Whether you’re a big gun in a massive marketing conglomeration or a small business owner managing your own advertising campaigns and communicating with your audience in person (online), empathy is essential. How else will you connect with your consumer/audience (and sell products or build brand presence)?
And yet research shows that people in the marketing industry have no special aptitude for understanding others. A new study by media owner Reach's sales arm Reach Solutions, explored how well the marketing and advertising industry understand the mainstream by assessing empathy levels and moral frameworks. Marketers were shown to have generally low levels of empathy with only 30 per cent of people working in the industry displaying high levels of perspective-taking and affective empathy.
The study also showed that advertising and marketing people are significantly less fair than the mainstream and are also more politically motivated in their decision making.
Reach Solutions has rolled out a report entitled “The Empathy Delusion”, which talks about an the impact of an industry with different intuitive moral foundations to the mainstream – more focused on the welfare/rights of individuals and significantly less on the binding ethics of community – and how this can raise significant unconscious barriers to understanding and interacting with target audiences. In marketing practice, this can lead to an over-emphasis on personalisation and hyper-targeting. CLICK HERE to download the report.
This info is a pretty hardcore reminder to keep our marketing selves in check! We need to remember not to ‘market to ourselves’ but market to our audience, the success of which will only be achieved through empathetic understanding of community.