There is no excuse not to understand consumers in order to empathize with them.
As uncertainties associated with the pandemic remain the norm, businesses must be aware of consumers’ emotional state, and lead with empathy in all marketing and advertising efforts.
The pandemic has made empathy necessary. The different ways in which empathy can be incorporated in the marketing strategy of a business are enumerated below.
Exhibiting a weakness is a demonstration of honesty, and makes other claims made by a business more believable. For instance, Listerine publicized its bitter taste with the line, ‘The taste you hate, twice a day’.
The business did admit a flaw but capitalized on the criticism. The ad suggested that the bitter taste was a sign of its effectiveness. This makes competitors seem needy.
No campaign will truly resonate with consumers if the marketer doesn’t know what it is like to be in the consumers’ shoes.
Research is a prerequisite for understanding customers’ behaviors and emotions, and for delivering products and services that lead to brand loyalty.
For instance, a company developing a new home improvement product talked to 35 participants as part of their research to find out what was bothering them in their yards.
Each participant gave a video tour of their yards on their phones, and stated what they liked and didn’t like about particular products. As a result, the research team was able to learn about what consumers thought of their products while observing them under operation in peoples’ yards.
Customer support is an opportunity to build relationships.
Rather than wait for customers to reach out, a business should find out ways to truly listen to the problems and needs of customers.
Social media, online forums, and feedback from sales teams can be used to gather customer feedback.
Customers can be emailed surveys that seek feedback on their biggest concerns. Learning more about the audience from past and current buyers will help to further define marketing strategies for the future.
Attention should also be paid to what customers are saying on competitors’ social media channels.
While developing messaging and content, it is important to make it authentic. Authenticity can be built through consistency. It is also important not to get defensive when customers give bad reviews or send angry emails.
Responding with grace and a willingness to go out of the way to help people will transform an upset customer into a loyal one.
For instance, in 2017, several Delta Airlines flights from Atlanta were canceled due to bad weather. In order to ease tensions, the Delta crew threw a pizza party for stranded customers.
Empathy involves recognizing differences in the audience.
Even if customers fall into the same age bracket, they may all be different.
They might not have homogenous problems or desires.
Therefore it is important to make note of separate concerns, and whenever possible, to give a tailored solution to each.
For instance, during the pandemic, Lululemon knew that there would be store closings.
When they closed their stores, they reached out to their customer list to encourage online shopping.