Can technology marketing videos have empathy?

There’s little doubt that video as a medium can have empathy. Reality TV shows may increase empathy and bring out the best in us. But let’s consider the kind of videos I know best, technology marketing videos. These are mostly short, high-level solution overviews for lead generation or account management.

What is empathy in marketing?

The production of marketing content — video in particular — focuses on packaging messages efficiently. How often does anyone ask, “How do you think the person who looks at this content will feel about it?”

Brian Carroll at B2B Lead Blog writes interestingly about humanizing the sales and marketing processes. In “How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline” he notes that customers are deluged with so many impersonal marketing messages through so many channels, they are just worn out. We can all empathize here.

But the idea of empathy in marketing is that people warm to a message that addresses hopes, fears, and other feelings we all have. For example, if yours is a complex sale, Brian suggests focusing on the risks perceived by your customer. That’s a fruitful idea. I would add that, with a buying team, you need to address multiple kinds of risk-averseness to help encourage consensus.  I’ve written previously about contending with group dynamics.

How to add empathy to technology marketing videos

In terms of video, empathy doesn’t necessarily mean trying to take hopes and fears into account. I really like Carroll’s formulation that “the best marketing feels like helping.” Customers aren’t looking for solutions.

They’re trying to solve problems.

How do you help a customer who clicked on your marketing video? You use visuals that help the customer see your point clearly. You try to imagine how the viewer is now going about solving whatever problem your solution fits. What does she want to know, and in what order should you present your answers. In a short video, your objective is to get the viewer to seek out more information. If you can identify the next logical destination in the buyer’s information-gathering journey, your video can do a good job guiding the customer there.

Knowing the customer is pressed for time, you should also consider creating a series of short videos that answer specific questions, rather than long, wide-ranging videos that cover the subject in full. I’m in favor of completeness, but it doesn’t need to come all at once. You can also repurpose videos by editing them into short segments or “chapterizing” them with clickable overlays.

If you just imagine yourself as the smart person on the receiving end of your video, you’re sure to raise the empathy level.

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