September 26, 2013 / Point of View
Put Your brand in Their Shoes
Empathy-driven marketing builds relationships and experiences that matter
The only constant in today’s world is change: There are new devices, new platforms, new channels, new social media conventions invented every day. Old ones become obsolete. New communities join the conversation. As soon as marketers think they have it all figured out, the sands shift again. And they’re trying to figure it out in the midst of a 24/7 culture of communication. Marketing is no longer about whether people are online or offline, it’s about whether they’re awake or asleep.
In this noisy, roiling sea of technological change, it’s easy to get lost. But, there is one life raft marketers should grab onto: empathy.
Empathy — the capacity to understand and share someone else’s feelings — is a skill we all share, and it needs to be at the center of marketing efforts today. We can keep ourselves up at night chasing down the latest changes in technology (yes, we do still need to devote plenty of effort to that), but in the end, we’re still working to build brand relationships that are relevant. And if we’re doing it right, we’re listening to them.
Using empathy to drive marketing means putting ourselves into the shoes of the person using your product — and walking a mile or two. What’s important to them? What worries them? What hurdles do they face? What language do they use? How do we enrich their lives?
When empathy, rather than channel-centric thinking, drives marketing, we can engage authentically with people to create utility or provide entertainment, while building the strong connections modern brands need to survive and thrive.
We are no longer operating in a world with a sequential path to purchase. Brands are part of a complex ecosystem of interactions and expertise, one in which the consumer is no longer just a consumer. People are influenced by multiple sources (friends, peer reviews, so-called experts, your competitor, etc.). They also examine and ultimately buy a brand’s purpose, share its stories, and co-create its meaning. We need empathy to engage in this process with them.
But what about data, the influential and overabundant resource of consumer detail that presumably predicts the future? We need data and analytics to gather insight and adapt and optimize. But at the core of it all, we still need empathy and intuition to interpret and create. Think of it: Google, despite its collection of endless data, still builds its products around people and what they do. Read full article on Huffington Post.