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Infusing Empathy into Demand Generation

A short while back, Adobe sponsored a webinar on the importance of infusing empathy into demand generation marketing. It was, in a word, enlightening.

Design, and in its entirety, marketing, should always be positioned in a problem/solution mindset. Your audience, while not solipsistic, is still ever consumed with solving their own immediate problems, and by extension, the problems their company faces.

As marketers, we understand this mindset, and it shows in the websites we design, the banners launched, and the collateral developed. But when it comes to demand gen, the prerogative shifts and the focus on driving leads can muddy the message of what we’re truly trying to achieve: being the right answer at the right time to the customer’s problem.

In actuality, every single touchpoint in a demand generation campaign should answer the following questions: what’s my target audience’s immediate problem, how are they feeling during this moment of their journey, and how is this touchpoint addressing and relieving their issue?

Via Brian Carroll, Founder & CEO | markempa


Only through this lens can the design and messaging of your nurture emails, banners, landing pages, and paid social advertising evolve into a cohesive and stronger journey that motivates the users to convert.


Persona Development

Of course, to understand your audience’s mindset, you must first understand your audience. By building out comprehensive personas, you can understand the anxieties that keep your audience up at night, the digital spaces they are occupying, and the valuable keywords they are searching on.


From there, you can start outlining your target audience’s unique emotional and psychological drivers to purchase. When combined with empathy, you get a powerful messaging structure that’s focused on being helpful to the audience, rather than just trying to sell them on your “thing,” whether that’s SAAS, a widget, or even an e-bike.

You may even want to consider creating an empathy map, typically used in UX design, to better adapt your customers’ perspectives into your thinking when designing and writing copy for your demand gen journey.



Empathy Marketing in Practice

It’s all very well and good to say you’re planning on factoring in empathy in your process. But how does this frame of mind translate into real, actionable items?

Well, it starts with how you approach the strategy behind your demand gen journey. Just because a user downloads a white paper does not mean they are ready to sign up for a demo of your solution. Instead, you must look at every piece of content in your campaign and ask yourself what immediate problem your audience is trying to solve and what concerns they may have when thinking about taking the next step. As the webinar suggests, you must be an empathy sherpa to guide them through this journey.

Using the email example from the webinar, this correspondence was written in a sales-first driven narrative, trying to create a sense of urgency and ease to get the user to register for their free software. It’s relevant, but not empathetic.

This second email example instead comes from a place of understanding the audience’s apprehensiveness to register for another tool. It addresses their anxiety and answers it with the intention of relieving their worry.


This humanized approach to marketing not only brings a level of personalization into your marketing efforts, but it’s also more effective in driving leads and conversions, as seen in the email example from the webinar.


Moving Forward with Empathy

Beginning your journey toward infusing empathy into your demand generation programs can feel overwhelming, but it all comes down to process and mindset. Start by evaluating your current campaigns in the perspective of your target audiences. Consider A/B testing small adjustments to your emails and landing pages that align more with how your audience is feeling during different parts of your customer journey. Measure and compare every adjustment. You’ll find leading with empathy to be more effective when trying to connect with your prospects and future customers.


Want to infuse empathy into your own demand gen campaign? Contact Overdrive today to see how we can improve your customer journey to drive leads and improve ROI.

Looking for more information? Follow Overdrive on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up for Adobe’s Demand Gen Friday Forum here.


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