While sympathy and empathy are often used interchangeably, they’re far from being the same. Sympathy is the feeling of compassion, concern or care for another person or group of people. Empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to “put yourself in other people’s shoes” to understand and experience what they’re feeling. Essentially, empathy takes sympathy to an entirely new level.
That’s vital for marketing people when thinking about content, demand and lead generation, customer marketing, product marketing and website design. For content, coming up with what might help potential consumers and current customers, you need to know what you’re audience is thinking. What worries do they have? And how can you alleviate this pain? Images that look like your audience helps, too. For people creating various campaigns, it’s important to consider how do people want this information? What are the words that may help them rather than seem like I’m just marketing to them? Customer marketing knows how to interact with customers and what they’re struggling with and how to help. Product marketing needs to think about how items are marketed to potential customers. And website design has to consider usability as well as just about everything before from the content itself to where the words and images flow on a page.
In general, feeling empathy helps you understand pain points. Understanding pain points improves how you know your audience and do good marketing.
It’s more than that — it’s about being special
Seth Godin, marketing guru, calls on marketers to welcome people into their tribe. Niche marketing helps and really the only way to know what will resonate is through empathy and some careful review of metrics. Knowing your niche market helps in targeting your content, message and campaigns. Even if your product has nothing to do with Star Wars, but your audience and employees love Star Wars, maybe it’s time to figure out how your product and the sci-fi franchise work together.
In today’s customer-centered marketplace, consumers want to feel valued and special – not like one in a pool of a thousand other buyers. This is why incorporating empathy into your marketing efforts is so valuable for businesses today.
Become a customer yourself
One of the best ways to truly understand and experience what your consumers are feeling is to become a customer yourself. Go undercover and experience the entire process at both your company and your competitors to discover your organization’s pain points and benefits. This will help you truly see where your customers’ concerns are originating from and how to address them effectively in your marketing efforts.
Don’t hide from bad reviews or constructive criticism – embrace it! If you get called out in LinkedIn for bad service, acknowledge it and say, “Thanks for the feedback.” If you are transparent about your customer experience, more consumers may grow interested in your honest operational approach and products. Share all customer experiences and insights on your social media and testimonial pages to show future buyers that you recognize their concerns and are working to fix them.
Domino’s Pizza is one example of a business that turned a customer disaster into a successful learning experience. Instead of ignoring or covering up their poor quality or customer service, the executives acknowledged these facts and reinvented their brand – to great success, according to Business Insider. To be truly empathetic to your customer base, you must be completely transparent and open.
Fake empathy isn’t really empathy. It doesn’t resonate, either. Being genuine does more. For example, Coca Cola releases through social media pictures of real people. They’re not touched up. They don’t look like they’ve been edited in Photoshop. Instead, they look like someone from the office took them. In general, that marketing does better.
Where your brand is, where your employees are, and where your customers are — that’s the perfect intersection on how to target content, campaigns, social and more.