Why are we only just starting with human marketing?
A freelance marketing and PR consultant spends considerable time analysing marketing decisions made by businesses and observing how their audience is reacting to them, to come up with a strategy to improve sales. What has been startling over the past two years is how little most companies seem to think about the personality of their target audience. In that sense, how little we seem to have forgotten about the actual person behind the screen, the human who makes the decision to buy their product.
1) Use human psychology as a guide
Us marketers usually attempt to solve a problem by first identifying who the target customer is. Not all products are made for all audiences. You won’t sell wings to birds. To answer the Who, we ask ourselves what these people do, where they live, how they live, what they like and what motivates them to buy one product over another. But is it all we should ask? This seems obvious, but thinking about the psychology of your audience should not only come first but also guide all your future marketing endeavours.
One of the most crucial marketing trends ruling 2016 is human relationships, on which you can certainly base other elements of your marketing strategy. A good example is social media storytelling, which creates a personal interest and bond between brand and audience. Remembering your audience is made of humans is especially true when it comes to online marketing, an industry that sometimes forgets users have brains, feelings and needs.
2) Focus on basic emotions and feelings
But why are we so late jumping on the human marketing wagon? Thinking about others, in the most basic and human way possible, when focusing on a particular audience should be an innate principle, and a inherent action even for marketers. This doesn’t mean marketers should have a psychology degree, but infusing marketing with more psychology shall build a brighter future for businesses.
Study the mechanics of the mind to build a reaction. As a start, use the 8 basic human emotions (joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation) and 8 basic human feelings (optimism, love, submission, awe, disappointment, remorse, contempt, and aggression) in your audience analysis. These should guide a marketing strategy, as much as natural instincts and reflexes should. What exactly do you want to achieve? Forget sales for a minute. What psychological impact do you want your campaign to have? Put simply, provoke emotions of trust and joy through your marketing and advertising (in the aesthetics and the message conveyed) to build a feeling of optimism towards your brand.
A simple way to have an insight into your audience psychology is to put yourself in their shoes. Who is your typical customer? What are they looking for? What makes sense to them, and what matters most? What emotion drives their search, and what feeling does your product procure them? Are they easily influenceable, and is their emotion contagious in their group? There are hundreds of questions to answer, but this effort leads to a prize: to become your customer’s best friend, before anything else.
3) Make primitive marketing for primal understanding
In our attempt to conduct a more ‘primitive’ marketing, planted on basic human instincts,emotions and feelings, let’s focus on the area of intent. What are the series of movements and reasons behind the physical purchase? What was the customer’s initial intention? Intent plays a powerful role when it comes to online searches and SEO strategy. It is vital for online businesses to consider the human brain behind the typed keywords, and the user’s real intention rather than trying to change their habits.
Bringing humanity back in marketing is a successful formula that can be proven by the viral nature of visual content like infographics and native videos. These play with our basic reactions to bold, bright coloured information, in a primal and innate way, making information easier to remember. The visual nature of human memory is key in the quest of spreading a message, wanting a slogan, a logo or key product information remembered.
4) Become a friend brand
Trust and optimism are a winning pair for advertising and marketing, with ´friend´ brands becoming house guests and household names through regular, ‘homey’ campaigns for products that will immediately respond to their audience’s needs. Mac Donald’s and Apple are now our family friends, using our human nature as the common denominator between brand and consumer, quite rightfully, and our personal experience and stories to develop their mission: anticipating what we will need next before we know it. Facebook is mastering this, with an impressive 63% penetration still in 2015 (Comscore) but its example must be taken with a pinch of salt.
A huge mistake made by not only companies but also agencies throughout the world is neglecting the human in us (social animals) through hyper connectivity. There is now such thing as social media overdose, and social media growth has been plateauing since 2013 (only the over 65s age group is still growing, according to Smart Insights). The last two years have shown us a new, clear movement of social media bashing (users’ desire to ‘leave’ and regain freedom, or in some cases, to ‘quit’, like a bad habit). The reason? Internet connections were supposed to create a valuable and meaningful connection, but they are now often irrelevant and invading. Brands must find the subtle way to be at home with their customer, discreetly snoozing on the sofa – and never becoming a nuisance.
Opting for human marketing can only lead in a deeper, truer bond between brand and customers. Newer business models using cooperation and inclusion as principles show a greater, longer and more ‘constructive’ success. The create/participate model (used by Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, Trip Advisor, Yelp…) shows us that success lies in the intersection between the ‘citizen’ customer and the ‘user’. An audience personally contributing to your success will take greater pleasure and care for the longevity of this success.
Originally posted on the Jennifer Hakim Communications blog.