How to take your first step toward human-centered marketing

human-centered marketing

In my new book, I propose a Marketing Rebellion — a movement toward human-centered marketing.

It is a vast book with lots of ideas. The idea of shifting your focus from technology to something more customer-centered and personal might seem overwhelming but taking that first step does not have to be difficult.

Customers have the accumulated knowledge of the human race in the palm of their hands. They can connect to vast tribes instantaneously and they are in control. They don’t want to be interrupted or intercepted. They’re skipping your ads, blocking your spam, discarding piles of unopened direct mail waste.

They demand marketing on their terms. Human terms.

There are a few simple things that almost anybody can do to begin …

1. Stop doing what people hate

As a consumer, you’re probably sick of marketing that annoys you and interrupts you. Look at your own company. Are you doing things that people hate?

Stop it. Right now.

Just stop annoying and interrupting people and you are taking a giant leap forward toward respecting them.

2. Get out of the office

My teacher and mentor Peter Drucker advised us that 75 percent of your meetings should be with your customers (either internal or external).

Especially as a marketer, your job is to be out among your customers understanding their needs and translating this into valuable new products and services.

A startling story from the book was a Martin Lindstrom account about asking 5,000 marketers if they had visited a customer in the last year and 19 raised a hand.

That is why our profession has become sick.

Get out of the office and meet with customers.

3. Be an observant consumer

The simplest exercise is to think about what you love about your favorite customers. How do they engage with you? What creates the emotional bond between you and the product?

To be a good marketer, be an observant consumer. When you see a company doing something great that you love, think about how you can translate that to your own business.

4. Show up

I speak, teach, and consult but I also do a lot of personal coaching for small businesses and entrepreneurs. As I review the sites of even one-person businesses, it’s amazing to me how difficult it is to find a photo of a real person, much less a video.

Everyone knows that business is built on relationships with people that we know to be warm and competent. Why don’t we extend that to our own web and social media presence? Look at your own web presence. Where are the faces, the smiles, the heart, the passion?

If you’re successful at business, it’s probably because people like and trust you. Is that how you’re showing up online or do you have stock photos of fake people?

It seems so simple — human-centered marketing means you show up.

Human-centered marketing — There’s no choice

Take one small step toward this human-centered marketing movement today. At one point or another, you’ll have to stop obsessing over technology and get back to the human roots of marketing.

Why? You have no choice. This is the way the world is moving, this is what customers demand … and the customers always win.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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