Empathy Still Matters in Marketing.

6 March 2024
Read time: 3 mins

Written by:
Beth Wakefield.

In the temperamental world of marketing, amidst all the flashy CGI eyelashes on TFL trains tactics and targeted ad campaigns that seem too good to be true, there's a hidden tool that drives the fundamentals of the sector from the sidelines: empathy.

It's the rare gem in marketing that bridges the gap between brands and people, creating connections that resonate authentically. In today's commercial buzz, terms like ‘connection’ and ‘relatability’ dominate conversations. Yet, empathetic messaging often takes a back seat, dismissed as unimportant in the face of data-driven approaches that build the foundations of contemporary marketing.

Any brand can bombard you with meticulously personalised ads, but not all can convey a genuine message or embed empathy into their strategy. Don't get me wrong; data is powerful. It offers insights into trends and preferences that shape our daily lives. But it always falls short when it comes to capturing the intricacies of human emotion - the subconscious driving force behind consumer choices. However, somewhere along the way, the marketing sector seems to have forgotten about empathy amidst the complexities of data platforms, audience tracking and ‘innovative’ marketing strategies.

Then came COVID-19, the great disruptor that prompted the final push the marketing world needed toward empathy. Suddenly, it wasn't just about selling; it was about understanding a collective and tumultuous experience. When data couldn’t build an easy solution for an isolated world, empathy became the guiding light for brands navigating through turbulent times. This time it wasn't about manipulation; it was about genuine connection. It meant stepping into the audience's shoes, understanding their fears and aspirations, and crafting messages that truly resonated in such an unprecedented period. Suddenly empathy built the foundation of marketing and data was merely a supplement.

However, as the pandemic subsided, empathy seemed to take a back seat once again, replaced by a relentless pursuit of data-driven strategies and organisations scrambling to regain their footing. Yet, nothing has changed - empathy is still the bedrock of meaningful marketing but has since been shifted to the bottom of the marketing food chain (again).

So, if you feel your marketing approach has lost its empathetic touch, here are some suggestions on how to rethink your approach:

Empathy isn't just a buzzword in marketing; it's the secret ingredient that separates extraordinary brands from the ordinary. So, before you let your next marketing campaign be swayed purely by data, remember this: Empathy fosters connection, connection breeds trust, and trust is what turns a hesitant lead into a devoted client.


Written by:
Beth Wakefield.

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