Empathy MarketingIn 1970, the average American saw 500 advertisements a day. Now, in 2022, the average Americans sees 4,000-10,000. Strangely though, as the number of ads has grown, their impact has lessened. Not because marketing is ineffective, it’s because businesses have forgotten how to effectively connect with customers. Many still think they can persuade them with facts and figures. But raw data can’t cut through the noise. Only emotion can. That’s the guiding principle behind empathy marketing.

Rather than make a rational case, empathy marketing sways customers by triggering emotion. Because people feel first and think second, it’s their gut reaction to your content, not the points you raise with it, that determines whether they’ll buy from you. People treat companies the way they treat other people. They only associate with the ones they like, businesses that display strong emotional intelligence.

But likeability doesn’t just drive sales; it builds loyalty. According to the Harvard Business Review, customers who are emotionally connected to a company are 52 percent more valuable than the ones who are highly satisfied with the goods and services they receive from it. What’s more, an emotive approach is effective whether you’re selling to businesses or directly to consumers. B2B brands who embrace emotion have higher engagement, higher click-through rates, higher acquisition rates, and 198 times as many followers on LinkedIn.

Emotive marketing is undoubtedly effective, but how to implement it is not always clear. Because brand marketing is so ubiquitous, empathy marketing feels like a major break. In fact, its principles are straightforward, based around simple behaviors that can be incorporated into your advertising at an incredibly low cost.

Be Authentic

We instinctively distrust people who put on a false front and pretend to be something or someone they are not. We feel the same way about businesses whose messaging and values are not clear or consistent.

For example, Disney sells entertainment, but its marketing is based around magic, happiness, and family. Its values are optimism, decency, community, and storytelling. Nike sells shoes, but its marketing is based around fitness, athleticism, and achievement. And its values are excellence, self-improvement, and determination (Just Do It).

Everything these companies do touches on these ideas in one way or another. But values can’t be chosen randomly. Respect, integrity, and innovation are nice, but if they don’t reflect what you do, they’ll feel hollow and insincere.

When you present yourself to customers, always ask what it is you do that matters most to them. What’s the need you fulfill? Why do they come to you instead of the competition? Once you know the answer, you’ll know the values you embody and how to market them authentically.

Remember, transparency, honesty, and consistency are the key to authenticity. Be open about who you are. Be genuine about your goals. And never associate with people or causes that go against your mission.

Avoid Hard Sells

No one likes people who are always trying to get something out of us. That’s why bad salesmen think about their bottom line, while good salesmen think about their customers. Similarly, empathy marketing isn’t focused on converting people, but genuinely helping them. 

Create content that relates to the everyday challenges facing your customers. Focus on their pain points. Offer concrete, practical solutions. Helping them improve their lives not only shows you care about their situation, but understand it as well.

While this type of marketing is effective, it also requires in-depth knowledge of your customers. In order to succeed, you’ll need constant feedback: reviews, complaints, focus groups, social media, internet forums, service requests, anything that offers a glimpse into your customers’ wants, needs, and concerns. Your goal is to create a conversation, so encourage communication however and wherever you can.

Make a Strong First Impression

First impressions are hard to shake. Most people decide whether they like someone within a few seconds, then think of reasons to justify their reaction. It’s exactly the same when people encounter a business, that’s why empathy marketing is so effective. By engaging their feelings first, it creates a stronger bond between you and your customers.

Empathy marketing is most impactful when it taps into shared experiences and aspirations. Themes that resonate most strongly include:

  •  Pride
  • Love
  • Achievement
  • Friendship
  • Nostalgia

Loneliness is another powerful trigger. Even though no one enjoys it, we can all relate to it. Empathy is a popular one as well. As social creatures, humans are constantly trying to discern the thoughts and feelings of the people around them. It’s our nature. For this reason, content that encourages it is intrinsically captivating.

Joy and surprise are also impactful. Though they don’t resonate as strongly, they’re a great way to hook audiences. And once you’ve got their attention, your deeper themes have a chance to sink in. Content that alternates between joy, sadness, and surprise is even better. People tend to get bored with content that has only one emotional level. Incorporating highs and lows into your material not only keeps them hooked, it keeps them coming back.

 Treat People as Individuals

No one likes being treated as an anonymous customer. One of the reasons people love mom and pop stores is because the owners know who we are. They remember what we bought, follow up on our problems, and recommend new things for us to try.

With the data available to modern companies, creating personalized interactions is easier than ever. Customers can be broken down by interests, behaviors, and demographics in order to create better buyer personas. Gathering information from your sales, customer service, and marketing teams provides crucial insight into how consumers think and feel.

Purchase records and wish lists let you create ads, discounts, and promotions relevant to their interests. What’s more, it ensures they’re not offered deals on products they’ve bought already. (Offering the same product twice is a major disincentive. It indicates your customers are numbers, not individuals.)

But the easiest way to connect with customers is by using their name. It not only makes them feel respected, but adds a human touch to your emails, comments, and communications.

Empathy Marketing with YPM

YPM campaigns are backed by data, yet driven by emotion. Our marketing puts customers front and center, extending the reach and impact of your content. Contact us today and find out how we can help you connect on a whole new level.