The Value in Building an Emotional Connection with Your Customer
By Abby Schachter
Empathetic marketing is the latest marketing method and perhaps our favorite approach so far because it encourages thoughtfulness and quality over quantity. This practice encourages companies to tell a more personal, meaningful story which ultimately builds brand trust.
Data, analytics, and A/B testing suggest emotions are a driving force when creating, building, and sustaining brand trust. Personalization is no longer enough, we need empathy to deepen and sustain customer relationships because a highly satisfied customer isn’t necessarily a returning customer. Business and trust go hand in hand.
As Sitecore’s Product Marketing Director, Jill Grozalsky says, “In order to make a connection with an end user and build a level of trust, brands need to deliver empathy.”
The marketer and user journey
In a strange way, empathetic marketing isn’t new. Leveraging emotions as a sales tactic has always been an element to sales success. What has changed is the way companies go about assessing and understanding their market. We’re seeing an insurgence of transparency and a new level of honesty. Value is in demand and it’s quickly becoming a 2021 trend.
If we look at the marketer’s journey, we see how the aggressive and bold advertising campaigns from the 30s, 40s, and 50s have negatively influenced marketing all the way into the 90s, until the internet suddenly shifts us into new millennial territory.
When ad space melted into cyber space, we saw an influx of new predatory marketing. Who can forget those very annoying:
- pop up ads
- false contest wins banners
- virus warnings
- bogus security system updates
It was around this time, that innovators realized that chaos online was distracting consumers and making transactions extremely difficult. The solution was the user journey; a bit more hand holding because consumers needed guidance to make that purchase.
How technology has changed marketing
Technology both simplified and complicated the way the market delivers services and products. In some ways tech has allowed businesses to reinvent and modernize the marketing model to drive success, but that only applies to companies with the right tools and implementors at their disposal.
For most businesses, the abundance of options and a distrust for AI has made choosing a tech platform nearly impossible. Without the right platform, clients do not feel secure using your site and will search for the same services/product elsewhere, even if you offer an outstanding deliverable. Which is why innovation is key, and Machine Learning a step toward success.
Virtual reality (VR) has become a new tool for businesses looking to make a greater impact on their audience and it’s something we’re going to see more and more brands doing. Why? Because it allows the viewer to see through the eyes of someone else and evokes emotion and understanding by putting a face and name to a statistic.
For instance, while people are familiar with autism, very few understand it on a personal level. The National Autistic Society knew this and wanted people to better understand the effects of autism. They did so by creating a VR driven video campaign.
In this experience, you’re made to see through someone else’s eyes and walk in their shoes. It’s in this moment that your emotions are being used to fully understand a message.
Up until recently, there was consistent pressure on consumers to buy commodities as a way to validate their self-worth. This created an extremely materialistic disposable and negative outlook.
There’s a reason why the average diner, dive bar, or lunch spot are so successful. It’s not about the food or the affordable pricing; these places are a dime a dozen. It’s the comradery of being a regular, the service, the personalized greeting, the overall social aspect. A regular not only feels welcomed, they feel appreciated and special. It is moments like these that create experiences. Queue the Cheers theme song.
This may come as a surprise, but personalized emails and campaigns are not enough to sustain and grow an existing customer base. People want a more emotional approach, they not only want you knowing who they are and to appreciate them as a client, they want to know you and your intentions.
Empathy as a marketing tool creates a content strategy that resonates with consumer needs on a much more personal level and it can really strengthen those customer relationships. This is beneficial to everyone involved, you’re building brand trust, using transparency as a tool, and delivering your services to an appreciative and loyal audience. Everyone wins.
However, we know getting started is the toughest part, so here’s a word of advice from an expert
There will always be growing pains, but starting small will allow teams to determine what works for them and their organization, as well as ensuring team members are trained up on how to use and maximize the power of AI and personalization.Jill Grozalsky, Product Marketing Director for Sitecore
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