Digital Agency

Promote and deepen engagement by means of empathy in B2B advertising and marketing

Empathy is more than a catchphrase. It is not a box to check or an additional degree for content. If B2B marketers want to successfully involve the human audience and free themselves from the flood of irrelevant messages that revolve around today's customers, empathy must be the focus of all strategic initiatives from start to finish.

What does empathy mean in B2B marketing?

Empathy is simply defined as the ability to understand and share someone else's feelings. However, I am not sure whether the characterization is completely fair in the context of modern marketing.

I like the way Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, described empathy in the better guide to creative teamwork we put together for our customers on monday.com:

“Empathy is crucial. It is much more than just understanding someone else's challenges. Part of it is that you have to give up being a control freak. As managers, we should really look at the big picture and ask ourselves if this is necessary. Or is it just politics or someone trying to make it look like it needs to be done because it's the way they prefer? "

Shama spoke from the perspective of a manager who tried to get on the same side as his team, but this also applies to marketing efforts. The crucial first step in developing empathy is to separate from our own deeply rooted perceptions and assumptions. Only then can we really understand and support the audience we want to reach.

Too often empathy in marketing is rather narrow and self-centered (which contradicts the actual concept). We often only try to understand the challenges and weaknesses that spark interest in what we sell. A look beyond this framework is necessary to build strong relationships based on trust, especially now.

“What you create, market and ultimately sell is only part of the life of your customer as a person on earth. A very small piece, ”said Mary Beech, principal at MRB Brand Consulting and former CMO of Kate Spade, in an AMA article on empathy in marketing. "And if we don't think about their entire journey, including their emotional, mental, social, and physical needs – and the challenges and joys they face – we can't do our job well."

As Brian Solis recently wrote to Forbes, the need for empathetic customer experiences in the age of COVID-19 disorder is greater than ever. People have so much to do in their lives and face so many unprecedented difficulties that a nearsighted brand-centric focus is all the more untenable. "Traditional marketing will no longer have the same effect in the future," he argues. "If anything, this will negatively impact customer relationships rather than improve them."

I agree. So, let's find a better way.

Dealing with true empathy in the new era of marketing

Imagine it would be possible to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with each of your customers and potential customers. They get first-hand insight into their worldviews, their challenges, their hopes and dreams.

Unfortunately this is not possible. You have neither time nor your customers. (Although I recommend getting into the habit of having direct, open conversations with them if possible.) To make empathy scalable, marketers need to use all the tools at their disposal. This largely requires the use of data to connect the dots.

"It’s important for marketers to have a 360-degree view and real-time understanding of a customer’s entire journey, from discovery to engagement to engagement and loyalty to advocacy," Solis added Forbes.

Here are some suggestions to get such a view:

Use empathy mapping. This practice, which is explained in a helpful introduction by the Nielsen Norman Group, includes the creation of a visualization of attitudes and behaviors as a decision aid. Empathy mapping has its origins in the world of UX design. However, given the intersection of user experience and customer experience, it becomes a powerful tool for marketers.

 Empathy card "width =" 570 "height =" 602 "/> </p>
<p style= (Source: Nielsen Norman Group)

Coordinate and integrate your organizational efforts. Every customer-oriented function in a company – marketing, sales, customer service – sees the customer from a different perspective. Look for ways to bring all of these perspectives together into a central, holistic view. Per Solis: “Cross-functional cooperation is a mandate. As such, integration becomes the new standard and quickly becomes a table if every company hurries in this direction. "

Use meaningful influencer relationships. Influencers can play a key role in empathetic marketing because they have relationships and perspectives that go beyond our brand ecosystems. If they match your audience, influencers can bring unique insights and connect at deeper levels. To achieve this, it is important to switch influencer engagements from mechanical to sensible.

Incidentally, Mr. Solis recently partnered with TopRank Marketing for the first report on the status of B2B influencer marketing, in which our friend Ann Handley sums up the effects quite well: "You could consider yourself a good parent or as World class means marketers or empathetic friends … but all of these things would have more weight on your child, customer or best friend. So it is with the integration of influencer content: it is a direct way to build trust and customer trust. "

Research and deal with topics that are important for your customers outside of their work. Given the connotations of B2B, it's too easy to limit our customer research to what they do professionally. But these are people with a life outside of work. To encourage strong engagement, marketers should look for cross-sections between the purpose and values ​​of their brand and what is important to their customers.

