a personal touch to your marketing plan greatly benefits your business and relationships. Here are five important benefits to emotionally connecting with customers.   

  • A personal touch puts a face to your business. Customers connect more strongly to a person than to a faceless company. Humans are naturally attuned to interpersonal connections. When a customer or prospect associates an individual with the company they’re buying from, more customer loyalty ensues. Connecting personally makes more of an impression since it’s easier to remember someone you spent time with than recall a corporate identity.
  • A personal touch creates strong emotional bonds. Showing a customer that you care enough to remember significant life events – if they’re expecting a child, for example – makes them more likely to believe you care enough to ensure smooth business transactions. If you’re a caring and attentive person with their best interests at heart, they’ll feel more secure in the business relationship. 
  • A personal touch gives you a competitive edge. All things being equal, in a competitive situation, using a personal touch in your interaction can land you the deal. By reaching out on a personal level, you demonstrate that you genuinely want to work with the prospect or customer and you’re motivated to deliver the best customer experience. A personal touch helps your customers feel valued and can be a critical marketing strategy.
  • A personal touch encourages customer loyalty. All businesses make mistakes occasionally, but loyal customers will overlook minor missteps. Over time, if you continue using personal touches, you may form deeper customer relationships that can withstand price increases, delivery interruptions and other challenges. While these issues may prompt non-connected customers to look for another provider, customers who genuinely know and believe in you will give you the benefit of the doubt, allowing you space to resolve the problem.
  • A personal touch fosters trust. When a customer trusts you because you follow through on your promises and back up what you say, that trust automatically transfers to your company. For high-level transactions, partnerships and large purchases, establishing trust is essential and requires personal interaction. When you use a personal touch in your sales process, it helps prospects identify with you. Since they would never cheat, they ascribe the same characteristic to you and your company.

Did you know?Did you know? Trust is even more essential when selling intangible goods and services. When purchasing intangibles, the customer must trust the organization to make good on its promises.

What are some examples of using a personal touch in marketing? 

Here are examples of using a personal touch in five specific marketing situations. 

1. Use a personal touch with high-value clients.

If you sell many low-value products to many people, you won’t have to use this approach. However, if you sell high-value products or have several customers or prospects who need a large number of your products, a personal touch can help you close the deal and maintain the client relationship. 

Because each customer is responsible for a significant chunk of your sales revenue, sending a thoughtful birthday gift or periodically inviting them to a nice dinner can show them you value their business.

Action items for ensuring a personal touch for high-value clients include the following:

  • Identify high-level clients. Decide which prospects or customers qualify as “whales” in terms of sales or potential sales.
  • Create a schedule. Set up a schedule to reach out to your biggest existing and potential clients based on their share of your sales revenue. Include important dates like the contact’s birthday or their budget-approval date.
  • Interact socially. Consider inviting the contact to a sporting or entertainment event, dinner meeting, or a tour of your business. Afterward, follow up with a handwritten note, phone call or gift, as appropriate.

TipTip: Set up a marketing calendar to track campaigns, goals and schedules, and include significant client dates to prompt personal attention and interaction.

2. Use a personal touch to reach decision-makers in B2B sales.

Selling a business on a new product or service can be an unbelievably bureaucratic process. You might reach a decision-maker searching for information online, but decision-makers tend to delegate research to team members.

Few things can beat a personal connection to a decision-maker when closing a sale with a large organization. Participating in a fun activity together can create a comfort level that makes it easier to do business. For example, the decision-maker may enjoy a game of tennis, a round of golf or an invitation to an entertainment event.

Action items for ensuring a personal touch when reaching decision-makers include the following:

  • Hire a savvy sales team. Build a sales team and network with sales professionals with personal connections to your target customer base.
  • Weigh your options. Consider the cost-benefit of sending out sales reps versus creating a digital ad campaign. In many cases, a customer’s loyalty is heavily impacted by the personal connection they feel to your company. A professional rep commands far more loyalty than a banner ad.

TipTip: While entertainment and gifts can be part of sustaining and growing customer relationships, be aware that some buyers can’t accept gifts. Ensure you know the policy ahead of time to avoid awkwardness.

3. Use a personal touch to differentiate yourself from the competition.

In crowded markets, leveraging a personal connection is critical to differentiate your company from the competition. With the shift toward social media marketing, digital advertising, and email marketing, companies that embrace a real-world connection with their clients stand out from the competition.

A personalized, thoughtful holiday gift or a handwritten follow-up card after a meeting are excellent ways to establish an emotional, personal bond with current and future clients. You want to go above and beyond generic “season’s greetings” messages on social media.

Action items for ensuring a personal touch when differentiating yourself from the competition include the following:

  • Keep notes. File notes on current and potential clients in your CRM software. Use the information in these accounts to better inform your marketing efforts.
  • Send personalized gifts. Never miss an opportunity to send a personalized gift. Holidays, birthdays and challenging times are excellent opportunities to reestablish a connection beyond generic marketing efforts.
  • Avoid overplaying the marketing angle. Focus first on the emotional, sentimental connection with your client, and make branding a secondary focus of the gesture.

4. Use a personal touch to connect with low-tech industries and audiences.

In some target markets, the ideal consumer may not have tech experience or interest. If you rely solely on digital advertising, your customer must have a smartphone, computer or another digital device to access the information you want to share.  

For example, according to an AARP study, 45% of adults age 70 and older say that technology is not designed with all ages in mind. Additionally, some people, such as those in rural areas and lower-income individuals, may not have as much access to technology as those with higher incomes who live in urban areas.

Action items for ensuring a personal touch when connecting with low-tech audiences include the following:

  • Know your audience. Understand that not all customers have access to digital advertisements.
  • Consider alternatives. Consider putting some of your digital advertising budget into print, television, and radio media.
  • Be respectful of your audience. Pay careful attention to messaging and phrasing to maximize digital and traditional advertising conversions.

Did you know?Did you know? Business owners’ COVID stories demonstrate that personal touches are more important than ever. The pandemic made customers feel isolated and unappreciated, so businesses that expressed care and concern ended up thriving.

5. Use a personal touch when trust is a condition of doing business.

If you’re selling a can of soda, the buyer doesn’t have to trust you much. It’s a straightforward transaction. But what if you’re selling this family business? In this situation, trust would be a significant factor. You’d need to ensure the buyer follows through on various aspects of the deal and that they can be trusted to preserve your family’s reputation. 

In return, the buyer must trust that the business has the customer base, expertise and financials you’re representing. 

Both parties should incorporate personal touches in their interaction. Without a personal connection in this type of situation, the deal is at risk. Neither party wants to look untrustworthy or appear that they don’t value the deal. 

Action items for ensuring a personal touch when trust is a condition of doing business include the following:

  • Consider your contact person. Think about how well you need to get to know the other person to build a sufficient trust level.
  • Schedule meetings. Set up a series of one-on-one meetings in a relaxed atmosphere so you can talk.
  • Keep communication personal. When you’re not interacting in person, include handwritten notes to communicate your personal involvement and interest.

Ahmad Raza contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. 

Image Credit: Sushiman/Getty Images
Jennifer Dublino
Jennifer Dublino
business.com Contributing Writer
Jennifer Dublino is a prolific researcher, writer, and editor, specializing in topical, engaging, and informative content. She has written numerous e-books, slideshows, websites, landing pages, sales pages, email campaigns, blog posts, press releases and thought leadership articles. Topics include consumer financial services, home buying and finance, general business topics, health and wellness, neuroscience and neuromarketing, and B2B industrial products.