Two A's and Empathy in Marketing
Who are the people you are trying to reach? Do you know how they feel, act, what their fears and hopes are? You can answer these questions with the two A's and empathy.
One thing I have learned and observed is that marketers need to look at the purchasing decision process from the customer's perspective to craft their messaging.
One of my recent posts, Congruence: Your Brand, Mission and Values, details how to guide your brand by using your values to create a mission statement that can help you find a unique and unified message.
The second part of that process involves the two A's: authenticity and alignment.
Reaching "Them" Through The First A
Marketers aren't selling to customers or working with clients; marketers are providing a promise to people.
Are you selling a product or service?
No, you are selling a promise that the product or service that you are providing will fulfill that person's needs, wants, desires, or make their life a little easier or better.
The process of achieving congruence in our messaging leads to striving for authenticity in our marketing messages.
In my post Content Marketing Series: Start with Strategic Goals and Your Audience, I outline basic steps for how to define your audience.
To dive just a little deeper into defining your audience, you need to answer the following questions:
What do they see happening when they use your product?
What do they feel when they use your product?
What is the environment of the customer journey?
The best way to reach this level of understanding is to walk in the footsteps of the people you are trying to reach.
Em•pa•thy - the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present.
Understanding and delivering messages that are empathetic to your audience is critical to building an authentic brand.
Being "Them" and the Second A
AdAge reports that 54 percent of marketers cite deeper insights into audiences, content and offers as a key area of improvement over the next year, and 49 percent cite a better ability to understand and engage customers.
The four questions that seek to establish authenticity with your audience are only the first step in the process. The answer to those questions should also be understood as vicarious experiences. Perhaps the most interesting questions you can ask yourself as a marketer are:
How do you objectively feel about your brand messaging?
What would you want if you were the customer?
Have you ever felt, seen, or experienced something similar?
Once you can answer these questions honestly, from your own human perspective, not only will your brand be authentic but it will truly align with those values and the mission of your brand. Should your product or service suddenly fail to keep its promise, you will also know exactly how to react.
One of the things I have learned about the COVID-19 pandemic is that authenticity, honesty, and empathy are ever more important in our lives and especially in business. There are plenty of examples of companies connecting authentically with their people or as Seth Godin says, tribe. My next post will focus on the degrees of empathy and define three types of empathy as they relate to marketing communications.