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Empathy in marketing is more crucial than ever. Here’s how to do it.

Brands that understand customers have a higher rate of converting and keeping them. Insight about consumer behaviors and intentions means you can get really good at delivering the relevant experiences they demand. Using Neuroanalytics™ to gain detailed understanding and lead with empathy has never been more critical to business continuity.

Neuroanalytics™ is a data-driven solution to understanding audience emotions with the ability to tie those emotions to identifiable individuals. Utilizing techniques in Means-End Theory, you can tap into your customers' subconscious motivations qualitatively and then validate those connections with larger data sample sets. Through our patented process we’ve been able to find the correlations between functional and emotional benefits. This allows you to understand how different groups of customers make decisions, identify what matters to them, and create the most effective and relevant experiences across every facet of your marketing.

A combination of cognitive psychology and advanced analytics, Neuroanalytics discovers the deep-seated motivations that subconsciously drive purchase decisions, then quantifies them for statistical significance within audience segmentation.

So, if you could tap into your customers’ psyche, how would it change your strategy?

How emotional data completes an identity graph

The starting point might be more grassroots than you think. Start by talking with your customers. Traditional demographics such as age, address, and workplace are helpful, but there is a deeper level to truly know what customers care about. By learning things like their family values, career aspirations, and internally driven interests, you can take your relationship with customers from interactions to conversations.

Empathetic experiences

Best practices in behavioral journey analytics stitch together event stream data to help us understand the most common consumer paths as they interact with our brand. However, what we often find missing is the deeper dive to understand why customers are taking those paths in the first place. What questions are customers trying to answer and what problems are they seeking to solve? Taking a step back to talk with customers can help add clarity to the data we are analyzing. You may find the majority of customers hitting the home page and immediately dropping off, possibly because the next best action is unclear, the positioning doesn’t resonate, or they accidently landed on the wrong page from poor SEO. We could guess why these issues occur, but a simple jump start from asking provides direct and actionable insights as we empathize with our customers. The next step in the evolution process moves from one-to-one physical conversations to consumer-informed digital conversations.

Let’s look at another practical example:

Suppose I work for a shoe brand and I’m talking to a recent buyer of my new running shoe. By eliciting information initially through questions such as, “What led you to buy this pair of shoes over a competitor shoes?” Answers could vary from telling you about the support aspect of the shoes, stylistic characteristics, etc. From there we now have a basis to understand the emotional connection customers have to those core attributes.


It’s one thing to know customers’ buying habits based on their history with your company, but it’s another to talk with them and truly learn the ‘why” behind the purchase and what fuels their thinking and spending behaviors. Ads built on motivations have shown up to 80 percent improvement over controls. Neuroanalytics can help you make a significant impact, improve performance, and provide you with an innovative edge over competitors.

Learn more about Merkle’s proprietary Neuroanalytics™ solutions here.