Many businesses promote the fact that they are customer-centric. But in today’s marketplace, customer-centric falls short of consumers’ expectations. Add to this fact that most businesses stumble in actually being customer-centric. In most strategic and marketing plans, customer-centric is a “must have”. But if everyone is customer-centric, how do you differentiate your business from all others in the congested, noisy marketplace. Do businesses truly address their buyers in a customer-centric manner?
The world has evolved, and businesses that wish to flourish must adapt to their prospect and customers’ changing requirements. Empathetic marketing is the most effective approach to do this.
What is Empathic Marketing? Empathic marketing is seeing through the eyes of your customers. To be truly customer-centric, marketers must gain a deep understanding of who their customers are, the challenges they’re facing, and what motivates them to act.
According to Aron North, the Chief Marketing Officer at Mint Mobile, “Empathetic marketing may have hit buzzword status, but it has always been the key to acquiring and retaining loyal, satisfied customers. The principle revolves entirely around the customer journey”.
For businesses, seeing the world through the user’s point of view helps you place the customer at the center of your marketing strategy and then work outwards. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Moving beyond “customer-centric” to drive business success requires empathic marketing execution ability. It takes perception skills and talent to understand and share the feelings of another and to demonstrate that understanding is a core element of social interactions in the marketplace.
Empathetic marketing is about connecting with clients in a genuine way that results in ongoing engagement. The emphasis here is on “genuine”. True empathic marketing does not fall into the generic customer-centric arena. Empathic marketing is about knowing the feelings, concerns, wants, needs, and hopes of your prospects and customers. We all grieve, laugh, and interact as humans. These feelings arise from emotional experiences. Our role as marketers and businesses is to create a relevant emotional experience for our future customers through empathic marketing.
How do you manage empathetic marketing?
1. Create personas to recognize prospect and customer behaviors. To find out what people really need and want, you need to get inside their minds.
2. Don’t feed your prospects and customers BS. Keep your interactions authentic and helpful. Learn to listen to your prospects and customers rather than just hear them.
3. Show your human side.
4. Tell your brand story clearly so that it is easily understood. Avoid sales and marketing jargon.
Do you know what experience your customers have with your brand? According to Mary Ann O’Brien, founder and CEO of OBI Creative, “The customer journey is every interaction a customer has with your brand from first blush to brand evangelist. It is the Instagram post they see that makes them want to click to learn more. It is the Facebook Live video they tune in to and find themselves hooked on. It is wandering into your company and getting happily lost in the experience of finding something unique that makes them or someone they care about feel special. It is every touch point you have with your customers from advertising to purchase consideration to fulfillment to billing and service after the sale. Empathetic marketing seeks to understand the customer journey and optimize it for the customer’s wants, needs, interests, and motivations. Practicing empathy in marketing also is essential to forming an emotional connection with customers, which is critical to long-term success”.
Connecting with customers is harder today. Reeling from the global pandemic, competition is fierce in every sector, but especially in retail markets to name just one example. Supply chain disruption, economic upheaval, and a demand for safety and health at every checkpoint along the buyer journey have made operating at a profit exceedingly difficult for most, if not everyone.
As in-person avenues are whittled away, marketers are challenged to find new ways to form emotional connections with consumers. While it may require innovation, consumers desire to establish relationships with brands, perhaps more, than ever before. As we come off the effects of a world staggered by so much recent isolation, people are craving closeness again.
Forming emotional connections isn’t magic. It’s science. Investing in good customer journey research that reveals what your customers actually experience with your brand provides the insight you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Surveys of current customers, lookalike audiences, sales members, and back-office staff are all important as they will reveal what gaps exist between what you think your customers think of your brand and what they actually think.
How do you execute an empathic marketing strategy? Aircall lists the following examples.
1. “Listen carefully to your prospects and customers.
2. Make it your problem.
3. Allow them (prospects and customers) to get it all out.
4. Be respectful.
5. See it through their eyes.
6. Understand their priorities.
7. Show that you care.
8. Avoid assumptions.
Empathic marketing can help you be the brand of choice for your customers. When they have an issue, how do they want to be able to connect with your brand for understanding and resolution? The key to empathetic marketing is to ask all those questions about your customer and not yourself. Instead of asking how you want to market, sell, shop and ship, put your customers at the center of that equation. Then, organize your marketing and operations around them. When you begin to think and feel like your customers, you will find yourself attracting many more of them to your brand.
Empathic marketing involves activating your listening skills. According to Universal Class, “in order to practice your active listening skills, simply try to remember the three A’s (of listening): Attitude, Attention, and Adjustment. Here’s how you can put these into practice.
Coming into the conversation, it’s important to have the right attitude. Consider if you’re emotionally open to the conversation and able to devote your attention to what the other person is saying. It’s also important to leave your bias at the door and come in with an open mind to the conversation. With the right attitude, you’re off to a great start.
Active listening involves giving your undivided attention to the person speaking. Consider if there are distractions in your environment and if you’re able to give your undivided attention. If not, consider moving the conversation or eliminating the distractions.
Active listening involves taking in the information and responding after fully listening and comprehending the information. That means the conversation may not go the way you anticipated. In active listening, you should practice pivoting based on the information you’re receiving and repeating the information in a way that helps you make sense of it.”
The world has evolved, and businesses that wish to flourish must adapt to their prospect and customers’ changing requirements. Empathetic marketing is the most effective approach to do this. True empathic marketing does not fall into the generic customer-centric arena. Empathic marketing is about knowing the feelings, concerns, wants, needs, and hopes of your prospects and customers. The key to empathetic marketing is to ask all those questions about your customer and not yourself. It takes perception skills and talent to understand and share the feelings of another and to demonstrate that understanding is a core element of prospect and customer interactions in the marketplace.
To learn more about Empathic Marketing, contact your Think Patented account executive or call 937.353.2299.