How Empathy Can Make You a Better Marketer

  • 5 min read

Have you ever imagined what we could achieve if we truly understood each other? Think of what we could be if we genuinely cared about the other person and saw things from their perspective. 

Let’s take it one step further. As a marketer, imagine what you can achieve when you approach a customer from their perspective. Are you tired of imagining things? Let's help you paint a definitive picture.

Let's start with the abbreviation that defines the responsibilities of a marketer: AIDA.

This abbreviation has become so popular it's sometimes overused in e-commerce business circles and even outside of business. AIDA accurately describes what people expect of you as a marketer.

  • A: create AWARENESS
  • I: spur the INTEREST of the prospect
  • D: establish DESIRE in the prospect
  • A: make the prospect take an ACTION

For all of these to work, you need to get the attention of your audience. Until recently, keeping the attention of a prospect was a bit of a challenge for most marketers. 

Now, there's a myriad of digital and social tools like email newsletter software to reach prospects. But even with these tools, there's no guarantee the prospect will be ready to listen to you. 

It’s often easier to get the attention of someone you know on a more intimate level. Because you understand their needs or wants and how you can help them, they’ll be willing to listen.

This level of knowledge is only achievable when you show empathy and a genuine desire to understand and help others. Here, we’ll discuss how marketers like yourself are using empathy to do their job better.


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How Empathy Can Help Marketers 

We live in a world where an average individual spends over 3 hours on their phone daily. Throughout this timeframe, they’ll get offers from your competitors, all urging them to buy products or services. 

Sadly, very few seem to care if the customer wants, needs, or is in a position to use the product on offer. Empathy will put you in a place to learn about your customers' needs and how you can help them. 

Some philosophers believe empathy is the cornerstone of civilization. It's hard to disagree with this view. Our desire to communicate and understand each other is one of the key factors responsible for human development. 

The ability to translate this factor to your marketing efforts will help in the following ways:

Empathy is a Strategy

Consider this scenario. An individual approaches you, and without knowing what makes you tick, they try to force their offer on you.

How would you feel?

Now, compare that with someone who approaches you, genuinely tries to know you, and then offers to help with your problems. How will you respond to such an offer?

The easiest way to look like a complete fool is to build your marketing content around what you want. When your ads campaign only addresses what you want without caring about the customer, that's bad marketing strategy. 

A brilliant strategy involves approaching a customer as one who you have a genuine interest in helping. This way, the customers feel you're helping them instead of selling to them.

Remember, buyers don't like feeling you're selling to them. It doesn't matter what type of  eCommerce store you have. Potential customers are more receptive when they think you understand and care about them. 

Empathy enables you to create a customer-centric marketing strategy.  



Empathy Translates to Trust

Trust is what makes a customer keep buying from you. They buy from you because they trust they’ll get what they want every time they come to you. 

The buyer believes you understand them and their needs. They also believe you're capable and ready to help them. Empathy helps marketers by creating a shortcut to getting into that position of trust and regard.

It’s easier to trust someone who shows genuine interest in understanding you. When you consistently show people you care, they'll gradually begin to trust you and look to you when they're in need.

For marketers, when you show customers that you care, they'll trust you to help them when they need a solution you're offering.

A way to build trust is to reach out and be ready to talk about the customer’s interests. Communicate with customers through video call online or physically. Show you care and watch as they begin to trust you more.

Empathy Boosts Creativity

A study by the University of Cambridge suggests that cultivating empathy aids creativity. The result of the study showed that developing empathy can improve emotional intelligence and boost creative thinking.

The rationale behind this is that the individual exercising empathy learns to think about others. As this individual thinks about and understands others, the individual comes across new ideas which merge with their own and give birth to new creative ideas.

One of the most-viewed pieces of branded content, as recorded by visible measure is the 2010 Blendtec ad campaign — "Will It Blend?" 

So far, the ad campaign has over 200 million views. That's a pretty massive number for a demo campaign for kitchen equipment. But what was the secret to that level of success?

The campaign initially seemed pretty dull, but its silliness created an appeal to the audiences' childish nature. The content appeals to the youthful appetite for destruction inherent in most of the viewers. This factor, together with the awkward humor of the founder Tom

Dickson led to the campaign's success.

The company achieved this because of its ability to understand and empathize with the childish nature of its audience. With this understanding, they were able to create a genius piece of advertising content. 

Whoever had the idea for that campaign showed a lot of empathy to appreciate the nature of their audience. As a marketer, empathy helps you discover how to connect better with the audience.

Another significant requirement for empathy is open-mindedness. Marketers need to be receptive to different and sometimes conflicting ideas. 

Empathy involves paying attention to the opinions of others and analyzing them to gain an understanding of their point of view. Receiving and comparing different ideas will also give birth to new ideas. 



Empathy Improves Negotiation Ability

The ability to see things from the other side of the coin is beneficial in negotiations. Empathetic perspective-taking can enable you to discover hidden agreements or conditions during a negotiation. 

You can then leverage these agreements or conditions to create or claim resources during the negotiation. So, how does this apply to marketing?

As a marketer, while negotiating deals with customers, empathy gives you a better view of the customers' perspective. With a 360° understanding of the customer’s view, you can quickly come to a deal that'll benefit both sides. 

Sometimes, you have to prioritize the needs of the customers. Empathy will enable you to do that without a second thought. A great example of this is that in 2017, several flights were canceled from Atlanta due to bad weather. Most airlines didn’t see it fit to offer any support to stranded customers. 

Delta Airlines did better than the rest. To help soothe tensions, the crew threw a pizza party to entertain stranded customers. This kind gesture was a clear indicator that Delta Airlines cares about its customers. 

As a marketer, you don't have to go to extreme lengths, but a simple gesture of kindness goes a long way. Sometimes, an element as simple as providing 24/7 customer support through your business phone line app is enough. This will show your customers you care and are ready to help anytime.

With the right tool, you can always be there for your customer. A superb example is the on-call parking feature that can direct callers to the appropriate department and provide more accurate customer support.

Because you know your customers enough, you can negotiate deals that’ll work for both parties. That’s what a good marketer does!

True Empathy Helps You Avoid Empathy Delusion in Marketing

Marketing involves getting across to customers, which sometimes brings about “closeness” with the customers. Although, this closeness doesn’t automatically translate to understanding or empathy. 

Empathy in marketing is more than just exploiting people's emotions. People will see right through it if you're only trying to use their vulnerabilities to sell on Amazon or any other marketplace. When the effort is not genuine, it’ll be obvious and will have a detrimental effect on your business, and business image. 

Empathy is the ability to intellectually and emotionally connect with and understand another. It’s always genuine. 

In 2015, car manufacturer Hyundai thought it was a good idea to use attempted suicide to educate people about car emissions. The campaign had a hostile reception, and it didn't achieve the desired result. 

The same happened with Pepsi portraying a can of their carbonated beverage resolving a literal life and death conflict. These campaigns tried to portray some level of empathy, but they had the wrong results.

As a marketer, you're also human, and many times, you'll naturally put what you want ahead of others' wants. You'll forget about caring for the needs of your customers before yours. True empathy can help you avoid this pitfall. 


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Empathy Makes You a Better Human and Also a Better Marketer

Understanding another person's wants, grievances, and emotions will help you to relate better with the individual. Empathy allows us to understand each other as humans. Through it, we learn to tolerate each other. 

You become more lovable and affectionate when you show empathy, and these traits will naturally reflect on your marketing efforts.

From the way you manage communication efforts through call quality monitoring to pitches and offers, empathy will make you a better marketer. 

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