Promises of monetary savings used to work. Sale! BOGO! Clearance! Dollar-busting buzzwords and flashy ads captured our attention, converting us from onlookers to consumers.
A spot like “Hey, Doll!” from Kroger was the norm with language focused on low prices, not consumers’ needs and their feelings toward a product.
Today though, in the crowded always-on digital landscape, it takes more to stand out.
Defining audiences and building authentic relationships now serve as cornerstones of thriving content marketing strategies. We flock to brands who understand us as individuals and care about our specific needs and moral values, taking the consumer-brand relationship far beyond finding the cheapest deals.
“Nearly all top-performing B2B content marketers – 90% – put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales/promotional message,” according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ ninth annual B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, sponsored by Conductor.
The report goes on to verify that content marketers are indeed building trust and credibility while creating bonds with the audiences they nurture. Each digital asset has the chance to generate more attentive customers, deepening the level of trust gained.
Now, let’s go one step further and put ourselves in our audience’s shoes so we can authentically understand their needs. We achieve this by being empathetic to their concerns, listening and taking action on the data collected. But, what does this mean?
Empathy as a Content Marketing Strategy
Simply put, empathy is the ability to experience the feelings of others, according to the Association for Psychological Science (APS). When we observe someone’s emotions, our brain has the capability to trigger feelings and physical sensations as if we were in their situation. This mirroring effect allows us to better understand, and even harness, the mental state of the other person, according to APS.
When we apply this knowledge to content marketing initiatives, we can better understand and respond to our audience — further strengthening those bonds. You’ve likely seen this approach in action when reading a first-person POV blog post where the author shares an experience the audience can relate to on a personal level. Or, you’ve watched captivating movie-like marketing videos that make you reflect on your own take on the subject matter.
Slashed Ticket Prices Aren’t Enough
JetBlue understands our love-hate relationship with travel. When sunny skies and pristine beaches await us, it’s easy to forget about the gum-smacking, overtalkative, line-cutting person who always gets seated next to us. But, what if that annoying traveler is — gasp — us?
The airline created a series of empathy-based flight etiquette videos to gently remind customers to be respectful of other passengers and the company’s flight processes.
As you watch, you may feel a little sheepish as you remember the last time you slipped into an earlier boarding group. It’s OK. We’ve all done it and have been annoyed by others doing it.
The win here is for both JetBlue and their future passengers. This little piece of marketing helps them convey the importance of their boarding process while travelers realize they may have been that obnoxious person and should probably knock it off so everyone on the flight can have an enjoyable experience.
How are You Speaking With Your Audience?
As you prepare for the new year ahead, it’s worth evaluating your approach to content marketing. Is empathy part of your content strategy? Are you paying attention to your audiences’ emotions?
As you consider this option, start by:
- Identifying your target audience and their habits, pain points and values
- Using online signals, analytics and data to fuel messaging that speaks to feelings
- Creating content that’s relatable among our shared human experiences
If your brand needs help identifying your target audience, developing an empathetic strategy and creating content that resonates, we can help. Volume Nine is a full-service digital marketing agency that would love to become your trusted content marketing partner in 2019. Contact us today!