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Human-Centric Marketing: empathy as an advertising tool

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

By Daniel González Sandoval

I remember the final episode of Mad Men, that famous TV series about the world of advertising in which Don Draper, its main character, through a cathartic experience in a retirement center, discovers that in advertising, the essential is to appeal to emotions, the most powerful tool for communication. And that is how, inside the fiction of the series, he creates the most epic ad in history, the famous “Hilltop,” an ad in which Coca-Cola is sold without selling Coca-Cola at all.

This episode somehow reminds me of one of the digital marketing trends that resonates the most in 2022: Human-Centric Marketing, because the most important to achieve powerful and effective communication with our audience comes by the hand of empathy and emotions as the main communication tool.

But what is Human-Centric Marketing? First of all, let us understand that if a company does not “connect” with its audience, it won't be successful. That's why empathy plays an increasingly relevant role, and it's essential to understand that for the same brand, there may be a different buyer persona. We must stop perceiving consumers as a mere mass, and start seeing them for what they are: independent people with independent and unique tastes, needs, and goals.

So that paradigm of customer-centric marketing has been left behind, evolving to that of human-centric —marketing focused on people— because our public has stopped representing a mere consumer to become an interlocutor in an increasingly personal and individual relationship.

Human-Centric Marketing is based on these three main points:

1. Watch and listen: You can achieve better results if consumers feel your brand echoes their needs (empathy). Pay attention to your user experience.

2. Analyze the opportunities: What are the needs of your target audience that you can solve? Create a marketing plan from the information you got from analyzing your client so that you add something of value to them.

3. Plan and execute the strategy: A Human-Centric Marketing strategy will seek to generate a commercial benefit for the company or an experiential benefit for the consumer. Remember that behind each consumer, there is someone with a life, a job, limitations, dreams, and aspirations.

In the changing world we live in today, exchanging goods and services just for the sake of it is obsolete. Understanding what our customers feel and communicating face-to-face is the best way to show them that our brand is looking for something more than a mere transaction. Permanently listening to our best clients and transforming their expectations into reality can be much more than a good advertising campaign.

Don Draper's big discovery in that episode is just that: Human-Centric Marketing empathy helps us connect and reach the right customers, in the right way and at the right time, maximizing our results.

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