Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” The “why” is a story, and the best marketing is supported by the stories we tell. With so many new AI tools right now helping marketers produce generic content quickly and cheaply, telling authentic and engaging stories is even more important. Given this new reality, what can you do to humanize marketing efforts to ensure your campaigns connect?

In this article, we discuss this hot topic and share resources for extra learning and inspiration. Take a look, and let us know what you think.

What does “humanizing marketing” mean?

Humanizing marketing refers to the practice of infusing personal, emotional, and genuine elements into promotional activities, ensuring that marketing strategies resonate on a human level rather than feeling impersonal or automated.

It includes components such as:

  • Monitoring
  • Feedback management
  • Crisis management
  • Consistent messaging

Using video to create more authentic marketing messages

The power of video is that it allows brands to connect with viewers through real people, genuine emotions, and relatable scenarios. “Using video to connect with a prospect is so much more than a cold call. It humanizes the selling process,” says web marketing strategist Brian Rotsztein. 

That’s how many consumers say they want to see more storytelling web video content from the brands they love

Wyzowl, 2023

Unlike static content, videos encapsulate tone, body language, and visual context, all of which are instrumental in transparently conveying a brand’s ethos and values. And as a result, video-enhanced marketing messages often resonate more powerfully, fostering trust and bolstering brand loyalty.

A balancing act, or when NOT to humanize marketing

While many marketing experts advocate for the humanization of marketing, there are some circumstances and contexts where this tactic isn’t the best approach (or when a balance needs to be struck between personalization and efficiency).

Here are three examples to consider:


Data and privacy

Privacy breaches happen! Hackers are going to hack. It’s a reality of doing business in today’s world.

How are you protecting your customers’ (and leads’) personal information? Is what you’re doing enough? Are you sure you’re acting responsibly and ethically?

With GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy regulations in play, companies should tread carefully when using personal data to overly humanize marketing efforts. Collecting and managing data for marketing personalization should never come at the expense of your customers.


Cultural differences

Humanizing content can have cultural implications.

Did you know … 70% of international ventures fail due to cultural misunderstandings, according to the Harvard Business Review? Cultural differences can skew message perception, potentially alienating or offending prospects. Always research—and respect—cultural contexts when to ensure your marketing lands positively.

What feels personal and engaging for people of one culture might be considered overly familiar (or worse—completely inappropriate!) in another.

For more about marketing and respecting cultural differences, check out business expert Erin Meyer’s The Culture Map (2014). In the book, Meyer covers—in greater detail—the vast differences in communication styles across cultures.


AI and automation

In some contexts, your customers probably don’t want their marketing personalized and would prefer efficient, fast, automated responses.

Take, for example, if you have a customer who is trying to track a package. They would likely prefer a quick automated response from a chatbot over a more “humanized” interaction that takes longer.

It’s essential to approach the humanization of marketing with a strategy that’s based on a nuanced understanding of your target audience, the context, and your specific goals.

Related reading

A humanizing marketing approach transforms simple transactions into real connections, helping brands connect with their audiences. Here are some articles we recommend to explore this topic more.

Additional resources

Check out these blog posts from the marketing experts at TBH Creative on creating humanized marketing that can help your company’s next campaign resonate more authentically.

Data Shows That Everyone Loves Storytelling, So Why Aren’t You Using More Video to Connect With Customers?

Video is authentic, it’s growing at a rapid rate, and companies that use video in their buyer journeys grow 50% faster than those that don’t.

In fact, incorporating a video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%. So using video sounds like a no-brainer, right? Right. But—it’s easy to miss the mark on the implementation side.

Here’s what you need to know.

Why Inbound Marketing Is Humanized Marketing (and How It Could Be the Best Thing to Invigorate Your Marketing Plans)

The basis of inbound marketing is to get customers to come to you rather than the other way around. A number of successful companies use inbound marketing to attract and close customers.

Even if you’re not familiar with inbound marketing strategies, you probably experienced an inbound strategy within the last five minutes that brought you to this very blog post. How, you ask? The answer lies in the actions that led you here.

If Your Goal Is to Increase Social Media Engagement, Are You Posting What Real People Want to See?

Most businesses know that social media can be a powerful business tool but aren’t sure there is value in developing a strategy to increase social media engagement. An engaged social media following can contribute to various business goals, whether you’re in e-commerce, selling services to consumers, or offering consulting services to other businesses.

Suppose you have had lackluster results with social media marketing strategies in the past. In that case, you could be one of the many brands that either underestimate the value of engagement or are stuck in the same old strategy. Find out what you need to know to increase social media engagement for your brand.

Note: A version of this blog post first appeared in the Creative Edge, a monthly email with marketing news and tips from the TBH Creative team. Don’t miss the next issue.