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The Importance of Empathy-Based Marketing

empathy-based marketing

At one time, consumers were a captive audience. You sold it, they bought it, as long as it was a prestige brand, a household name, or was promoted by an influencer or by a really cool cartoon animal. Here is the importance of empathy-based marketing.

People have a lot more choices, nowadays, and marketers everywhere are clamoring for their attention.

To stand out, you not only need to have a quality product or service, but you also need to show that you understand your audience—not even stellar content curation and content promotion can save you if your marketing isn’t hyper-targeted.

Enter empathy-based marketing.

What is empathy-based marketing?

Empathy-based marketing is a strategy that calls for you to walk in your customer’s shoes for a bit. Instead of using a hard-sell approach, you consider their experience and think about how your brand can help them get what they want, which could be:

  • More free time
  • More happiness
  • More friends
  • Better health
  • A more attractive appearance
  • A career advantage

Yes, you’re still out to make a profit, but with empathy-based marketing, your strategy is different. You need to connect with your audience on a deeper and more intuitive level by delivering an immense value that they never anticipated. In short, make them feel like you read their mind before going above and beyond.

Define your customer

A lot of businesses use buyer personas to direct their marketing. These personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. Without them, your marketing efforts can be a bit like throwing snowballs in the dark and hoping that you blindly connect with something.

To be effective, your personas need to take customer emotions into account. Identify their wants and pain points, understand how these factors make them feel, and then plan your content accordingly. For example, customers who are constantly rushed for time will want a simplified usage guide while those who are buying to indulge themselves value things that make them feel extra-special, like a free gift with purchase.

Understand your customer

Who are you marketing to? Is it busy parents? Small business owners? People who are passionate about the environment will pay attention. To communicate properly with them, you need to understand what they care about and how your product can give them what they want, whether it be more free time, a healthier body, or a new skill that they can use to climb the corporate ladder.

What motivates them to buy?

A detailed study by commerce experts SMITH identified eight different emotions that influence buying and shopping decisions. For example, it found that some people will only buy products that are ‘cool’ and state-of-the-art to make themselves stand out from the crowd while others are directed by opinions: they need validation from friends, family, and online testimonials before they buy.

So which emotions are guiding your customers when they shop? You can get the answer by:

Many businesses are even investing in artificial intelligence to collect and analyze customer data for info they can use for empathy-based marketing. This article by AI research and advisory company Emerj provides some real-life examples of how businesses like Walmart use business intelligence applications to understand their customers.

Send a message that resonates

Empathetic content shows customers that you understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes. People feel positive about brands that can solve their problem, so send a message, using the right words, that shows how your products address issues that matter to them.

If your company website has a blog (and it should), use it to create a narrative that talks about these issues. For example:

  • If your customers are busy professionals who rarely have enough time in the day to get everything done, post some tips, and share links to productivity tools that don’t compete with your products.
  • Are your customer’s young professionals or entrepreneurs who are just starting out in their careers? Share some ideas for assembling a classy-looking wardrobe on a budget, or maybe some tips for starting your own business.

Bonus points if you use video, especially if you’re marketing to millennials. Research presented by Google shows that when they want to learn something new, this age group is nearly three times more likely to watch a video than read a book. However, the highly visual nature of video makes it a great marketing tool for all customer types.

Empathy-based marketing in action

So, what are some practical examples of empathy-based marketing? Below are two cases of well-known consumer brands taking customer service to the next level.

The Delta pizza party

Few situations are more frustrating than a delayed or canceled flight. Passenger reactions can be so extreme that they’ve been featured on countless reality TV shows.

In April 2017, Delta airlines provided a perfect illustration of brand empathy when it ordered hundreds of pizzas for Atlanta-area customers whose flights had been canceled or delayed due to extreme weather. The pizzas were distributed to passengers stuck on runways and waiting in surrounding airports.

This move was more than simply good customer service. It presented the Delta brand as one that understands and cares about its passengers, especially when they’re in one of the most stressful situations imaginable.

