In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive digital marketing environment, marketing leaders are hyper-focused on algorithms. 

Whether it’s the latest update to the Google search results page or changes in how social media platforms serve content in the feed, marketers are increasingly required to become experts at talking to the technology that drives the content engine.

It’s an approach that’s leading to increased stress and even burnout for senior marketers across industries. Leadtail co-founder and CEO Carter Hostelley believes there’s a better way.

Technology Burnout

Carter shares a conversation that he often has with senior marketers. They say, “I’m really feeling burnt out. You know, as a senior B2B marketer in this environment, I feel like I can’t stay on top of the MarTech stack, and everything is happening with digital, and what’s happening with all the algorithms, and—I sort of feel like I’ve lost my soul a little bit.”

Carter believes the marketing leaders he talks to feel this way because they focus on the wrong algorithm. Many marketing efforts are “focused on the technology algorithm, the thing you’ve forgotten about is the human algorithm,” he says.

“There are two algorithms that we are competing for and understanding and working within as marketers,” Carter says. There’s the technology algorithm that we’re all too familiar with. The other is the human algorithm. And that’s the one that current digital marketing efforts have not done a great job of engaging.

“We want to figure out how to further optimize the marketing stack and make sure we’re using all the right tools. You just pound sand,” Carter says, “trying to eke a little extra out of them.”

The Human Element

When marketers operate within a technology algorithm mindset, we tend to focus on our own brands, products, and services. The primary objective is to get as much content in front of as many potential buyers as possible. And, too often, repeatedly serving the same content to the same potential customers.

By contrast, when marketers switch frameworks to the human algorithm, they begin to think about buyers first.

The human algorithm focuses on buyers. It’s a bit cliche, but it’s true: people buy from people, not companies.

Buyers generally want to work with vendors they like and connect with on a human level. They want to engage on social media as part of a community. They’re looking for personalized help from subject matter experts as they make purchasing decisions. They want to deal with their fellow humans.

Making It About Others

The critical question for marketing content creators is, “How can we humanize our content?”

The primary way marketers can create authentic human connections with audiences is to, as Carter says, “Shine the light on others.”

This approach goes beyond simply including customer stories on a website. It involves actively creating forums in which you can showcase what others are doing.

For example, a brand may launch a podcast and invite industry leaders as featured guests; or create a LinkedIn Live series and interview people within your buyer community.

If a company isn’t ready to launch a significant effort like a podcast, there are simple ways to build a community by showcasing others.

“Sometimes folks say to me on social, ‘Hey, we can never get our customers to share our stuff,’” Carter says. “Well, I ask a simple question back. ‘How much do you share your customers’ content?’”

Carter advises that B2B brands look for opportunities to make their social feeds about their customers. “Share their news on your social feeds,” he says. “Give them kudos; give them a shoutout.”

The outcome of this effort—shining a light on others—is that they begin to shine a light on your brand, company, and content. In a word, this approach creates advocacy. 

“Advocacy Means Somebody Likes You”

“Advocacy sounds like a complicated word, but let me let me simplify it,” Carter says. “Advocacy simply means somebody likes you. And the truth is, the easiest way to get someone to like you is to like them first.”

Marketers “like” their customers by showcasing them. It’s deceptively simple, but it’s the key to mastering the human algorithm. 

So, if marketers are getting into the mindset of their buyers, shining the light on others, and building a human connection with their audiences, can they ignore the technology algorithm altogether? The answer is an emphatic “No.”

Marketers who leverage the tech stack, understand how search engines and social media platforms prioritize content, and who also take care to humanize the content they create have a massive advantage.

When marketers leverage every tool at their disposal to build community, shine the light on others, and forge authentic connections, something special happens. Not only do marketers see concrete results from their efforts, but they also avoid frustration and burnout and experience the joy and excitement of authentically connecting with others.

Watch Carter’s presentation here.

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