Basic marketing theory posits a campaign must create an emotional response in the target audience to be successful. The advertising and campaigns we tend to remember indeed are those that made us laugh, cry, or angry. As practical as people try to be when making business decisions, there’s always an emotional component.
That’s why emotional intelligence (EQ) marketing is effective. It’s also why technology will never entirely supplant a marketer’s work. The ability to emotionally resonate in the here and now is something uniquely human.
While we understand our marketing work must impact our audience, in practice, businesses tend to neglect marketing’s emotional component in favor of product features and sales. Even businesses who think they are creating content with the audience in mind may be missing the mark.
Let’s look at what EQ marketing is and how it is applied. Learn why you need to bring EQ marketing back to the forefront of your strategy.
What is EQ Marketing?
Truly emotionally intelligent marketing does more than soliciting an emotional response. It’s more than speaking with a conversational tone or using the catchphrases of the day. Nor is having exceptional customer service enough to say that your business has a high EQ.
EQ marketing is a set of principles that dives deep into the target audience’s needs and builds in lasting connection. Being emotionally intelligent requires you to:
- be honest about your business motivations
- express genuine empathy with your target market
- understand how to bridge between business needs and audience needs
Why you need EQ Marketing
Chances are, you want to be in business a long time. Use EQ marketing to achieve this goal. The principles will help build lasting business relationships vital to your longevity.
Most brands craft goals around increasing services, selling more products and growing the business. These benefit your bottom line, but we know the consumer doesn’t really care about your bottom line. They care about their bottom line–what will they gain from associating with you?
Here’s how applying EQ marketing principles benefit your business:
Being honest about motivations
There is no problem stating you want to be a market leader. But why else are you in business? What was the motivation to launch into your industry? Chances are, you saw a problem and you wanted to fix it.
Say you want to be a market leader in SaaS for project management. Go further and talk about how you saw a need for improved collaboration in project management. You want to simplify communication between vendors so construction is more efficient and projects finish on deadline.
This honesty makes your business more relatable to project managers who also struggle with vendor communication and want to ensure their projects complete on schedule. It implies communication will improve by choosing your SaaS.
Empathy means deeply understanding your existing customers. You create a personal and relevant brand experience through marketing. You talk about problems and discuss industry challenges. You use the jargon that shows you are an insider in the industry. This is vital because consumers expect the brands they work with to know and care about them. One survey had 51% of consumers say their brand relationship starts when they feel the brand understands them and their desires. Further reinforcement of this idea comes from Salesforce, whose research found 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Showing awareness and empathy builds a relationship with the target consumer.
Longevity in business requires building trust and earning referrals. EQ marketing connects the dots from your business needs to your consumer’s needs.
Let’s reuse the SaaS company example. Your desire to improve project management collaboration benefits the consumer because they will spend less time calling and emailing back-and-forth between vendors, know in real-time the status of the various work tasks, and can track all communications in a single place.
Touch on these consumer benefits in marketing strategy. Create an overarching message around how you want to improve project management, and so do your clients. Why not collaborate?
Bring humanity back to marketing
Marketing is increasingly viewed as a technical field. We have a plethora of marketing tools at our disposal, accumulating mounds of data, and the ability to automate redundant tasks.
But all this technology and data isn’t outsourcing a marketer’s work. If anything, the need for personalized connections through marketing is increasing. Research found that to gain 84 percent of customers’ business, you must treat them like a person. That’s why EQ marketing is essential to your strategy.
How to do EQ Marketing
The challenge in effectively creating an EQ-based marketing strategy is in how you go about it. According to Daniel Goleman, being emotionally intelligent as a business requires understanding a few factors.
Have a solid understanding of your brand’s personality and value proposition. Know exactly what people think of the brand.
To execute self-awareness:
- Gain feedback from your audience about your brand through surveys or reading online reviews.
- Engage in social listening.
- Have a clear and documented brand strategy with your value clearly stated.
What is the purpose of your marketing? Write clear goals about how you want people to engage with the company. For example, you want them to download your guide, sign up for the newsletter, or buy a product. This is a critical part of every marketing strategy and campaign.
Show you have your audience’s interests in mind and a genuine understanding of their problems or goals. Do this by respecting your audience’s intelligence, speaking their language, and creating content that aligns with what they need.
Again, social listening improves your brand empathy. By tracking what others have to say about your industry and brand, EQ marketers stay in tune with their audience needs. They adapt their messaging to better connect with their audience.
This speaks to your ability to remove your self-interests from the marketing. Yes, market to promote and sell, but today’s consumer is turned-off by constant and overt sales pitches. People know when they are being hustled or pushed into something. Pull back the sales pitches and balance the messaging.
The best marketers communicate authentically and with a human touch. Content personalization goes a long way here. Build a rapport with customers through social media and other channels. Respond to their comments and posts so they know a real person is monitoring the brand’s social channels. Find ways to create interactive content.
The results of EQ marketing
EQ marketing makes brands more aware of what customers need and what they respond to. By tuning in to the target audience, EQ marketers notice what marketing strategies they respond to and those they ignore. The result is a more targeted program that is even personalized and responsive, winning consumer loyalty and confidence.
Looking at some data, McKinsey researched from Europe in the financial industry looked at key moments for customers and how banks responded. When the banks responded with empathy and awareness to the customer, it led to 85 percent more investing their assets or purchasing more products.
Another study from 2011 in the Journal of Marketing found “that EI [emotional intelligence] is positively related to performance of real estate and insurance agents, even when controlling for the effects of domain-general EI, self-report EI, cognitive ability, and several control variables.”
These studies back up EQ marketing’s power to build the brand and your bottom line over time. Applying the principles generate sustainable growth in your marketing and business.
Digital Time Savers has always believed one-size-doesn’t fit all. EQ Marketing is at the core of what we do as an advertising agency. We create results for your brand using empathy and awareness. Let’s talk about what EQ Marketing can do for your business.
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