Complex Made Simple

Data analytics and empathy are equally vital in marketing techniques

RAPP, an agency specializing in data fueled creativity and part of the Omnicom network, has reiterated that in today’s world of seemingly endless “big data” analytics, the empathy of listening to consumers’ needs via vastly smaller data sets, play a pivotal role in effective communication.

Technology and data analytics should be seen as enhancements of marketing techniques, rather than as replacements. Taking an empathetic view of consumers’ needs and communicating with them in a way that proves they are recognized as individuals is equally, if not more, important in creating effective customer engagement. It’s not just about value; it’s about values, the company stated.

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In a recent interview, RAPP reinforced that if an organization stands for something that people can relate to and can engage with emotionally, people will support the brand more passionately and are much more likely to act, follow or buy.

“The role of incorporating empathy is based on a simple global reality. If we are to build brands that people love in the future we need to humanize our organizations. When a basic human understanding exists between a brand and an individual, people are able to authentically connect and establish a valued mutual trust,” stated Mimi Nicklin, Managing Director Middle East & Africa.

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Elaborating on this, her colleague in the USA, John Wells, President of RAPP Los Angeles and Dallas, specified the example of beauty brand Sephora, which has long committed to going beyond turning a profit through the sale of cosmetics and other beauty products. “The company is on a mission to make beauty universal and inclusive of all people, regardless of identity, by inspiring confidence and fostering fearlessness in its customers,” he said. “This is because the brand understands that people facing major life transitions will act more boldly if they look and feel their best. Sephora has created a dynamic program that utilizes not just data, but also emotion to connect with individuals and support their personal definitions of beauty. In my eyes, that’s the secret to successful and lasting marketing: empathizing, or tapping into emotions via real understanding,” Wells added.

Nicklin added to this stating that “Transactional, behavioral, demographic, and other types of “big” data all play a hand in shaping brands views’ of their consumers, however in today’s cluttered reality we need to remember that all data is determined by a base human need, want, hope, or desire, which contain nuances not always seen in a “big data” set on a screen”. To take a more human, empathetic view of what this data means and how to act on it we need real people to analyse and interpret the data. Data analytics can’t always be done by an algorithm.”

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Not every product or service is a good fit for every person, but if an organization clearly stands for something and vocalizes that purpose, suddenly that brand becomes human, the company reiterated. RAPP’s belief is that we simply “can’t be all things to all people” and having the confidence to truly define the emotional role of your brand in your customer’s life, beyond its transactional value, is the key to driving growth with a unique proposition in the market.

“It’s critical to provide information beyond discounts, functional benefits and product features.” summed up Nicklin. “You need to establish a connection one level deeper and understand why a customer is in the market for your product or service. What emotions drive people when they’re shopping for their first car or for a new computer or their next holiday? Uncover the data sets that help you work this out and then talk to them, personally, about that reality. If you can make that connection, you can make the sale.”