Empathy Is A Marketer’s Most Important TraitBy Sue Duris

Marketers, remember the old acronym that defined a marketer’s job?


Our task was to generate awareness, create interest, build desire, and cause a buyer to take action to purchase a product.

Until recently, getting a prospect’s attention was kind of a crap shoot.

Marketers had to depend on their own guesstimates of what the buyer wanted, purchase analyst reports to get a general idea of the market and competition, or rely on competitive and market intelligence from sales.

Fast forward to today.

Now, we have myriad digital and social tools to help us understand the market, competition, and the buyer.

Social media enables us to reach out to the buyer to engage with them directly. But, with these tools comes responsibility. Corporate leaders expect marketing teams to deliver quality leads.

To do this, marketers have to know the prospect and how to help them on a very intimate level.

Empathy Translates to Trust

Let’s break it down.

For a buyer to purchase from us, they need to trust us. And trust comes from our buyer believing we understand them, get what their pains and needs are, and can help them. Having this understanding comes from empathy.

In fact, all marketing begins and ends with empathy. Empathy is what drives marketing and sales. Empathy is not only important, it is vital to a company’s success. It is a marketer’s most important trait.

Empathy is typically defined as the ability to have a deep emotional understanding of another’s feelings or problems.

However, it’s not enough to understand your buyer. You need to develop an emotional, human, one-to-one connection with the buyer to prove to them you care about them and can help them.

Why is Empathy Important?

Buyers want to engage with people who genuinely care about them, who want to see them succeed and want to help them succeed. The key is to be genuine and real. Otherwise, your communications come off as trite, superficial, and self-serving, and prospects interpret that as someone who only cares about them until they sign on the dotted line.

Would you rather interact with someone who cares about you or someone who cares only about making a buck?

Buyers are incredibly smart these days. They don’t need you to do their research. They are doing the research on their own.

In fact, buyers have done more than 75 percent of their research before contacting sales.

Marketers have an incredible opportunity.

Why not take the research off of a buyer’s plate, build a relationship with them, and help nurture them along their buying journey by giving them the tools to help them make intelligent decisions?

Here’s Where Content Marketing Comes In

These tools usually come in the form of content.

If, after investing time in researching, listening to, and engaging with a prospect, you create content that resonates with them, is engaging, thoughtful, relevant, and helpful, they are going to listen to and engage with you.

To build a relationship, you must continue to nurture the prospect. Only then will they perceive you as credible, someone who understands their pains and needs, and someone who can help them.

When marketers are empathetic, they are able to nurture in a genuine way, connect with the prospect on an emotional level, and build the relationship.

Marketers must make their #1 goal to establish and build genuine one-on-one relationships. Relationships take time to build and evolve. There is no instant gratification. Relationships were meant to be established and evolve over time.

The relationship-building process is not a sprint, journey, or destination. It is a mindset. And it’s all about putting the needs of your prospects and customers above your own.

Lead from your heart and make the goal that of building a genuine one-to-one relationship with your prospect and helping them succeed.

Sue Duris

Sue Duris is the Co-Founder and President of M4 Communications, Inc., a Palo Alto, CA-based marketing strategy and communications firm that helps startups build strong marketing and customer experience infrastructures that enable them to grow. When not at M4, she’s cheering on her favorite Pittsburgh sports teams.

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