In today’s world, it is important for your brand’s success to engage customers with empathy marketing. You need to employ empathy and communicate your understanding and caring about your customers, your staff, and your planet.
It’s what today’s buyers want and are increasingly coming to expect from those they do business with. Yes, back to the pillars of wellness – personal, social, and global.
Initially driven by millennials, it’s being embraced cross-generational. Less transactional, more emotional connections. It puts what the customer values over business sales.
Route.com said it well… “What empathetic marketing should always boil down to is that tried-and-true Golden Rule. Treat others how you want to be treated.”
Business Empathy in 2020
I’ve seen some great examples of this in action this year from a broad range of businesses.
In May, Twitter announced all employees would be allowed to work at home permanently if that was their preference.
They had been moving toward more remote work for some time and testing it. Now, if staff need or want to go in, they can… pandemic restrictions allowing. If they prefer to work remotely, there is no discrimination, no pay cuts, no commute.
The benefits? Staff morale boosted, and equal or better productivity. A demonstration of taking care of people.
Verizon and Fios gave customers free data so they could stay in touch with those they couldn’t physically connect with. They also provided 60 days of free resources to help parents and students with at-home learning. Demonstrating customers and staff before sales.
Statewide businesses jumped in
In Oregon, there are hundreds of boutique businesses in the hemp, beer, and distillation niches. They diverted resources to make hand-sanitizers. It kept staff working, even if the products were donated to those who needed them the most.
Larger companies, like Intel, provided medical workers with PPE and joined with others to accelerate research for treatment and cures.
Then on top of the coronavirus, Oregon was hit with the worst wildfires in the state history. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. Some rural cities were totally wiped out. It will take years to deal with the aftermath.
Even small businesses stepped up to help out.
One very small mom and pop Chinese restaurant here in Eugene put a post on Facebook on September 10th.
“Donating food to fire relief camps for the rest of the week. We will be closed. Thanks for your patience.
“Thanks for your support,
They denied themselves income to give their resources to others. Other restaurants and caterers joined them to make sure the firefighters and relief camps had food and water.
Local people raided their personal stores of food, clothing, pet needs, and every other medical and household item you can imagine to donate them to relief centers.
It’s been a year of helping others as I’ve never seen before.
As a customer and marketer…I know it’s about the buyer’s problems
While everything has shifted online, not all businesses have adapted. I’ve seen businesses struggle because they weren’t mentally or technologically prepared. As a marketer, the solutions are clear. To thrive, businesses need a digital presence. They also need empathy marketing.
The changes we have experienced aren’t going to go away anytime soon. People aren’t going to give up the convenience of online shopping. However, they also want more.
You need more than demographics, you need psychographics. I find they help me dig deeper and find the aspects of emotions and empathy best suited to prospects.
Brands need to embrace empathy marketing
It’s not enough to have an e-commerce site. With all the shysters and scammers out there, buyers are becoming more discriminating.
They are looking for things to improve their life. They want transparency to know your brand can be trusted. And they want to know how you are helping other people and the planet.
Embrace all techniques of empathy for engaged and loyal customers.
Three steps for empathy marketing
There are three key techniques you can use for empathy marketing. Start by “walking in their shoes.” Discover their emotions: problems, pains, views, beliefs, values. Then craft your communications with transparency and openness.
It’s critical to do more than try to think like your target customer. You need to be them, assume their perspective without judgment. Understand their emotions and motivations. What makes them buy? Also, discover the things that make them resist.
How are they feeling now and how do they want to feel? What do they want to be different and how can you make their life better? Do they recognize their problem or that a solution exists?
These things together will guide you in where you need to start their journey and the steps you need to include.
By knowing their views and beliefs you can smooth out your buying pathway so they don’t get derailed.
You want to connect with them on shared social and planet-friendly values.
Take salsa. There are lots of choices out there and we all have taste preferences. My go-to brand donates all the profits to charities. That made my buying decision easy.
This where we need psychographics. We also have to recognize how men and women buy differently. Men are more transactional by nature. Women are more emotion-driven in their buying decisions.
Women influence 85% of all consumer buying decisions. That makes them an obvious choice to nurture. It’s important to value them and tap into the emotions – and empathy that will make them loyal customers.
Deadlines like a limited time offer can trigger a buy. Grocery stores use this all the time with their in-store announcement of a special price for the next 10 minutes. Limited quantities are equally powerful. We don’t want to miss out and we love to feel we got bonus value.
Benevolence or altruism are also female buying stimuli. They may feel they are better off and want to help others. Or it may be part of their social values. Humanity and giving back.
Belonging is important to both men and women. We like being part of something, a tribe, a team of like-minded people.
There is also “empathy-response.” When people get positive feedback from giving or doing something it creates an empathy response.
In buying the perfect gift, women share the recipient’s joy emotionally. When her daughter squeals for joy over her birthday gift, she gets a surge of endorphins, the feel-good hormone. She gets the same feel-good hormone for problem-solving.
Men get the empathy response when they do something successfully, or the female in his life is pleased with him, or when their team quarterback scores a touchdown.
Once you have this information you can use it to craft your messages with transparency and openness to build trust in your relationship and brand. You want to make them feel heard and acknowledged.
Once women make the emotional decision, they need you to provide logical information to back it up. This validates their decision. Science, facts, and social proof. Sharing other’s success stories from problem to solution and how they have improved their life is powerful.
Use caution with success stories so they don’t come across in a pushy or sales-focused way. They need to stand on their own merits as validation of problem and solution. What their life was like before and what it is now. Share what they had tried that didn’t work, their failures. How they found your solution and their experiences on the journey to a better quality of life.
When I work with clients…
I start by learning what they are currently doing and what isn’t working. Then, taking another look at their target, I dive deeper to find a different way to connect and engage with emotions and empathy marketing. Need help? Reach out to me. firstname.lastname@example.org.