"Now more than ever, high tech is enabling high touch," said Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates. "We are capturing more data on a second-by-second basis, from smart phones and other Internet-enabled devices, than had been captured worldwide over a period of hundreds of years.
"Combine this with new tools that allow organizations to effectively analyze this immense amount of Big Data in a cost effective and efficient manner, and we have the opportunity to dramatically change the way we engage with customers and prospects.
"The real question is how ready organizations are to absorb this information and use it effectively," Popky said. "Organizations will have no excuse to treat their customers as just another anonymous number. The question is will marketing leaders step up to the plate and seize the opportunity in front of them to provide the individualized personal touch customers want and deserve."
Dr. Maynard Brusman is a San Francisco Bay Area executive coach and consulting psychologist. Maynard is the president of Working Resources, and an expert in strategic talent management specializing in executive coaching and leadership development. www.workingresources.com
Dr. Brusman notes: "We all know what high tech is—technologies like smart phones make us available 24 hours a day, like a convenience store. Google Glass, the futuristic eye-ware that puts a tiny, voice-controlled WI-Fi-enabled computer on your face has the geek world abuzz. They already adorn millennial faces and you’re probably next.
The great irony of the high-tech age is that we've become addicted to devices that were supposed to give us freedom. We are creatures of habit living in a culture of distraction, the symptoms of which include a continual search for quick fixes and ADD lives that are distanced and distracted. High touch, on the other hand, is the human emotion we give up when we're tuned in to the technological world: hope and compassion, love and forgiveness, nature and spirituality."
According to Dr. Brusman, "Technology may have already surpassed our human interaction. Neuroscience research indicates that Email communication is a poor substitute for authentic human relationships. In the ever more complex world we inhabit, how do we reconcile our high-touch values with our high-tech realities?
Like Mr. Spock, sustainable businesses also need to be both high tech and high touch. iPads can enhance our creativity and productivity. However, love is still the 'Killer App." Mindful leaders unplug themselves and their laptops long enough to reflect, vision, rediscover the simplicity of starry nights and remember what it means to be fully human."
"As a global business consultant and former supply chain executive, I pay attention to trends—and high touch is making a comeback," points out Lisa Anderson, President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. in Claremont, CA. "Undoubtedly, if you ignore e-commerce, new software functionality and other high tech options, you’ll be left in the dust; however, high tech alone is no longer enough. Instead, the greater the level of high tech, the more important high touch and personal service become. Those who combine both will thrive!"