A word-of-the-day post.

Pray tell, Mike, you’re saying to yourself, what is the word-of-the day?

Empathy.

When the game of marketing gets to be as complicated as it is now, what with consumers rapidly moving their media consumption across multiple channels and devices, the need for creating and coordinating campaigns and engagement has never been more important. We want to use tools and techniques that let us be with the customer or prospect at every stage of a purchase or, if we’re lucky and good, over a longer stretch of time.

We’ve got a passel of research on the power of multichannel campaign management published including the 2015 edition of the Multichannel Campaign Management Magic Quadrant, that can provide insight and recommendations on vendors as well as the market forces that shape multichannel campaign management.

But let’s take a moment to think about an important element of our relationship with customers that sometimes gets lost in our quest to quantify all of our interactions, campaigns and techniques.

Empathy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. (My esteemed colleague, Jake Sorofman, has an elqoquent post on empathy’s role in customer experience.)

As we note in our research, multichannel campaign management platforms and tools are built on ever-growing amounts of data we can collect about customers and prospects. We can track their Web searches to divine intent. We can track their purchases. We can access their opinions, via social media, about the products they like and don’t like. All really important factors in a successful marketing operation.

What we can also find, if we look in right places, are the kinds of signals that can gives us the opportunity to display some empathy.

An example? Looking at the data for a given user e.g. how they use their smartphone or tablet to engage with you could indicate that the user tends to check your website or your mobile app, or click on links in your e-mail late on Friday night or Saturday morning. Sometimes, they show up later in your store to purchase, sometimes they buy from you online.  But what this tells us is this person tends to browse and shop — those bottom-of-the-funnel activities — in fairly regular patterns.

What would applying a bit of empathy tell us? Don’t waste time sending breathless “we have a 20% off sale” on a Tuesday. It’s probably going to just get deleted. If you’re lucky.

So, by all means, develop that multichannel campaign management strategy and gather all the data about customers and prospects. Look for event-triggers that push that customer or prospect along to the next stage in the purchase path.

But look not just for another opportunity to leverage that user’s opt-in to toss another push notification to their smartphone.  Use a bit of empathy.  Remember, empathy isn’t about “being nice” or “understanding it’s a busy and complex world” (or insert  here whatever empty catchphrase you’ve heard that people use to try and connote empathy).

It’s about understanding your customer or prospect.

1 Comment
  1. 30 April 2015 at 5:51 pm
    Scott Woodruff says:

    I definitely agree. I think the most important aspect of “marketing” is understanding what your customer wants. If you know what they want then it is a lot easier for you to give it to them. Often times, companies throw all sorts of promotions at their clients and hope that one sticks. This is not an effective use of their time and can be rather annoying to the customer. The best thing to do is to use all that data/information you talked about to identify what they really want and then you make it easy for them to get it. Ultimately, its a win win situation, both the customer and the company get what they want.

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