Mapping Compassion to the Customer Experience

Throughout the customer journey, there are points where the customer can feel overwhelmed or empowered, and brand messaging should sync with those cycles.

Aside from the occasional impulse purchase, most customers spend time deliberating between “I’ve never heard of this before” and “I need to have it.”

That space in between is where all marketing and sales occur. Throughout the customer journey, there are points where the customer can feel overwhelmed or confused or dissatisfied. And there are points where the customer can feel exhilarated or empowered. Brand messaging that remains in sync with what the customer experiences is much more effective than simply “disrupting” or “targeting” them.

For example, assuring first-time homebuyers sifting through brokerage websites that, “We understand that buying a new home can be an overwhelming decision. Here’s how we can help you sort through your options,” immediately connects you to the customer’s experience and presents your business in a positive light. But if that message is disconnected from what the customer is actually experiencing, then it feels inauthentic and forced.  

A pop-up ad, for instance, offering a discount on running shoes to someone reading a blog post on healthy habits disrupts the customer’s experience and presents the company as just another store instead of as a solution.  

We don’t actually want to disrupt our customer. We want to support them. And knowing where to best support requires first understanding the customer perspective. Marketing teams tend to turn their target customers into data points instead of people. Yes, the data is important. Objectivity is important. Closing sales is important. But marketing is ultimately about connecting the business with the people it serves. It’s about really understanding the problems and challenges they face and the goals they want to achieve. It’s about bringing a human element into the way a company communicates. It’s about compassion.

What is Compassionate Commerce?

In a nutshell, Compassionate Commerce is our method at Uprise for marketing with compassion. This means allowing your understanding of the customer’s actions and feelings to be the driving force of your marketing strategy. Instead of solely relying on personas and imaginary scenarios, this approach focuses on conversations, feedback, and insight from real customers. Fundamentally, Compassionate Commerce is less about abstract data and more about emotional mapping to help flesh out what the numbers really represent.

Think about it this way: When we talk with close friends, we’re not just discussing superficial or quantitative questions like “What are you buying?” “What are you doing today?” or “Who did you talk to yesterday?” We’re also likely going to talk about why. Similarly, you need to ask those follow-up questions, like “Why did you decide to buy that?” “Why don’t you want to go out?” or “Why do you trust them?” You’ll likely discover that, like most people, underlying emotions and seemingly irrational motivations are what compel your customers to act in a certain way.  

At the end of the day, you might have a fantastic, logical, and functional service or product, but unless you can connect with customers on an emotional level, your marketing strategy won't be as effective in reaching them and motivating them to take action and actually sign up or make a purchase.  

Take car commercials, for example. The selling point is not that the vehicle will get you from point A to point B. In fact, most car commercials depict drivers in a barren, picturesque landscape with absolutely no apparent destination in mind (and sometimes Matthew McConaughey narrating their every turn). The selling point being shown is that owning a car will give you freedom and autonomy and it will allow you drive off into the sunset. What’s really being sold is a feeling.  

Mapping the customer journey requires you to consider their actions, thought processes, and emotions. This creates a more comprehensive marketing strategy and helps you develop a more effective customer language.  You can read about how to bring Compassionate Commerce to life for your brand in our next blog post in this series.

Feel free to reach out to us if you want help mapping out your customer experience. We would love to help!  

Malinda Gagnon

Malinda is CEO at Uprise and has more than 20 years of experience in business strategy and technology at companies including Google and WPP, and has advised clients such as Procter & Gamble, General Electric, VW, BlackRock, and Walmart.

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