In the last few years, the term ‘humanistic marketing’ has emerged to describe an approach to marketing that at its core is about the concerns and needs of people.
In the 2014 publication Humanistic Marketing (edited by Richard J. Varey and Michael Pirson, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan), the writers critique current marketing strategies for their failure to focus on the thriving of human beings. This includes respecting the individual’s ability and willingness to make their own choices for their greatest good.
A humanist is defined as a person having a strong interest in human welfare, values or human nature (dictionary.com). Marie Forleo, reknowned U.S. business coach, says, ‘The future of business is about being more connected to your humanity, not less.’
But what does this all mean in everyday business terms? Most of us have had an experience where we have actively worked for the best outcome for a client and been rewarded with glowing testimonials, more business from them or referrals to new clients. When someone feels you are truly listening to their needs and creating a product or service that works to that, they connect with you, trust you, and come back to you again and again. While the benefits to your own business are obvious, the key is to be truly concerned with the benefits to their business or life.
Another implication for how we run our marketing campaigns is the understanding that people today want to make their own purchasing decisions without being persuaded or pressured. Most marketing managers are aware that traditional advertising and cold calling no longer work in the same way that they used to and do not suit all businesses (I would say they don’t suit most businesses!) because their target markets expect more.
Consumers today expect:
- To be respected
- To be listened to and valued
- A tailored service or product that meets their specific needs
- A brand that is ‘human’ and stands for something
- Consistency in that brand across team members and all points of contact (I expect the same level of service whenever and wherever I connect with that business)
- Marketing that demonstrates how their problem can be solved but does not patronise or tell us what we MUST do right NOW (we can work that out for ourselves thanks)
- Excellent service/product/experience and feeling supported or part of something great
- To talk to a real support person who speaks their language (literally and figuratively!)
- To not have our privacy or time abused by unsolicited marketing just because we expressed interest or bought a product; only providing further information where it is genuinely wanted
Basically, humans want to be treated ‘humanistically’: with respect, because we are people just like you.
Not rocket science, right? So it makes you wonder why you don’t get that ‘human experience’ with every business you come into contact with. While I’m sure there is a varied ‘care factor’ across businesses I think it is much more often about awareness and processes.
So what can you do as a business owner or manager to bring more of the ‘humanistic experience’ into your brand, services, products, team culture?
Getting the team together for a brainstorming session, as well as asking clients or customers what their recent experience versus their needs has been, are really good places to start. In the coming weeks I’ll be focusing blog posts on specific ways you can align your company with the future of marketing and doing business: being more human.