LUSH shows how it’s made

The LUSH beauty brand is all about natural products, so their customers are people who want fresh, homemade cosmetics. To assure its community that they really are getting 100% natural beauty products, LUSH has a video series called ‘How It’s Made.’

Each episode shows real LUSH employees at work, explaining how they make all the soaps, lotions, bath bombs, and other products. Depending on what they’re making, you’ll see mounds of sea salt, fresh citrus fruit, and dried flowers on the counter, confirming to viewers that they’re getting what they pay for.

Conclusion

Although we’ve got millions of years of evolution behind us and are capable of both critical thinking and abstract thought, emotions still guide a lot of our decisions, including what to buy.

To succeed at empathy-based marketing, you want to create a journey map or experience/outcome that your ideal buyer can relate to, and feel good about. When you start by understanding them and then create content that delivers your brand message in an impactful way (go ahead and use a cool cartoon animal if you want!), you’ll stand out and succeed.

Image Credit: unsplashed

The post The Importance of Empathy-Based Marketing appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Automation vs AI – Who Runs the World of Digital Ads?

digital ads

We live in a world where each day new technologies with a mission to make our lives easier comes out. Today people can freely enjoy driverless cars, cleaning robots, while ad managers still have to test advanced AI-based solutions offered by the market. They try to find a tool that will help them with customer segmentation and engagement, targeting, and media-buying decisions. Why everything isn’t working in the way it should in the environment of the digital ad? But, who runs the world of digital ads?

In reality, there are hundreds of interesting studies hidden behind loud and bold headlines asserting us that the industry has never been so close to the goal of adopting human-level AI. According to a survey by Advertiser Perceptions, 50% of advertisers have no plans to use AI in their marketing. 56% do believe AI could negatively affect their brands, diminishing creativity, and products’ differentiation.

It’s interesting how all these opinions can get along with the fact that more than 3/4 of global spending on digital display advertising is automated. Does it mean that all this hype around AI for digital ads is just a bubble or we simply expect too much from this technology today?

Do we expect too much from AI for digital ads?

Let’s be honest here. There are two basic things that are expected from AI: cost-cutting and revenue increase. Otherwise, there’s no reason to invest in its development. In the current economic situation hardly any company will want to invest in AI-platform building just to write another press-release. But what are the AI-based solutions for media-buyers that are available now on the market? Generally, they can be divided into 4 main groups:

  • Ad creation

AI creates ads based on products and a promo strategy. With the help of Natural Language Processing and Natural Generation Technologies AI can write copies and suggest the best visuals.

  • Ad exchange

The best example is an up-to-date Real-Time -Bidding platform. The role of Artificial Intelligence is to regulate the sales processes of advertising in real-time. The bad thing about this is that they most often won’t agree to reveal how their AI actually works. So, it’s hard to adjust and be sure of the process’s transparency.

  • Performance and spend optimization

In this case, AI, most specifically, Machine Learning algorithms track ads performance across platforms and offer recommendations for ad campaign improvements based on the data they have.

  • Advanced targeting

Based on the characteristics of past audiences and campaign performance, AI-based solutions identify trends and advise audiences similar to the best performers.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Now we need to understand, what are the reasons why it doesn’t work.

 

Why AI doesn’t show the expected results

 

artificial intelligence in digital marketing

 

  • Data inaccuracy and insufficiency

The first big thing is the accuracy and the relevancy of the data marketers and ad managers feed to AI. To make the right decision, AI needs loads of data, which SMBs simply might not have. Moreover, not all companies use reliable and secure methods of tracking their ads and users. So, some data can be missed or unreliable. It happens quite often if a business relies on 3-rd party cookies as they can be easily deleted by users or browsers. In this case, Even minor inaccuracies can lead to completely misleading conclusions.

  • Inability to act in a changeable environment

Another thing is that AI performs poorly in situations it hasn’t met before. If you have a narrowly defined task in a predictable and stable environment and a clear set of data, then, go ahead. But if we are talking about a complex and ever-changing digital landscape, chances are high that AI won’t cope with it.

