Adding Empathy to B2B Marketing


Embracing curiosity and asking open-ended questions helps you add empathy to your B2B marketing.

It’s almost second nature to add empathy to your B2C marketing. You know you need to engage emotionally, and thinking about the needs and pain points of your audience is an obvious way to do it. But when it comes to B2B marketing, it’s as if marketers forget that a person buying on behalf of their company is still a person.

Empathy in B2B marketing requires a little extra effort. It means gathering your data, creating your personas but then digging deeper to think about your customers as people and what may be a need or desire that your brand, product or service can meet. It takes a little setting aside of your own walls to connect emotionally with your audiences.

Cultivating empathy in a B2B strategy might require you to change gears and apply some new techniques. Try the following:

Be Curious: You know that your audience tends to fall in a certain age range, they’re primarily female and they hold specific titles at companies in your target industry. While that data may help you sort contacts into market segments, it doesn’t help you connect at the emotional level.

To gain empathy, you need to be intensely curious about your leads (but stop well before you get to the “creepy curious” stage). Are they proud of certain awards, or do they tend to talk about specific events?

You can also notice whether they talk about their job roles in terms of challenges or in terms of opportunities. Sensing whether things seem to be stagnating in their company or moving toward a new strategy can also help you connect.

Be Open-Ended: Data in marketing is valuable, but it also has its limitations. When you’re learning about a contact, resist the urge to assign them to a market segment, even as you’re making introductions.

Instead, make an effort to avoid making assumptions or asking questions that tend to be answered with one of a few options. Ask open-ended questions, such as, “That’s pretty interesting. How has that impacted your company?”

Change Your Content Approach: B2B marketing success involves taking that critical step and using what you’ve learned to create a more empathetic approach to your content creation. Stop producing content that involves the same old topics and use your conversations with contacts to create more exciting, more relevant content that adds value.

Whether you need some help building a more empathetic approach to your B2B marketing, or you’re looking for a comprehensive rebranding strategy, our team at SJC Marketing can help. We do everything from expanding an existing plan to starting from scratch, but we are consistent in making your brand shine.

We’d love to learn more about you.