Does your business or practice revolve around itself, or your clients and supporters?

The client isn’t always right. Nor do they even know what they want.

But the client should be the center of your universe.

People-Centric design means you are strategizing around them – their needs, their pains, their fundamental desires. And more importantly, it’s focused on connecting to them in an authentic manner.

People have wised up to the marketing tricks and interruptive tactics of traditional marketing and advertising.

Half the time, they completely block it out. They either ignore it automatically or by literally blocking the ad from being seen. They also see through token actions that aren’t sincere and aren’t valuable to them.

We know when we are being marketed to. But if we get something meaningful from the experience, we don’t care.

You need to understand the people you who are your prospects and clients. What are their pains and frustrations? What are the needs and desires that just aren’t being addressed? Leverage even one good one and you will stand out and get them banging on your door.

So how do you do it?

It takes innovation, research, creativity, and analysis. It takes engaging your target audience in ways that resonate with them. It takes solving their high level needs like meaning, community, being deeply heard, and personal accomplishment (including social status).

Develop pride in your target audience for being part of your brand and you create the trojan horse of marketing. They spread your brand for you, and become loyal clients and supporters.

Develop authority in your industry or non-profit sector, and you can name your price and open new opportunities.

Every target audience is different. Every solution needs to be authentic with your own brand and process.

It starts with the simplest of activities – a conversation, reflection, asking questions, perusing your followers.

To gather valuable insights, never stop asking why until you’ve gotten below the surface. Some ways to start include:

  • Choosing ideal clients and having a conversation with them about their needs, wants, struggles, and lives
  • Surveying your clients or followers with questions that get specific and probes below the surface
  • Reflect on your experiences interacting with your clients, noting personality traits, often asked questions, life situations, struggles they have
  • Look into your followers and ideal clients on social media, discovering what they care about, what they follow, what they talk about

It can seem a tall order, but it is the only way in this brave new world to stand out and build value. People-centric means you aren’t fighting the barriers and wasting money, you are giving them what matters to them. They actually want to interact with you. They respect your value, and value what you provide.

It’s a shift in mindset that is surprisingly un-intuitive. No one thinks that way by default. They think about their organization and what they want. But when you think about it, it only makes sense to make your thinking, actions, and marketing first and foremost about them and what they need.