Businesses often make the mistake of exclusively focusing their marketing efforts around facts instead of the story. This happens in B2B marketing as well. The end result feels something like this: We make this product, and it is really great. Let me show you what’s great about it. You can buy it for this much. Here’s where and when you can reach us.
Facts are great. They tell consumers what they need to know to buy your stuff. But, aimlessly shooting facts out into the universe is a wasted effort. The most memorable brand campaigns are all about feels before facts. The best brands deliver marketing campaigns that are drenched in empathy: Apple, Nike, Toyota, Google the list goes on. These brands deliver content that is supported by a deep understanding of the customer experience. They see the consumer’s pain points and reach them in an authentic, emotional way. This approach is most commonly referred to as empathy marketing.
4 Ways to Start Incorporating Empathy-Based Marketing Into Your Strategy
1. Tell a Story
First, you need to remember that human brains are wired for stories. We are better at remembering and recalling facts if they are delivered to us through storytelling. So, tell your customer’s a story and go for the heart. Identify pain points and give them a reason to feel something about your brand. There’s also the fact that we all have painfully short attention spans. We’re oversaturated with marketing information all day long. So, you need to know who your customers are, what you want them to do, and what their emotional motivations are. Then, you can deliver a story that appeals to their emotions while also emphasizing your brand pillars.
2. Images, Images, Images
Remember the original Facebook layout? Crazy, right? All the text. Fast forward well over a decade later, and this heavy text style is laughable.
Visuals have the availability to tug at our emotions more quickly. As social media platforms figured this out, they evolved. Photography, video, infographics, and design can peak human emotions faster. Pictures, the lighting, sound, music, setting, characters, tone, texture, and color are all pieces of the puzzle. When these pieces come together just right, you create a memorable moment for your customer. These are the moments that can make customers feel more deeply connected to your brand.
So start incorporating intentional imagery into your brand on a daily basis through social, content, video marketing, and your website. Speaking of websites…
3. Web Development & User Experience
Empathy marketing (when done well) should also be woven into your website development and user experience. Say for example, you are in the wellness market specializing in medicinal cannabis products. A large portion of your customers most likely struggle with anxiety. With that in mind, you would want to make sure your website is clutter-free, clean, simplistic, calming, and easily navigated.
In general, user experience has become vastly more important for brands and businesses of all sizes. Part of empathy marketing is recognizing the expectation of today’s consumer. Amazon changed the game for everyone. People expect things to be fast and easy without sacrificing quality. If your website navigation is confusing or tedious, customers will no longer give you the extra five minutes (let alone five seconds) to figure their way to “purchase”.
4. Usable Content
Taking the medicinal cannabis analogy a step further, let’s look at content.
If you recognize anxiety is a major pain point for your customer, you would also want to provide them with usable, helpful content that pertains to their health struggles. This is where blog content and social media become a key component of a well-thought out empathy-based marketing strategy. You want your customer to see you as genuinely invested in their personal health and wellness. If that’s one of your brand pillars, and it’s something you claim in your mission statement, your content better support it, or you’re going to come across as lacking in both empathy and credibility.
The Big Takeaway on Empathy
Certainly, it’s important to tell your consumers what you sell, and why your products are superior. We’re not saying don’t ever highlight your products and facts about your products, and we’re certainly not saying your products/services don’t need to deliver (they do!). What we are saying is that there is room for both facts and feels. Your marketing strategy needs both, and you need to consider how storytelling, images, customer experience, and content can all bring a healthy level of empathy to your brand narrative.
So take some time to know your audience and your narrative. What is special about your organization, and what do you want your target audience to feel about you?
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