Empathy & Marketing: How Kindness Can Take Your Business Further
Marketing often has the reputation for being a purely business-minded process. Certainly, most marketing strategies are designed to help a company meet its financial goals and improve customer retention. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that the most successful approaches are ruthlessly conversion-focused or dependent on manipulating customer behavior.
It is increasingly clear that consumers don’t like to be treated as simply sources of revenue. The rising generations have a particular tendency to hold the businesses with which they interact to high standards. This includes treating consumers with fairness, authentic consideration, and kindness. Therefore, an empathetic approach to your marketing campaigns is more likely to have a positive impact on your consumers and your business.
Let’s explore this idea a little further. How can empathy and kindness practically be incorporated into marketing and why does this make a difference to your customers?
Emphasize Shared Values
Empathetic marketing tends to demonstrate a keen awareness of what is important to your customers when they’re interacting with brands. This isn’t necessarily entirely focused on the quality of your products or the price of your services. Rather, consumers are increasingly prioritizing businesses that reflect their ethical and social values. One recent study found that 70% of consumers buy from brands that reflect their own principles. As these components are often deeply personal to customers, emphasizing your shared values in your marketing can show consumers you recognize, believe in, and care about actions that go beyond commerce.
It’s worth taking some time to research which of your values your consumer base is prioritizing in their lives. What characteristics, beliefs, and activities positively impact their lives the most? How do these tend to influence their purchasing and day-to-day activities? Utilize this data to gain a genuine understanding of how your marketing strategy and materials can demonstrate your ability to empathize with their perspectives on their values.
From here you can utilize your marketing channels to lean into the areas your company’s values and those of your consumers meet. This could include behind-the-scenes content that shows the commitment you have to implement these values in your daily company activities. You could post videos or blogs about the charitable or community actions your business takes in relation to causes that are close to your consumers.
Consider Customers’ Needs
A sense of empathy in your marketing means your strategy recognizes and focuses on the humanity of your target customers. They’re not just faceless personas that you use to get the best conversions as a result of engagement. Therefore, your marketing team should understand that your demographics have needs and problems that need to be addressed. Utilize your marketing tools to assist them with these.
This is where design thinking can be a vital tool in empathetic marketing. This practice is centered on a deep understanding of consumers and what their primary needs and interests are. In the “define” stage of design thinking, your marketing team will seek to clarify who the consumer is and what problems they face. This aspect particularly requires empathy as the process benefits from putting oneself into the point-of-view of the customer and establishing practical ways to meet their needs.
You can then start to produce content that shows that you do not just know customers’ difficulties but also have the expertise and willingness to help them find a route out of these. Wherever possible provide informational and practical resources that aren’t just designed to sell, but simply answer questions and provide guidance in ways that genuinely make customers’ lives a little easier. These can be educational tutorials or even just entertaining pieces of content that make your audience feel good after a difficult day.
One of the best ways to demonstrate empathy with your audience in your marketing is through personalization. This helps to show that you’re mindful of the individual involved in your interactions, rather than just seeing them as a faceless consumer. While nobody is under any illusions they’re being sold to in marketing, the effort to personalize shows that the choices you make are geared toward the best experience. Personalization suggests that you care about them getting something solid and positive out of the relationship.
This involves small steps such as ensuring your emails are populated with their preferred method of address, rather than referring to them as “customer” or assuming it’s fine to use their first name. The user experience should not just be predicated on their past purchases but also data on their behavior in navigating around your website. Collect information about the content they engaged with and the route they took to certain areas of your site. Utilize this in sending similar content in mail outs or adjusting what they see on your landing page when they visit the website.
To provide the most personalized experiences, it’s important to produce a diverse range of marketing materials so you regularly have something to offer in line with consumer preferences. Develop a creative content marketing strategy that incorporates different formats, such as videos, long-form blogs, memes, and even podcasts. Wherever possible, encourage staff members from various departments to collaborate in making and designing your content. This means that the variety of materials benefits from diverse perspectives, which can then be utilized to provide a more meaningful personalized curation process for a wider range of customers.
Empathy in your marketing is one of the most effective ways to show consumers that your business doesn’t simply see them as money-generating machines. Indeed, the various aspects of your marketing strategies should be geared toward demonstrating that you have an authentic awareness and concern for addressing the challenges they face. Wherever possible, utilizing elements of personalization can make for a more meaningful and strong connection between your business and your consumers.
This process isn’t about completely foregoing your business interests and goals. Rather, it’s about recognizing that today’s consumers are more responsive to marketing methods that are rooted in the human experience. By finding where you can show and use empathy in your marketing materials, everyone involved stands to have a better and more successful experience.