After over 12 years in marketing roles ranging from sales to business intelligence, from campaign development to creative, I believe there is a consistent goal: to get the customer to say “yes”. But the reasons he or she would do so are unique to that individual, and as marketers we seek not to manipulate him or her into buying our products. Instead, we seek to create the reasons and the environment for customers to willfully choose our products and services. We strive to earn their loyalty.

In this effort, here are my 6 key perspectives on how to create a more multi-dimensional approach to marketing:We consistently see marketing strategies that focus on features and benefits. While that’s not incorrect, to focus only on features and benefits is to bring a flat approach to a multi-dimensional problem.

1. Psychology is only one piece of the puzzle

The role of marketing is to strategically guide customers to choose our products amidst all the other factors vying for their attention. Which means we must take a comprehensive, holistic approach. While human decision-making is deeply rooted in individual psychology, a comprehensive approach also factors in culture, social influences, and the circumstances of a customer’s environment.

2. Both the market and brand experiences are feedback loops

Market success is determined by the audience’s vote with their wallets, their usage, and what they share with others. The best products, services, apps, and tools succeed, which shows us that the market itself is a self-correcting system: It is one, giant feedback loop full of customer insight on what they want, what they need, and what they care about.

3. We live in a world of yes/no decisions

Making a decision usually feels like a single moment, but it’s often a series of small micro-decisions. At each stage we are whittling down the options and determining a course of action. We’re choosing the path we need to take, one ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at a time.

4. Decisions do not happen in silos; they happen in dynamic environments.

We want our customers to say ‘yes’, but we need to remember that this response happens in the market, alongside other decisions, pressures, offers, and demands for their time and attention. As marketers, we need to keep this grander ecosystem in mind in order to develop experiences that meet a customer’s needs.

5. Everything should begin with human behavior

We are all social beings, wired to come together in communities, to form tribes, to gravitate toward storytelling, to create rituals. Through an exploration of innate tendencies, we are able to understand what resonates with humans. An thus, leverage this knowledge as a set of building blocks upon which we can craft engaging brand experiences.

6. The way a human connects with a brand is similar to how he or she builds human relationships.

Relationships are built over time. Trust must be earned. While it’s true that an advertising campaign can push an initial response, ultimately, the brand experience will trump any suggestions a marketer has made. Recognizing this difference reminds us that our marketing should focus less on fabricating an idea and instead on creating experiences that deliver the value we are promising.

Great marketing lives at the nexus of art and science. At the nexus of behavior and culture. At the nexus of desire and opportunity. Great marketing is multi-dimensional, embracing the many dimensions a customer must navigate, and providing an experience that delivers on a brand promise. To think from this human-centric, multi-dimensional approach bears strong similarity to the study of anthropology.

Thinking from an anthropological perspective shifts us away from merely counting a sale, an impression, or a conversion, and instead broadens our scope: An anthropological approach forces us to ask the questions of how a product or service will resonate with a customer, how it will support his or her needs and desires, how it relates to his or her culture, and how easily the product will be adopted, used, and shared. Most importantly, taking an anthropological approach to marketing places us in a position to drive the bigger initiative: how can we create experiences that instill brand loyalty.

The gap between customer experience and brand promise is a pervasive challenge for us as marketers, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. A fan of this article? Tweet me to let me know. Comments are welcome (and encouraged), opinions are valued, and sharing is caring!