  • The Lack of creativity

The third thing is that AI lacks creativity and ingenuity. So, even in case of a super-advanced AI, it still needs human supervision and oversight. There is still no technology that is able to think outside the box better than a human being.

  • The high cost

The last thing is the current cost of AI-based solutions. This point is more about SMBs, as high prices don’t usually scare big and profitable companies. Even so, they have to deal with another problem: talent hiring. 58% of marketers say that attracting and retaining talent is one of the serious challenges of building AI-based ad platforms in-house.

Automation vs Artificial Intelligence for running digital ads

It seems like AI hasn’t been able to achieve its goal so far. Today’s solutions are still unable to replace or supersede human behavior and intelligence. And it shouldn’t be so surprising. In fact, still, not all companies were able to take advantage of an earlier trend – ad automation. Some may even think that Automation and AI are synonyms, but is it really so?

The main difference between these two is that automation algorithms don’t try to beat human brains and make something extra. They are related to sophisticated, but simple rules and explicit programming which can take a big part of the nitty-gritty on themselves by working with unified sets of real-time data.

According to Business.com, software automation can save up to date 30% of their time. Not only that, but it optimizes your campaigns for higher CTR and lowers CPC. You set rules for the traffic, algorithms perform the needed actions until the goal is reached.

Good news – automation brings much more transparency to your advertising activities and gives a full understanding of what’s going on with your ad campaigns. Bad news – there’s still no such tool that is able to automate all the process through campaign creation to reporting. Human touch is needed, but only for strategic work.

How digital marketers can benefit from Automation?

The world of existing automated features is huge. To decide whether you really need them or not, simply prioritize your daily tasks and determine the most time-consuming ones and decide if their automation can really help you focus on what’s truly important. The longer the task takes to perform, the bigger the benefits from their automation.

Here we’ll try to explain automation processes and features based on today’s advanced ad trackers. RedTrack asked their clients to name 4 most time-consuming processes they would be happy to delegate or automate:

  1. Ad campaign set-up
  2. Creatives testing
  3. Performance monitoring
  4. Budget updates.

There can be a large number of offers from different brands on the market. Let’s take a look at 4 most popular solutions today’s tools that may solve the aforementioned problems effectively: automatically generated scripts, automate Rules, Reports, creatives rotation.

The best digital ads automation practices currently exist on the market:

digital marketing automation

  • Automatically generated scripts

It’s great if you’re a digital marketer with a coding background or at least some basic skills. But, as practice shows, most digital marketers don’t. So, automatically generated scripts can not only save your time but can result in smaller issues or opportunities you may have missed. In fact, if anything goes wrong, you can always contact the support team and ask for professional help ( Hope there will be no need, though). Another modification of automatically generated scripts is ready-made templates.

  • Automated rules

Running digital ads isn’t a quiet and peaceful process. You have to go back and force every five minutes to check if everything is okay in your account. Did you stop the campaign at the right moment? Didn’t you exceed the budget? Does everything you do actually work? Automated Rules take this stressful part of your daily job on themselves. Google Ads were the first to implement them back in 2018, but if you prefer to work with multiple ad networks, then it’s time to look for an ad tracker with automated rules.

  • Reports

Reports are probably the most important element of any ad campaign. With the help of automated algorithms, the main metrics are calculated, the data is distributed in the right columns and you have it organized in the way you really need it to be. If the tool has an open-API, you can build your custom reports in seconds.

  • Creatives management

A/B testing is the key to understanding conversions problems. If some of your creatives are not as efficient as others, advanced ad trackers can change the weights and redistribute traffic to the best performer. So, once the tool has enough data, the leading creative will stay in the rotation, giving others less weight or stopping them at all.

Summing up

While most advertisers still are not satisfied with what AI-based ad tech companies offer to them, they still hope the market offer will go far beyond replacing manual tasks by algorithms.

They want machine learning or AI to handle more complex media-buying decisions. But while the industry is in the trial-and-error period, we can rightfully take advantage of the benefits from automation solutions and hope for the best.

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