Empathy Over Manipulation

We all want more leads, and so marketing seems like where we should put our time. But marketing should be the byproduct of deep customer knowledge. I argue that this knowledge comes from having empathy for our customers. When we focus on marketing without first having a true understanding of our customer’s needs, it can become manipulation.

From Hooked by Nir Eyal

This graph is helpful from me as I think about how to better serve my customers.

As we look at the vertical axis, we want to be on the right side of the matrix. As much as possible, we want to “eat our own dog food”. This is what creates empathy and connection with our customer.

Further, we want to be in the top half of the matrix in solving real problems for our customers. Solving real problems with empathy is what puts us in the quadrant of the facilitator. This is where we are leading and guiding our customers to help them get where they want to go.

Think about how you can be a growth facilitator for your target customer. I believe this is harder to do right than marketing. Once you have a deep knowledge of who your customer is and what transformation they need, the marketing comes from a place of authenticity. Most of us can detect when sales and marketing come from a place that lacks this empathy. It feels forced and manipulative.

I’m not saying marketing is easy. It takes effort. Consistent hard work over time. But the best marketing will come from this place of facilitation. When you came from the perspective of a facilitator, you will naturally have a higher conversion rate because your values and empathy will show through to your potential customers. The by-product is that your sales and marketing becomes more profitable because of higher conversion rates.

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