What does it mean to have empathy? Some may think it means feeling sorry for someone, but that’s sympathy. Empathy is when you understand another person’s feelings and see a situation from their perspective.
Empathy is a superpower when it comes to marketing. The ability to see things from the customer’s perspective will help you create better marketing materials, meet people based on their needs, and much more.
What are the benefits of empathy in marketing? Let’s take a look.
As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Your audience isn’t interested in your awards or accolades; they’re interested in their own problems.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
When you show that you understand those problems, your audience will listen eagerly for the solution. That’s where you can present your product or service, followed by the credentials that show the audience should trust you.
This kind of connection requires knowing your ideal customer at a deep level, including looking at business analytics unique to your market or doing customer research surveys.
Without empathy, you’ll never connect with your audience’s greatest need, so they won’t have any reason to listen to you.
B2B marketing typically has a longer buying cycle than B2C and often includes multiple decision-makers. That makes the entire process more complex.
However, B2B buyers are still human. You can put yourself in their place and ask yourself, “What would I need right now if I were them?” This can lead you to create a key piece of content that moves prospects to the next buying stage. It might mean you provide information that the buyer can deliver to an important stakeholder. Or, it might impact your use of inclusive language so that your customer feels heard and understood.
Marketers often think of the entire buying process at once and are eager to move leads along the pipeline. When you can step back and think about what they need today, it can help you slow down enough to keep pace with the actual buyer.
Everyone loves options, and there are plenty of browsers that like to research different business solutions from time to time. But how do you turn that casual interest into a burning desire to buy the product or service?
The answer is empathy. When you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you know exactly what they need at the final stage of the buying process. You’ve already spoken to them at every step up to this point, providing helpful information and insight. This helps even budget-conscious buyers feel ready to say yes to your final offer.
Remember that the buying decision may be a complicated one, so think specifically about what the final decision-maker needs to pull the trigger. For example, is there a confused stakeholder? Do they need to see a costs-and-benefits table?
By providing the right content at the right time, you can turn someone curious into someone ready to buy.
When you make a sale, that’s not the end of your interaction with the customer. It could be just the beginning, so you need to provide excellent support, customer service, and, in some cases, additional related offers.
The only way to do that is to move forward with empathy. Taking the time to understand what’s going on with the buyer is essential. Many buyers, especially for big-ticket items, need to be reassured they made the right choice. There may be implementation concerns, and you might need to provide information to help the business explain and roll out the new product to their employees.
As you meet the buyer at their point of need, you’ll build up their trust in your brand. When there are multiple decision-makers, you can build trust with all of them at once. Future buying processes will be much quicker when you do—they’ll already believe what you have to say.
Without empathy, the customer feels like a transaction, “just another number.” As a result, they won’t be likely to make another purchase with your company or recommend it to others.
When you treat customers with exceptional care, they notice. Someone treated well wants to share it with everyone, especially since it’s (unfortunately) so rare in today’s business world.
If you’ve used empathy at every step of your marketing strategy, you’re going to create an exceptional customer experience. That experience will turn your customers into repeat buyers, and, potentially, brand advocates that recruit other customers to your company.
As long as you make sure you take care of the new customers in the same way, you’ll create more advocates, and your company will get the best marketing available—free word-of-mouth!
Marketing is all about the customer, and to give your prospects what they need to become buyers, you need empathy. It’s all about understanding your customers at a deep level, gaining insights from even simple conversations, and orienting the entire sales process to their needs.
If this isn’t already the norm in your company, take steps to change that. When you implement empathy-first marketing, you’ll be amazed how your company grows.
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