Yes I am a marketer, so my view is obviously biased. Nevertheless, I have decided to shout from the roof tops (well actually just from my keyboard) how some of the best kind of people are marketers.
Successful marketing involves connecting people to brands. Marketing is not about trying to trick people into something. That is not a strategy for long term loyalty.
In-order to win a place in people’s hearts and minds, we need to first understand them. You do not have to be the target audience to understand how to successfully communicate with them. As a marketing consultant it would be impossible for me to be the desired target audience for all the organisations I work with. To understand people, you need to have empathy.
Empathy means you have the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes (or barefeet if you are from NZ). And if you are able to do this, to see the world through their eyes, to listen through their ears, and to feel with their heart, you have one of the fundamental skills needed to be a marketer.
And yes, empathy is a skill. It is something we can develop through practice by: observing people; having conversations and truly listening; reflecting on why you hold the opinions you hold, and whether they are formed through prejudice or privilege, or lack of knowledge; challenging stereotypes; learning about new cultures; and embracing diversity.
What the world needs is people who practice empathy. Lack of empathy leads to wars, people hurting others, judging others, not caring, inequality, ignorance, and turning the other cheek rather than acting.
Empathy is different to sympathy. Empathy puts you in the shoes of another and you feel what they feel. If they hurt, you hurt. Empathy is more engaged and leads to understanding.
When you truly take the time to understand people, communicating with them becomes easier. You consider things from their point of view (what their needs are, what is important to them, what key messages will resonate, where you can reach them, what considerations are likely to influence purchasing decisions). Some of the best marketing solutions, or greatest ideas, products, and innovations come from considering things from your audiences point of view. When you’re empathetic, you understand that it’s about them, not about you, and when you understand this – you can really deliver value and meet people’s needs.
So this is my tribute to empathetic marketers who, by being great at their jobs are also making the world a better place!