The Rise of Video

Why empathy is the key to good marketing

As marketers, empathy is one of the best tools we have - and yet it can easy to overlook.


Before creative ideas are ever implemented, we have to create understanding by sincerely wanting to know.


According to Harvard Business Review, sincere curiosity about what we are selling is not only important, it’s imperative to good marketing (especially when it comes to content.)


“Without a sincere curiosity about and empathy for the people we hope to reach, we stand no chance of developing a compelling conversation with them. “  -Ali Demos, Oglivy & Mather


The questions reach deeper than “who wants this product” or even “what motivates them to buy it?”


If we don’t dig deeper, we just might miss the point.


We might say a girl’s motive for buying the latest mascara is because she wants to look beautiful and keep up with the most recent trend in her age group.


Sure, but is that really why? If we look deeper, we learn that what she’s really seeking is social acceptance and the ability love herself.


That opens up quite a different conversation.


Sometimes it isn’t quite as emotionalized as that, but more about social nuances that make a huge difference in purchasing decisions.


In the same HBR article, Demos talks about the gender gap in “Green” values. After quite a bit of research, it became clear that it wasn’t simply that the male demographic doesn’t care about green products as much as women. Quite the contrary. The core issue was the way green is communicated - on purse-like tote bags - that seemed distinctly alienating to the male population.


In the end it wasn’t the concept of “green” at all. It was the suspicious-looking Murse.


Fortunately for us - as Demos points out -  it’s “…much more fun…to discover truths (sincerely) than to invent them (however cunningly). “


Discovering truths starts with openness - forget those presuppositions - and yes, a healthy dose of empathy, understanding, and sincere curiosity.