Empathy. Since moving to Berlin, Germany in 2017, I have come to terms with the word “empathy.” Granted. I did hear the word when I lived in California – but the word did not ‘click’.
But empathy is on a new playing field for me in Germany. I am now on the other side of the field. I am no longer the one looking to [just] give empathy, but I am the one searching for it, constantly.
Why? Because moving to a new country, starting a business and connecting with a new community is hard. On top of it, I have to do it in another language with the bureaucracy of the German government. Yes, it can be trying at times. But I have learned so much in the process.
I now understand empathy on an entirely new level. I might go as far as to say that it now has added meaning – and it has lead me to approach empathy more strongly in my marketing.
My short story is to show the importance of empathy – and how we should incorporate it into our marketing. Because empathy is a daily player and an important ally for marketers to harness. Content empathy marketing is the future of marketing. It will define the edge to our marketing departments and allow us to better connect with the ideal audience, help them, and influence them toward a purchase.
And b2b empathy marketing can even be seen as more complex and icky. In a field that is traditionally pegged with words like “dry” and “straight-forward”, empathy marketing is a great asset to connect with b2b prospects on a much deeper and meaningful level.
What is empathy marketing?
I will lay out the empathy marketing definition plan and simple.
To summarize, empathy is “the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes.”
Empathy translates to marketing empathy by means of the process. As marketers, we design complex and intuitive marketing campaigns to hone in on unique audience emotions at every level of the audience buyer’s journey.
Our deeper understanding of the emotions on each level channels our empathetic-thinking and encourages us to create purposeful content marketing campaigns that target the ideal audience, connects with them, builds trust, and helps them specifically at each stage of the journey.
Science says connecting human experience with emotion leads to better and deeper connections. Emotional connection is the ultimate goal of empathy marketing to establish a firm bridge between emotion, the messaging, the solution, and the brand.
Why empathy marketing is important
The importance of marketing empathy is looked at from two angles. On the business perspective, empathy allows the marketer to create content that is strongly tailored to the needs, challenges and pains of the target audience and buyer persona, enabling marketers to create highly effective marketing campaigns that produce strong ROIs and influence.
I personally believe empathy marketing is important for human connection. The days of sleazy car salesman tactics are falling to the sidelines, and the buyer’s market is becoming more and more educated, skillful, and in search of a unique experience.
In order to remain progressive and in front of this trend, marketers need to start approaching content empathetically to build stronger connections and trust with the audience. Empathy will play a large part in personalization and creating unique-tailored experiences for customers.
How to bridge empathy with content marketing
The process of being empathetic in content marketing is not hard. These are a few quick steps a marketer or content creator can take to start navigating towards empathetic content.
Take the Time to Befriend Your Audience
I say this time and time again, and I even recorded and launched a workshop on befriending your audience. It starts with understanding all your buyer personas and customer journeys. But it goes much deeper than that. It also involves asking the right questions in such a way that allows customers to openly talk about their journey and story.
It is also about them. Frankly, marketers do not take the time to talk to actual customers. Befriending the audience is treating them like a real human being. Meaning, the marketer and team is scheduling occasional interviews with current customers, attending events, and speaking to potential customers to better understand them.
Humanize the content
Know your audience and speak directly to them. Depending on b2b or b2c or the industry, change your startup voice to match the language the audience is speaking. Changing the voice is not only for content on the website and blog – but it also involves the content on individual social media channels and emails.
Do they like approachable? Do they like sophisticated? Do like simple, plain and dry? How would you talk to them, if the content was being spoken in person? We have to remember that digital content is an extension of the conversation done offline, thus we should treat it just as human.
A quick example of empathy marketing in action
The Field Trip to Mars created by Lockheed Martin is a prime example of a b2b company revolutionizing the education technology industry to make meaningful experiences for students. I believe it shows how business to business companies can target a specific need and emotion in the education technology field and work together to bring empathy to the learning process.
In this example, Elan Languages elegantly puts it into perspective just how the end-user experience can be tainted by crappy copy translation.
Empathy should guide your content marketing.
What is the next step in content marketing? Empathy or the ability to understand another person’s experience from within the other person’s frame of reference. Empathy marketing in b2b bridges strong audience connections and meaningful, lasting relationships. It is not only important, but it is also easy to introduce. It is simply a change of mindset, and it begins by switching from solution-first to problem-first human-centered marketing.
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