3 Phases Of Human-Centered Marketing That Make Your Customers H.U.M.

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The concept of human-centered modern marketing begins with empathy for your customers and buyers.  It is rooted in the approach of understanding the goals and motivations of our customers and buyers.  Despite the ever-increasing influence of digital technology in our everyday lives, both business and personal, the need for human understanding in the context of marketing is increasing.

Human behavior is being impacted and altered by digital transformation.  Just a few short years ago we lived in a world where smartphones and tablets did not exists.  In business, collaborative platforms and cloud-based services did not exist.  In the new digital economy, these are becoming the digital tools and pathways for accomplishing both business and personal goals.  The rise of digital technologies is impacting human behavior on various levels – one of which is how people make purchasing choices.

The need to understand how and why buying behaviors are changing and the influence on purchase decisions is the paramount challenge for business organizations and modern marketers.  Human-centered marketing is about putting the human, our customers and buyers, at the center of all of our marketing efforts.  Such an approach helps us to gain insights and understanding needed to make informed decisions on modern marketing strategies.

3 Phases Of Human-Centered Marketing

To develop a human-centered approach to modern marketing, there are three phases’ marketers and organizations can journey through.  I call this framework for Human-Centered Marketing –  H.U.M.

h.001Hear:  As mentioned, today’s modern marketers must begin with empathy.  This means hearing and listening to customers and potential buyers.  It also involves seeing and observing new behaviors.  To succeed however, means taking a very intentional step in using disciplined qualitative research methods, such as ethnographic research and contextual inquiry, which help us to pursue deep insights and meaning.  Developing a human-centered approach to modern marketing involves intentionally hearing and listening to your customers and buyers.

u.001Understand:  In this phase, we seek to understand through intentional synthesis and analysis.  Translating what we have heard from our customers and buyers into actionable understanding.  We seek to understand opportunities, potential approaches, establish priorities, and learn all we can about customers and buyers.  To do so, this phase means using critical analysis methods and aids.  Identifying patterns and adequately framing customer and buyer goals to help us understand how we can best help.  We seek to understand, through scenarios, the situational context of new behaviors and challenges experienced by modern customers and buyers.  In this phase, we also seek to understand how customers and buyers think by analyzing important mental models.  This is the very place where buyer personas – and personas in general – belong in a human centered approach.   They are designed to help translate and understand customers from what we heard and observed.  For modern marketers to get the maximum value from buyer personas, they should be used in the context of understanding within a human-centered marketing framework.

M.003Model: Putting human-centered understanding into action is at the heart of modern marketing today.  Using disciplined methods for understanding gives us the informed pathways to modeling iterative content strategies, content design, revenue models, medias, communications, services, messaging, sales approaches, and more, which are mapped to the deep understanding we have gained about our customers and buyers.    In this phase we use deliberate methods, such as visual and interaction scenario modeling as well as journey mapping, to help us conceptualize, strategize, and map to customer and buyer understanding.  The concept of modeling is the essential decision and analysis framework for today’s modern marketing CMO.

Human-Centered Marketing Is The Connective Tissue

The transformation to a robust digital economy has been rapid.  We can expect even more accelerated transformations to take place within the next few years.  As a result, many of today’s marketers are struggling to meet the challenge of adopting to new business dynamics and behaviors.

There are many fragmented approaches taking place in isolation.  Content marketing, demand generation, buyer persona development, lead nurturing, and other marketing approaches lack in having a connective tissue and purpose.  Oftentimes, some of these approaches are trapped in old language, paradigms, and thinking, which are out of alignment with modern customers and buyers.  The power of Human-Centered Marketing is it offers a framework for listening to our customers and buyers as well as for creating actionable human-centered modern marketing strategies.

Human-centered marketing offers an approach towards creating a band of connective tissue around all modern marketing efforts.  Designed with humans, our customers and buyers, at the center of everything we do.  By incorporating the three phases of human-centered marketing, you will make your modern marketing H.U.M.  A musical sound your customers and buyers will like – and most likely to get them to H.U.M. along.

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Article by Tony Zambito
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