People-Centric Marketing

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The Four Fundamental Human Needs

Business is all about people. And, attracting the right people who love doing business with you means attracting the suppliers, employees and customers that align with you and what you offer.

When it comes to all of these, your marketing plays an important role in positioning your business, as does your website.

What Does People-Centric Mean?

According to, “To be people-centric is to put your people at the heart of everything you do, always.” While this term is most often associated with Human Resources (HR), applying the same concept to your marketing is considered quite groundbreaking.

The late Trey Pennington introduced the “…importance of human values, that strongly depend on the personal and social moral ecosystem of someone (education, culture, religious backgrounds, you name it)….” when it comes to marketing. He coined the phrase “three-fold human hunger” many years ago, which was expanded on by the people at i-scoop. We explore all four fundamental human needs further below.

A People-Centric Sales Example

To help put you into your customer’s shoes for a moment, we’ll literally use “shoes” as an example.

Let’s say you wish to buy more comfortable walking shoes because your old ones look dirty, no longer support your arches and have been giving you blisters.

As you walk into a shop to find your next perfect shoe, even if subconsciously, here’s what you (and every customer) go through.

  • People Want To Feel Heard – Was it easy for you to find the shoes you want or was there a member of staff that took the time to greet you and point you in the right direction?
  • People Want To Feel Understood – Did this salesperson hang around/pass you onto a fellow staff member to answer your questions? Did they ask questions like where do your feet currently hurt? Or what brand of shoe are you currently wearing?
  • People Want To Matter The salesperson goes that extra step to sympathise with your issue and starts to get you involved in picking the right shoe for yourself based on the information you’ve just supplied them with…You’ll feel more like you matter if you’re not pushed to buying shoes you think are ugly, feel uncomfortable or you’re not confident won’t also give you blisters.
  • People Want To Emancipate Themselves – The reason you’re buying new walking shoes is to free yourself of whatever your issue (pain point) is, in this case, blisters and saggy arches. Being sold something that doesn’t feel like it’s freed you from your problem won’t tick all 4 of these boxes. 
Newsletter #7 - The Four Fundamental Human Needs by

Visit “People-centric marketing: four fundamental human needs” to learn more on this concept.


A More People-Centric Approach To Your Marketing (and website)

Reflecting on the four fundamental human needs, you can start to adjust your marketing to help your audience feel more heard and understood – like they MATTER and that you are the solution to setting them free of their problems. 

Here are a few examples of how this can apply to you, PLUS two other prospective audiences you probably haven’t considered yet.

Customers | Your marketing is what lures your customers in – We already know this. And, it’s the image you present through your marketing that sets your prospects’ expectations i.e. price range, quality of what you offer and customer service levels. Your website imagery, colors and fonts through to the number of 5-star reviews, your social media presence and email marketing, each contributes to your overall image. These factors start to mold someone’s opinion as to whether or not you make them feel heard, understood, will treat them like a human (not a number) and actually be capable of solving their issue.

From a website perspective, it is using the right words, colours, and images, and ensuring the menu is clear and well labelled so prospective customers can find what they are looking for. Your website needs to position you as the go-to business to solve their problem.

Here are 2 More Audiences You’ve Probably Not Thought About

Suppliers | A poorly maintained, dated and glitchy website might have premium suppliers questioning whether they want you representing their brand/s. An inconsistent social media presence, unprofessional emails and scattered branding can also have a similar impact. There’s no evidence that you’ll fulfill their desire to feel heard and understood – and you can forget about them feeling like they matter when you clearly demonstrate little to no care for your own online image.

Employees / Contractors | An attractive and up to date website can help attract better quality people to join your team. If prospective employees can get a feel for the type of business you are and the quality you execute at, then you’ll likely have better quality candidates to choose from and less time wasters. Your website can also help them feel like you’ll be a more caring/pleasant business to work for.
(The trick is now to back this up by actually being an employer that employees enjoy working for)

What Needs To Change In Your Marketing To Be More People-Centric?

From your business colours and fonts to how easy your website is to navigate, every element can help or hinder your prospective customers’ perception of you.

Our number #1 recommendation is to always focus on the human being you wish to attract at the end of the sale.

Attempt to make that person feel:

  • Heard
  • Understood
  • That they Matter, and
  • Free from their problems.

By doing so, you’re well on your way to a more people-centric marketing approach that will be reflected in the quality of customers, suppliers and staff you attract.

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