John R. Kowalski Integrative Marketing Fusion

Empathy – Your Secret (Marketing) Weapon

The problem with today’s marketing is that it very rarely touches the recipient where it counts – the heart. Too many marketing programs are features/benefits focused without really showing how a product or service truly impacts someone or an organization.

As marketing continues to be more and more data-driven, marketing professionals need to find ways to insert their own personal experiences into marketing programs.

If you’re struggling with how to do this, empathy might be the secret weapon marketing needs to improve performance.

Empathy is defined as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner” by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

The marketing profession demands that marketing professionals’ step into consumer’s lives. We must be able to imagine ourselves in the shoes of our audience. Empathy is not sympathy, but rather it’s being able to see through others’ eyes.

This key skill allows us to craft emotionally compelling messages that make our audience feel like they matter, and we really understand them and their circumstances.

Marketing with empathy is an effective way of developing bonds between us and our audience. Research shows that marketing tactics such as personalization, storytelling, self-relevant advertising, less emphasis on features/benefits, and social responsibility can also help marketers improve performance when they include an emotional trigger in promotional content.

Emotional triggers show consumers how a product or service will create value.

What do you think? Have empathy marketing tactics worked for your organization? Leave a comment below.

Staying in Your Own Lane, and Dealing with Those Who Don’t

One incident that happened this week I’d like to address is that I am leading a product launch from a marketing communications standpoint. The plan is outlined with all of the necessary marketing elements including due dates in accordance to the training of internal sales and distribution and the public launch. This is a launch, like a lot of products, are delayed due to component shortages and delays. No problem, we are methodically moving forward with what we can for now. At this point the public launch is in March 2022. Plenty of time.

Cartoon flame

So last week a member of senior leadership decided to circumvent my process by going directly to the web team for some Adword ads leading to a specific landing page for a download. Pretty standard stuff, but the process in which it was engaged was out of line. If this senior leadership person had a question, why would they not come directly to me, the leader of the launch? Instead, by engaging the web team directly and “lighting a fire” caused unnecessary stress, anxiety and a shift in their priorities. I immediately reached out to them and defused the situation by providing them the actual timeline for getting things done as well as they final content they would need to complete their tasks.

That was some background on the situation that prompted this post.

Stay in Your Lane, and Dealing with Others Who Don’t

Yellow road sign that reads "Stay in your lane"

Something I stress is the importance of staying in your lane. Boundaries are there for a reason and more than likely, if you swerve into someone else’s lane, you’re going wind up causing an accident or getting into one out of their own poor judgement. With my Integrative Marketing Fusion model and process, I always value input and engage empowerment throughout every member of the team. I set the stage and guide the work but always gather input from others. Not only do they feel valued for their expertise, but they are given a safe environment to voice their opinions and recommendations. This is extremely important, and when this process is circumvented it not only weakens the project, but it weakens the team and organization.

In this case, I had to step in and explain the process of process. A bit of a project “reset.” Processes are set for a reason.

The other takeaway is how to deal with others who don’t follow the process. I hate to call this out in public, but I have seen an uptick recently in senior-level people who are impatient and not willing to follow the process or show patience. Or perhaps they’re just bored or have read the latest article on XYZ and need to ‘get things done now.’ That’s just something that I have had to learn over time about dealing with people higher up on the org chart. I think of it as process engineering, where process engineering has to process process.

Process is important for getting work done efficiently with quality end results. So set or know the process and know your lane! That’s all for now… back to the Integrative Marketing Fusion lab… the next topic coming soon.