You’re not likely to see empathy listed as a requirement for marketing jobs, but it’s a super power when it comes to truly understanding your customer. Of course, data and insights are key to success, but at its heart, marketing is about taking a human approach and making meaningful connections.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person, not just identify them. It enables you to put yourself in their shoes and understand what gets them up in the morning and what motivates them to spend their hard earned cash. Although empathy is a quality rather than a hard skill, there are ways to harness your ability to empathise and use it to ultimately become a better marketer.
Buyer personas are invaluable tools for connecting with your customers. They summarise their day to day lives, their hopes, fears and problems; all the essential information that allows you to tap into what motivates them to interact with your brand. Whilst your personas are built on real data and customer insights, your ability to empathise will be what allows you to build a meaningful connection.
Your buyer personas have names for a reason; to help you think of them as a real person you (or your brand) is friends with. That way, when you’re crafting marketing messages for them, it will be human and meaningful, and get you one step closer to that holy grail of customer relationships - brand advocacy.
Not to contradict the importance of humanising your connections, but there are loads of digital tools which can help you to empathise with your audience. Google Trends, Google Analytics and GlobalWebIndex are all ones to check out. They provide a variety of insights into what your audience is interested in, when they engage with their favourite brands and how they perceive organisations.
It might seem strange to get technical when you’re trying to harness such an emotional quality, but having statistics on when your customers are going online can help you understand how to catch their attention at just the right time. You’ll know when they’re on the lookout for a solution that you can provide so you can make sure the messaging you’ve carefully crafted around their wants and needs reaches them when they require it most. This will not only encourage conversions but will help you form meaningful connections that stand the test of time.
Never underestimate the power of a good chat. Having real conversations with people within your target audience is the best way to be able to empathise with them. You can do this through social media, through research groups, and more casually within your peer groups and professional networks.
Assumptions of your audience can be dangerous so this isn’t one to overlook. Ask any questions you have and encourage open discussions; people are always happy to share, especially if it means a better experience from their favourite brands.
We recommend you do all of these things on a regular basis, so you’re constantly flexing that empathy muscle. To find out how to target the right audience to build connections with, check out our guide to crafting your buyer personas.
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