The Rise of Empathy-Based Marketing. It’s Needed Now More Than Ever.

Recently, a mom went viral for recording her back-to-school shopping experience at Target. While most parents are vocal about the amount of school supplies needed, this one mother ended up on the opposite end of the spectrum.


Dena Blizzard, instead of complaining about shopping, can be seen walking through the isles celebrating racking the hefty expenses. She declared she would buy her teachers anything they want because it means her kids will be out of the house.


Blizzard’s commentary is hilarious.

“I’ve been noticing lately, when people are doing their back-to-school shopping, everybody’s complaining. And my thing is… Listen. It’s the end of August. I will give you anything to take my kids. I’ll get you a yellow binder or get you a red binder.”


Parents watching probably have one had up in the air yelling, “PREACH!”


While many schools were virtual last year, kids and parents were forced to stay at home together – all day, every day. Juggling work demands with at-home learning all through a screen created a three-ring circus.


While this video is humorous and relatable, we are now faced with another surge in the pandemic outbreak.


Five states broke records for the average number of daily new Covid cases this past weekend as the delta variant strains hospital systems across the country and forces many states to reinstate public health restrictions.


As developments continue to unfold in response to the spread of COVID-19, businesses are left with questions about implications in the workplace. Business owners, executives, and associates are personally challenged with the unknowns of school closures, new mandates, and making the best decisions for their families’ safety.


We live in an unprecedented time, and we need unprecedented kindness. Businesses must grasp this reality and adapt messaging that reflects their customers’ struggles.


In response, eBay recently launched the ‘Up and Running’ campaign.


In this one-minute video, eBay conveyed the challenges we face without specifically mentioning pandemic. The campaign targeted small business owners struggling to maintain their livelihood. Products, features, and benefits were nowhere to be seen. Compassion is the theme.


“I’m up for this.”

“Strangers who became regulars, became friends”

“You’ve come too far”


These phrases hit home for any business owner…


EBay identifies with their audience while demonstrating a genuine interest in helping others. The video compels one to act and learn more.


Understanding differences in the human experience helps to solve problems, build relationships, lead teams, and deliver more value to clients.

Here are four action items brands can take to implement empathy-based marketing today.


1. Step into your audience’s shoes

When you look through the lens of your customer, you see and acknowledge their struggles. Addressing pain points is the first step to provide solutions to meet THEIR needs, not yours.


Campaigns should acknowledge what’s going on in customers’ daily lives. Listen, respond with kindness, and emphasize “we are here for you”.


2. Adapt to the environment

Past messaging to clients should not be replicated today. Marketing messages must be relevant to the pains your clients are currently experiencing.


A key component of empathy-based marketing is capturing present-day life.


3. Educate your customer

Customer education is a strategic function, not limited to an activity in the sales process. When you provide reliable, timely, and helpful information, you go from product pushing to a trusted resource.


Content must be valuable to customers to entice further action. Content revolving around data, insights, or the buyer’s journey helps your audience understand challenges and solutions.


4. Showcase the extraordinary in everyday moments

Your customers are human, each with daily highs and lows, families, and job stress. Empathy-based marketing turns ordinary events into celebrations of life.


Examples might include watching your child walk into school, your favorite song from high school playing on the radio or getting that workout in when you weren’t really feeling it.


These are things that connect consumers to the product.


The pandemic should make empathetic marketing a top priority for businesses. We can’t rely on simple education any longer. Brands must connect with customers on a deeper level by acknowledging needs and helping them to adapt to change.