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Wednesday Wisdom: Human Centered Marketing

In this week’s Wednesday Wisdom feature, Consultants Collective member consultant Hester Tinti-Kane explores the evolution of social media from a focus on organic community-building to paid social media marketing and reminds us of the importance of keeping the human element at the center of all of our marketing efforts in our increasingly technology-driven world.

I am mid-way through a blog series on marketing technology and I have to pause. Here’s why – I was inspired by a podcast interview that made me stop in my tracks. The interview focused on human-centered marketing. On the Social Media Marketing Podcast, Mike Seltzner recently interviewed Mark Schaefer about his new book.  The book is called Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. In the interview, Mark talks about the original social media “community manager” role.  This role was engulfed by a digital advertising role. Now the major focus is on quantitative success measures. These are elbowing out the qualitative, more human metrics we used to report on. You remember those metrics, don’t you?

A trip in the “way back” machine

I started working in social media back in 2009. I am one of the original social media marketing tribe! A tribe of professionals who were there at the start. When we started working in social media, no one was looking for a dashboard. Back then, we were simply proving the concept of social media marketing itself. I had an all volunteer team recruited from across our marketing organization. We took turns having “listening days.” We developed and shared content, but more importantly we engaged directly with people who were talking about our brand. Our company become accessible and human in a new way because of our work on social media. Those were exciting times!

The honeymoon is over

Soon, this “honeymoon phase” ended and the corporation agreed that this work was worth doing. This was our chance to fund the discipline, we thought! To get funding, we pulled the social media data and shared the impact of our work in a quantitative way. We developed our first dashboard. Since that time, I have built many social media dashboards. The technology and the data it produces have become much more complex. The discipline of social media marketing has too. On the flip side, the user experience on social has changed enormously. People are overwhelmed by content and block marketing messages at every turn. And we, as marketers, have a major challenge. Perhaps the solution or “rebellion” is what Mark Schaefer suggests: “human-centered marketing.” Part of this, in my eyes, is a return to where social media marketing began.

What can we do for the humans?

Mark Schaefer describes the “human-centered” marketing approach as guided by a set of truths. In a way, these truths are calls to action for marketers. Here’s the list: let your audience belong, respect them, show them you love them, protect their interests and help your audience find meaning in their lives. Schaefer says that if you do all of these things, you can build loyalty to your brand. He goes on to share some case studies from his book. These are companies who have built great brand loyalty with their human-centered marketing. My favorite example is Dove, and this video that left me tearful. Years ago, Dove set about the art of human centered marketing. I think we can all benefit from their example.

Do you feel frustrated in your marketing, blocked at every turn? Do you have a monthly dashboard but few results? Well, there is a rebellion brewing and you might just want to jump on board!

Check out the free chapter of Mark’s book to learn more.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this idea in the comments!

Hester Tinti-Kane

Hester Tinti-Kane

Hester Tinti-Kane is a leader and educator in digital, content and social media marketing. Her background in global corporate, startup and school settings allows her to support organizations of all types. Hester spent 15 years in the education industry and has experience in K12, higher education and professional training markets. She teaches college courses to nurture the next generation of marketers and helps organizations uncover market intelligence, expand their audience, engage with influencers and acquire prospects and customers. Closing the loop on marketing strategy, execution and conversion, she helps organizations track analytics to understand the return on investment for marketing.

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