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We Are More Than Marketers: Integrating a Human-Centric Approach

by Jeremi Karnell  |  
February 10, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Six steps to integrating a human-centric approach to marketing
  • The importance of considering your customers' complete selves

In July 2011, I wrote about an emerging marketing paradigm called "human-centric marketing" and how it represents an exciting evolution of today's customer-centric approach to marketing.

"Human-centric marketing is defined by brands [that] approach engaging their current and prospective customers via advertising and marketing tactics as whole human beings with hearts, minds, and spirits," writes Philip Kotler, author of Marketing 3.0.

In this article, I will outline the following six implementation steps that lead to a human-centric approach to marketing:

  1. Gain awareness.
  2. Become integrative.
  3. Start somewhere.
  4. Identify what your brand stands for.
  5. Consider your people.
  6. Understand human sciences.

1. Gain awareness

Once you are aware of what the human-centric approach to marketing is, you'll be ready to build a brand-marketing ecosystem that embraces all of your stakeholders—from customers to employees, and community members.

A handful of brands—such as Whole Foods, Patagonia, and Zappos—have begun to embrace a human-centric approach to marketing, and we can envy their ability to form deep, meaningful connections with their customers.

Their way of doing business aligns with what consumers want; as a result, those brands are bound to be successful in the long run. In fact, the cumulative annualized return of "conscious" businesses' stocks was nine times that of the S&P 500 (1026% vs. 122%) over the ten-year period ended June 2006, according to an empirical study of "Conscious Capitalism," as reported in Firms of Endearment, published by the Wharton Business School.

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Jeremi Karnell is co-founder of One to One, an integrated marketing and technology firm focused on helping brands activate and acquire the social customer. Jeremi can be reached via

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  • by Saumitra Sun Feb 12, 2012 via web

    Very informative article and Human-centric Approach certainly is a viable option for marketers. I just had a thought that is it more or less like emotional marketing, well here we are trying to find the stimuli and use it as a catalyst to gain in the market and emotional is like throw yourself if it hits the target well and good. And how will it be effective in technology based products, well in consumer goods,food and apparels its fine but how far it is effective for Gen X products...??

  • by Bernadette Mon Feb 27, 2012 via web

    I think it is more effective than mere "emotional" marketing for any generation, specifically Gen X, because it is useful. The human-centric approach is not entirely self-motivated and only fact-based. It is a mutually beneficial situation. You (the marketer) have something valuable and viable to offer and your consumer can potentially benefit. But, the consumer is skeptical because of the abuse of high-selling sales tactics and marketing based purely on statistics and profit.

    Gen X has seen plenty of this abuse, and they definitely have that 3rd eye for being swindled. When a company only focuses on sales, they do not focus on the long term mutual success of both parties involved.

    A corporate and consumer or B2B relationship is very similar to a typical friendship between two people of commonality. The basic rules of human interaction require that one gives as much as they receive to the best of their ability. If a customer spends a lot of money, they expect a lot in return. If they are loyal, they expect the same.

  • by umeshchandra Tue Feb 28, 2012 via web

    I think it is very importent in healthcare marketing. now a days healthcare marketing not having human approch they just treat as customer, but they are human first.

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