Why Empathy is Key to Marketing

Invasive ads have transformed the relationship between a company and its customers. People are tired of manipulation and sales tactics. Simple brand recognition isn’t enough. The brand message – and the values it conveys – are skyrocketing in importance.

Today’s consumers search for meaningful relationships with brands that reflect their values. They will put in some effort to stay loyal to a favorite product or brand.

An empathetic marketing strategy creates and sustains an emotional connection. This connection makes a customer more likely to buy, to spend more, and to recommend the brand.

Applying Empathy to Marketing Strategy

According to psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, empathy is part of emotional intelligence. It requires seeing through another person’s eyes and imagining life from their point of view.

Marketing that evokes feeling inspires action. When moved, people are more likely to share, respond, and follow-through.

Empathizing is not problem-solving or a logical dissection. Empathy is human. It connects to our need for safety, desire for community, and the joys of love and creativity.

Social media has opened the door for empathetic marketing. Online forums allow marketers to connect with real customers. This communication opens a dialogue and provides direct feedback in real-time. Rather than testing the market, companies can ask customers what they value.

Consistently reflecting these values is the core of an empathetic marketing strategy.

People Want to Follow a Narrative

Empathy is an associative, right-brain activity, not a logical, left-brain one.  When we cheer with a winning team or cry with a favorite movie we’re using empathy. It allows a person to experience the world through the eyes of another. Stories are a powerful way to evoke it.

Stories about the company’s history, products, employees, or customers, become impactful marketing tools. They create a sense of shared experience. The product or service now connects customers to a community. Stories that reflect core values like inclusion, self-acceptance, independence, and change have a particular impact.

Meaning Drives Future Success

In times of increasing economic and social uncertainty, individuals rely more on community. Brands successful in associating with meaning and value will gain ground.

Marketing strategy should focus on authenticity, providing benefit, and creating connection.

When a brand sees through the eyes of those they serve and employ, priorities become clear. Patterns emerge. Connecting with an audience in an impactful, impassioned way is vital to a brand’s success. When customers feel included they become part of the team.

An empathetic marketing strategy may call for a new approach or extra effort. Yet, the cumulative effect could be well worth it. Building social awareness and promoting fundamental human values can transform the business landscape. Moving “greed is good” into the past and embracing a truly win-win approach.

Joan W.

Joan Weisman is a marketing consultant and copywriter with 20 years of experience in the dynamic world of real estate sales.

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