Understanding Consumer Empathy!

Empathy is at the center of marketing to consumers! By Pete Denman

Modern marketing is a relatively new industry compared to other business practices. Starting in the 1960’s, markets became saturated with competition as the economy experienced a post-war business boom. Originally, marketing focused on strategic planning of pricing, inventory management and methods used to communicate information about products to consumers. 

As the young field of marketing developed, the mindset behind Henry Ford’s infamous quote, “Any color the customer wants, as long as it’s black,” dissipated. Brands began to tailor their products and messaging to accommodate consumer preferences.  

In 2023 brands have greater communication with consumers than ever before. Marketing executives realized that tailoring products and services was only the tip of the iceberg. Marketers now know that successful brands need to build relationships and understand their consumers on an emotional level, making empathy the cornerstone of modern marketing. 

Empathic marketers understand the importance of viewing the consumers as more than just a number or a transaction. The best marketers rely on these pillars when creating their marketing content: 

Show your Values: Consumers want to purchase from a company they feel makes a positive impact on the community. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Barstool Sports started a fund dedicated to saving restaurants in danger of closing and supported four hundred & forty-three (443) businesses.  

Pull Back The Curtain: LUSH Cosmetics found through research their customers prioritized ethically-sourced products. In response to these findings, LUSH created a series of videos documenting how their products are created, addressing their customers’ concerns and establishing trust with their brand. 

Look from the Customer’s Point of View: In 1990, a Stanford graduate conducted an experiment. Participant A would tap a popular tune (such as Happy Birthday) and Participant B would guess the tune being tapped. Individuals acting as Participant A assumed that Participant B had a 50% chance to guess the correct tune. Out of the 120 songs tapped out, Participant B only guessed correctly 3 times (2.5%). Why such a large discrepancy between Participant A’s predictions and the outcome? The curse of knowledge: Participant A can’t help but to imagine the tune as they tap, making the tune being tapped seem totally obvious. NOT!

In summary, when communicating with consumers, brands need to keep in mind they inherently have more product knowledge than their consumer. Remember to take a step back and assess materials from the perspective of someone that would be new to the brand, or review the brand materials for the first time user.

As a marketer the focus should be on building a relationship with customers. Empathic marketing puts the customer first at every step of the sales process. By prioritizing empathy in marketing, not only will it positively impact your business by creating a trusting relationship, but it will impact the world around us.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to

get the other person’s point of view!”

– Henry Ford

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 at 1:25 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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