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Empathy: The Key to Relationship Marketing

by: bgramer (@IBMforMarketing)
29 August 2007

Communicating with prospects and customers was much easier in the past because the number of companies and media channels trying to get their attention was much smaller.  These days people are bombarded with more than 3,000 daily impressions from companies trying to get their attention or get them to take action. Getting the recipients' attention has become more difficult for marketers as people have become experts at tuning out and turning off the communication blitz. As a result, marketers have had to become savvier at using different and new media to get their messages across. 

Email, Websites, SEM, SMS and RSS are among the new channels being used, in addition to traditional channels such as direct mail, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and others. There is no doubt that embracing new communication mediums or channels and taking a multi-channel approach to your communications can and should help response rates, but I believe changing your communication tone and style can help just as much.

I looked at a random assortment of communications I saw/heard this morning, which included the more traditional direct mail, billboards and radio, and on the non-traditional side, email.  I consciously read 20 communications and was surprised by what I saw.  Eighty percent led with a direct or indirect solicitation instead of first establishing a rapport by attempting to empathize with the pain or problem I have.  In today’s overly saturated world of communications, people have become experts at tuning in and turning off advertisers. We as marketers need to change the way we communicate and figure out how to empathize with people so they want to listen to our message.  Let me give you an example:

Are you a marketer? Try our revolutionary software for FREE and you will INCREASE your company REVENUES and REDUCE your EXPENSES. 

The company then goes on to explain what their product does and why it’s important.  Instead that company should consider leading with something like this:

Five Ways to Show Your Boss What You're Worth: Increasingly, marketers and marketing departments are being heavily scrutinized, asked to show their value by measuring their marketing activities and ROI.  Challenges include figuring out the correct measurement metrics and the appropriate tools to help measure marketing efforts more efficiently.

By attending XYZ’s webinar, you will have access to information that can help you easily figure out how to report your value as a marketer to your organization.

Sign up today, and make your next meeting with the executives fact-filled and inspiring.

If marketers want their messages to be heard in today’s overly saturated world of communications, we need to get people to tune us in, not tune us out. One way we can do that is by empathizing with them, not just trying to persuade them to buy whatever product or service we are offering.  We need to be more patient as marketers, and instead of going after quick and irregular sales/decisions, let the relationship drive the decision.  We all know relationships require a lot of empathetic nurturing, which takes effort, but in the long run good relationships are worth it.




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