One of the hardest things about marketing is to really put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Not how you see that demographic, but how they see themselves. It takes a mix of empathy, imagination, and research to really understand any given audience’s goals, wants, needs, hopes, and wishes. The better you understand your audience, the more they’ll connect with you and support you.

Sometimes that’s more straightforward than others.  Research and analytics can tell you many things about your audience, it just requires the time and knowhow to harvest the information and interpret it. When it comes to the creative side of marketing, however, that’s when you really need to know the customer by heart. What kinds of wording will he or she react well to? What kind of approach will help him or her feel at ease? What information does the customer really want to know? What design, colors, and imagery will help guide them through that information in an easy, intuitive way? What do they actually need you to do for them?

For example, a customer who is shopping for a good garden hose isn’t actually all that interested in hoses. They’re picturing a beautiful lawn full of green grace and fresh flowers, or maybe rich, ripe summer tomatoes. They might be wishing it were easier to take care of their current lawn and turn it into that dream space they’re imagining. To market the hose, you need to describe the features with the outcome the customer wants in language he or she will respond to positively.

That’s why it’s so important for both marketers and businesses to take themselves out of the equation. It’s not that your business and your marketing aren’t important, it’s simply that the customer should lead the way. When describing business services, good marketers start with “why does the target customer care?” When creating a logo, a good designer doesn’t base decisions on his or her favorite color. When writing copy, I try to write differently than I would for my personal projects, to eliminate my own voice in favor of one that will appeal to your audience.

Effective empathy in marketing is all about putting the customer first. That’s why at Riverworks, we put our own customers first, and get to know you. By understanding you, we can better understand your own clients, and help your business grow. It’s simple: how can we give you what you need to get to know your customers to give them what they need? Let’s start that conversation.

Written by Jackie Errico