A good example of this can be found in the IBM THINK blog, which “is dedicated to the chronization of the fast-moving world of cognitive computing” and covers many important social issues. (Recent focuses include a contribution to gender pronouns and a corporate environmental report.)

Examples of sensitive B2B marketing

Who does it right and paves the way for a more sensitive approach to engaging the B2B audience? Here are some examples:

Seeing human faces brings an immediately assignable element into every B2B campaign. That's why Microsoft's Microsite Story Labs, which frames some of the company's initiatives and guiding principles in relation to real people and their stories, is so effective.

 Microsoft Story Labs "width =" 600 "height =" 372 "/> </p>
<h2> Let empathy guide your B2B marketing strategy </h2>
<p> To walk in someone else's shoes, you must first loosen and remove your own. To make empathy a strategic pillar, marketers need to step back, free themselves from their deeply rooted perceptions and assumptions, and fully focus on the people they serve. </p>
<p> Only then can we create the kind of relevant and personalized experiences that foster deep and long-lasting brand engagement. </p>
<p> For more tips to help your business-oriented content take notes with real empathy, see Josh Nite's blog post on 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Marketing. </p>
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If B2B marketers want to successfully involve the human audience and free themselves from the flood of irrelevant messages that revolve around today's customers, empathy must be the focus of all strategic initiatives from start to finish. \n What does empathy mean in B2B marketing? \n Empathy is simply defined as the ability to understand and share someone else's feelings. However, I am not sure whether the characterization is completely fair in the context of modern marketing. \n I like the way Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, described empathy in the better guide to creative teamwork we put together for our customers on monday.com: \n \u201cEmpathy is crucial. It is much more than just understanding someone else's challenges. Part of it is that you have to give up being a control freak. As managers, we should really look at the big picture and ask ourselves if this is necessary. Or is it just politics or someone trying to make it look like it needs to be done because it's the way they prefer? "\n Shama spoke from the perspective of a manager who tried to get on the same side as his team, but this also applies to marketing efforts. The crucial first step in developing empathy is to separate from our own deeply rooted perceptions and assumptions. Only then can we really understand and support the audience we want to reach. \n Too often empathy in marketing is rather narrow and self-centered (which contradicts the actual concept). We often only try to understand the challenges and weaknesses that spark interest in what we sell. A look beyond this framework is necessary to build strong relationships based on trust, especially now. \n \u201cWhat you create, market and ultimately sell is only part of the life of your customer as a person on earth. A very small piece, \u201dsaid Mary Beech, principal at MRB Brand Consulting and former CMO of Kate Spade, in an AMA article on empathy in marketing. "And if we don't think about their entire journey, including their emotional, mental, social, and physical needs - and the challenges and joys they face - we can't do our job well." \n As Brian Solis recently wrote to Forbes, the need for empathetic customer experiences in the age of COVID-19 disorder is greater than ever. People have so much to do in their lives and face so many unprecedented difficulties that a nearsighted brand-centric focus is all the more untenable. "Traditional marketing will no longer have the same effect in the future," he argues. "If anything, this will negatively impact customer relationships rather than improve them." \n I agree. So, let's find a better way. \n Dealing with true empathy in the new era of marketing \n Imagine it would be possible to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with each of your customers and potential customers. They get first-hand insight into their worldviews, their challenges, their hopes and dreams. \n Unfortunately this is not possible. You have neither time nor your customers. (Although I recommend getting into the habit of having direct, open conversations with them if possible.) To make empathy scalable, marketers need to use all the tools at their disposal. This largely requires the use of data to connect the dots. \n "It\u2019s important for marketers to have a 360-degree view and real-time understanding of a customer\u2019s entire journey, from discovery to engagement to engagement and loyalty to advocacy," Solis added Forbes. \n Here are some suggestions to get such a view: \n Use empathy mapping. This practice, which is explained in a helpful introduction by the Nielsen Norman Group, includes the creation of a visualization of attitudes and behaviors as a decision aid. Empathy mapping has its origins in the world of UX design. 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