Business vs Human marketing – Trust can’t be bought through an algorithm

Many businesses have adopted using automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and algorithms to get things done faster, but this has taken out the human factor. This is dangerous territory for the marketing industry as the human response is the basis of all marketing strategies and campaigns, and algorithms cannot inspire the level of trust needed.

The use of automation and algorithms

Due to new demands of consumers, climate change, inflation, and the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing strategies have had to change and adapt. Many marketing companies have chosen to use automation and AI to keep up with the fast pace and new developments. This has allowed marketers to fast-track processes and gain insight into demographics, previous behaviour, and customers’ choices, but it has not kept humans in the loop. As there have been new demands and developments, the need for humanity in digital marketing processes is vital. This is not to say that automation and AI need to be scrapped because they have shown great benefits, but these technologies can’t always deliver effective messaging.

Why the use of algorithms don’t always work

  • Algorithms cannot identify context in the way that humans can. The response of consumers is very important as it often results in marketing strategies and campaigns being improved to suit the needs of the target audience. The response of a consumer depends on many things, and not only their personal opinion. It often depends on their current mood, hunger, levels of tiredness, previous choices, the weather, people around them, and even background music. Contextual information like this cannot be picked up by algorithms.
  • Many people are put off by the accuracy of algorithms. For example, if you were to do a Google search for sneakers and you get ads for those sneakers across your social media, it may feel like you’re being watched. Because privacy is so important to many people, the use of algorithms may scare potential customers away, and this marketing technique will backfire.
  • Algorithms often have tunnel vision. These tools function to capture data about consumers, track their behaviour online, and view their responses. It then creates a form of opinion about the customer and shows them what it has “assumed” they want to see. This may work for some consumers, but in most cases, this can form a skewed view of the customer.
  • Algorithms function to predict purchasing behaviours, but many customers purchase things impulsively. Because of this, customers will not be able to form connections with brands. They tend to make purchases that make them happy in the moment or because they want something different from what they already have, and algorithms cannot detect this.

Digital marketing needs Business2Human interactions

Brands need to form a connection between themselves and the consumer. To do so, marketers need to understand factors like digital sustainability, inclusivity of all parties, and building consumer engagement. To bring humanity back into digital marketing, brands can implement different programs or initiatives. The first step would be to create a better work environment for marketers themselves. Companies could introduce initiatives that offer mental health benefits and assistance for their employees and could work towards gender and racial equality within the workplace.


Marketing companies should then focus on understanding context. This can be done through field experimentation and observational research. They should also implement unpredictability into their strategies. Algorithms are very structured and can become mundane over time as they become predictable. By adding surprises, like interacting with customers, or having surprise product launches, makes the brand feel more personal and human.

In Conclusion

The use of algorithms in marketing is important and can provide many benefits to a brand, but it should not be the basis of digital marketing. Marketers need to always keep in mind that customers are all different and unpredictable, which is why marketing strategies need to make use of the data from algorithms while pursuing the specific and different needs of customers.