What is human-centered marketing presented in Marketing 3.0/4.0?


Some may think that human-centered marketing is a concept advocated in “Marketing 3.0” and irrelevant in “Marketing 4.0,” but this is not the case. As digitization progresses, marketing increasingly needs to be human-centric. Marketing 4.0 has become an extended version of Marketing 3.0.

Human-Centered Marketing is Key to Brand Appeal

The change from product-centric Marketing 1.0 and customer-centric Marketing 2.0 to human-centric Marketing 3.0 is due to the development of social media, the emergence of social issues, and the maturation of the market. Consumers now have access to a wide range of information, from positive to negative, about companies and products, and they also now question corporate attitude and vision. As a result, consumers are increasingly choosing socially supportive companies when similar products are on the market. Companies now need to incorporate ethical and socially responsible marketing into their business models.

In Marketing 4.0, human-centered marketing is the key to brand appeal in the digital age. This is because brands with a human personality will be the most differentiated. We are now at the stage where customer insights reveal the human side of the customer and brands can show their human side to build a human-to-human connection and attract customers.

This article will ①introduce a method for identifying the human side of the customer and ② explain what elements of the human side of the brand attract customers.

Methods to reveal the human side of customers

Well-known methods for uncovering customer insights include social listening, netnography, and empathic research. These are the newest specialties in the field of digital anthropology, which explores how customers are acting on digital interfaces. Recently, it has become increasingly popular as marketers use it to find market insights.

Social Listening

Social listening is the process of actively monitoring how your brand is being talked about on the Internet, especially in social media and online communities. To investigate what customers think, you need to listen to naturally occurring social media conversations.


Netnography is ethnography with a focus on the Internet. Using ethnographic methods, netnography seeks to understand human behavior in online communities. Unlike social listening, it requires the researcher to become a member of the community and join the conversation to develop empathy.

Empathetic Research

Empathetic research, a precursor to human-centered design (HCD: a systematized framework for creating products from the actual users’ perspective), is a method for uncovering the latent needs of customers. Specifically, the researcher will meet and observe community members in person, and synthesize findings through dialogue and brainstorming. The insights gained will lead to new product development, new customer experiences, and brand campaigns that surprise and inspire customers.

What is the human side of a brand that attracts customers?

In Stephen Sampson’s book, Leaders without Titles, Kotler attempts to set forth the characteristics of a lateral relationship leader on the human side of the brand. These characteristics are brands that do not seek to dominate others but have human characteristics that attract others. There are six human aspects of a brand that are necessary to influence a customer’s attitude change in a non-intimidating, cuddly, horizontal relationship, or friendliness: physical attractiveness, intelligence, sociability, emotionality, personability, and moral character.

The physical attractiveness of a brand comes from its brand identity, including a well-designed logo and a well-crafted tagline.

Intelligence in a brand is the ability to innovate, introduce product services that other players and customers have not previously thought of, and effectively solve customer problems.

Sociability in brands means not being afraid to talk with customers, listening to what they have to say directly from them as well as between them, and actively communicating with them through repeated communication to strengthen engagement, as well as through posts on social networking sites that attract customers.

Emotionality in brands is the ability to stir up customer emotions and promote favorable customer behavior. It is the ability to connect with customers on an emotional level through messages that appeal to their feelings.

Personability is self-awareness, a self-knowledge that knows exactly what the brand is for and also knows its shortcomings. It is the confidence and spontaneity to enhance one’s own brand.

Morality means that a brand has ethics and strong honesty. Brands with strong moral character also make ethical considerations an important part of their business decisions.

In today’s marketing, the above human aspect of the brand is also required to be close to the customer and influence the customer’s attitude change in a friend-like relationship. The human side of the customer and the human side of the brand face each other, and further evolution of human-centered marketing is required.