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Use Empathy to Turbocharge Your Marketing Strategies

GCL | 11 November 2021

Empathy is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as “the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation”. It may seem like common sense for marketers to use empathy to better understand and connect with leads, but that isn’t always the case.

H&M didn't realise a specific hoodie would be seen as offensive when it was worn by a black child. People thought Uber was taking advantage of a New York taxi strike when they disabled surge pricing to JFK airport, although the company claimed otherwise. Many children (and their parents) were upset by a McDonalds’ ad which exploited the passing of a loved one.

To ensure your marketing strategies hit the mark and avoid massive marketing blunders like those above, your brand needs to embrace empathy, not just pay it lip service.

Be emotionally intelligent and take your campaigns to the next level

Forbes contributor and entrepreneur Abhilash Patel recommends these simple do’s and don’ts to make your marketing more empathic:

  • Do understand your audience’s needs, wants and concerns before constructing an empathetic campaign – Are you doing interviews? Are you properly developing your personas? Are you digging through your CRM data for insights? If you’re not, you’ll never address the real issues that affect your audience.

    Do teach – As marketers, you need to understand that you’re not just selling, you’re also teaching. For example, an email campaign can be used to grow audience mindshare, but it’s far more effective if you provide your readers with valuable information that helps them for free.

    Do inspire good – Is the message behind your marketing positive or negative? If not you may need to rethink the direction of your strategy.

    Do use emotion – Through nostalgia, group mentality, relationships, fear and triumph – your leads are people, not robots. Use the emotions that speak to them to drive your marketing strategies.

    Do have a goal – How are you supposed to know where you’re going if you don’t have a destination? Establish a goal for your campaign to ensure your strategy is focused.

    Don’t preach – There’s a fine line between being seen as an expert or coming off as a know-it-all. Embrace humility to avoid coming off as arrogant.

    Don’t use an obvious call-to-action. Allow your audience to make their own conclusions and allow the presented information to speak for itself – Unless your lead is navigating your online store and you want them to click "Buy", you’ll need to think about whether it’s more effective to go for a “hard sell” or “soft sell” with your CTAs. Sometimes a more subtle approach works better.

    Don’t focus on competitors shortcomings. Instead, focus on the positive of your brand or your industry as a whole – If you offer a better product or service, why do you need to pull others down? If you focus on your strengths, there’s no need to highlight the weaknesses of your competition.

    Don’t have more than one goal – While it may be tempting to try and tackle every challenge or pain point your lead might have to deal with, it’s more effective to focus on one of their problems at a time. 

Partner with an agency that understands the power of empathy

GCL is an international marketing agency with over 30 years of experience. You can learn more about the role of emotional intelligence (EQ) in marketing in our ebook Connect With Your Leads Using EQ

We understand that emotional intelligence and empathy are fundamental to telemarketing, which is why our service is unscripted, and also available in a language that’s relevant to your region. To find out more about how telemarketing or other services can help you grow your business, contact us today.