What is human marketing?

We truly believe in the idea of human marketing. It is one of three requirements for marketing to be considered “Good Marketing” (a “very original” phrase we lovingly coined). During the COVID19 crisis, we have seen the “human marketing” ethos become almost desperately relevant. But what is human marketing and how can you possibly label it? It seems abstract and fluffy.

The damn hippies and their fluffy concepts!

It’s not abstract and fluffy. It ties back to hard dollars and revenue and it’s not about spreading peace and love via psychedelics (okay, well maybe a little bit).

Human marketing means (to us):

  • Showing the genuine emotions of your brand
  • Being in-touch/empathetic with your target market.


Typically, to show the genuine emotions of your brand, you must show some vulnerability. There are hundreds of amazing examples of brands that do just this (and collected the benefits of doing so). We share a few in our book, Bad Marketing, but recently, we’ve seen some amazing examples as specific to COVID19.

This TV spot, by Truist, the recent merger of BB&T and Suntrust, had us in tears—quite literally, in tears. (Any ad that actually makes you cry will always pass the “human” test.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B_ok0aZVpg

They are not only showing the genuine emotions of their brand, but they are tapping into and echoing back the emotions of their audience. Watch that ad and tell us if it doesn’t at least make you feel something.

Domino’s did an ad recently for their employment opportunities that we believe was actually a brand builder (and intentionally so) far more than a recruiter. The timing was too perfect with the release of their new catchline “We’re Here To Feed the Need,” and the COVID19 restaurant disaster. The ad was genuine, heartfelt, and appropriately-timed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHtxQ4X2YSE

This ad is emotional because it speaks to our common emotions, it touches our hearts because we can RELATE to the emotions the franchisee’s are experiencing now. We can understand them. We get them.

Of course, human marketing doesn’t just apply to ads and videos. Whenever you can walk in your buyers’ footsteps, feel their heartbeat, and relate to their individual struggles and needs, you can shape your campaign around them. When a campaign is born of genuine service to a market’s needs, that’s human marketing. Human marketing will beat out sales, coupons, gimmicks, features, benefits, and slogans any day of the week.