Here’s what it means for marketing
Compassionate marketing has never been so focused.
The advertising landscape has changed and the average consumer attention span is divided into thousands of different sources and options, rather than a few frequented TV shows, magazines or radio stations. The virtual elimination of the water cooler moment – when millions of people watch or listen to the same thing – makes it nearly impossible to implement a central advertising campaign.
Instead, in 2021, marketing needs to be targeted. Custom strategies based on algorithms are winning in the digital age. Successful marketing requires appealing to the emotional side of consumers, as the importance of consumer social responsibility has grown exponentially in recent years.
Marketers should focus on the importance of social good, no matter what product or service they are selling. As the company focuses even more on social justice and the environment, the underlying theme in the mind of the modern consumer is compassion. Companies must show that compassion and responsibility are part of their underlying mission. Consumers are too invested to simply take these statements at face value; instead, they will track whether or not companies are meeting their commitment. Here are three ways marketers can bring compassion to the forefront of the brand message and how they can implement this strategy at all levels of the business.
TACKLE A SOCIAL ISSUE
Financial technology institution Experian wants the credit system to be more representative of society and more diverse and inclusive. His business model focuses on credit and credit assessment, and he has devoted himself to address financial disparities in the credit system. With compassion as a central objective, the company tackles a societal problem in an area where it already has expertise.
That’s what consumers want to see in 2021: businesses leveraging their power and assets for the general good of society. It can take many forms, but focusing on fixing a long-standing mistake is especially timely with the attention of social movements today.
For this strategy to work, businesses need two things: a simple message that is easily conveyed, and evidence to back the claim. In this case, the message is to take action to make credit scores more inclusive so that everyone has a better chance of building wealth. The concrete proof of this message is the company’s strategy. Credit reports are essential to maintaining a fair system that helps expand access to credit for all Americans, including underbanked and marginalized communities.
Tackling a social issue in an area related to the company’s mission is the best way to reach customers in a compassionate economy.
MAKE SERVICES ACCESSIBLE TO MORE PEOPLE
Marketers can craft messages of compassion by showing how a business is making its service or product available to a wider range of people. Consumers care about supporting brands that give back in a variety of ways. Companies can offer their services or products for free, or they can give away their profits.
RealNet, a system designed by FIS, used its real-time payment software to help those in need. During the recent spate of COVID-19 cases in India, FIS wanted to donate to help with pandemic relief efforts. The funds needed to get there quickly and the method of transfer had to be cost effective. By working with RealNet, FIS was able to accelerate the delivery of these payments from several days to 24 hours while reducing the cost of these transactions by 90%.
Businesses need to take action to give back to the community as best they can. Marketers can then optimize stories like this so that consumers understand the goals and mission of the business beyond monetary gain.
MAKE ROOM FOR FEEDBACK
The third and final way for businesses to reach consumers with compassionate messages is to allow them to have their say. With this approach, companies can better understand their relationship with the customer and provide direct lines of communication. It is a social good because it gives consumers, and even those affected by the product or service, the opportunity to voice their concerns and complaints.
Instructure, the maker of the online learning management platform Canvas, has released a new study last month on the state of K-12 education and the impact of the pandemic on American schools. Among the results, 81% of educators believe blended learning is here to stay. But equitable access to technology remains a critical issue, and it’s time to radically change the way learning is measured.
Over 50% of students believe they have fallen significantly behind in two unusual school years. Only 29% of teachers and parents think high-stakes testing is an important measure of student learning. As a result of this information, Instructure is working to create more inclusive assessments and is partnering with Zoom and other education technology partners to push for measures that help create better access to technology. so that distance learning works for all students, not just the most privileged.
Compassion is an underlying theme of commerce and, therefore, an underlying theme of marketing. Personalized strategies, paired with people-focused strategies, will prove successful in 2021 and beyond as consumers care about the impact of their goals. Marketers need to understand how to reach consumers in this new way.
Shama is the CEO of Zen Media, a b2b public relations and marketing company for b2b tech-driven brands, a bestselling author and keynote speaker.