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Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important In Marketing

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important In Marketing

Feeling, well, your feelings each day is normal. In fact, regulating your emotions and being aware of how you react to them, contributes to your emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence (also known as emotional quotient, or EQ) means identifying, using, and managing one’s own emotions in a positive way. It doesn’t mean being emotional. 

According to psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence consists of five components: self-regulation, empathy, social skills, motivation, and self-awareness. Some signs that you are emotionally intelligent include creativity, strong interpersonal rapport, and a high level of ethics. 

How does emotional intelligence impact ecommerce and marketing? 

Consider your own experiences as a consumer. You’ve likely been drawn to a company with a compelling founder story. Or you trust a brand that writes authentic, empathetic emails. Maybe you bought a product from a brand that supports a charity. 

These are powerful examples of emotional intelligence in marketing at work. 

So much of our business decisions are focused on cognitive intelligence, which favors logic and rationality. Deploying strategies with emotional intelligence can improve your customer engagement, traffic, and sales.

Below, we look at what emotional intelligence marketing is and why it matters, plus how to build EI tactics into your marketing strategy.

Table of contents

What is emotional intelligence marketing?

Emotional intelligence marketing is an approach to marketing that builds trust with customers through empathy and seeks to understand their needs, while presenting the brand’s value in an authentic way.

In practice, emotional intelligence marketing includes: 

  • Defining your own brand values and image, including voice tone, visuals, attributes, and personality in a way that resonates with a targeted audience 
  • Managing how a brand is represented through asset management, experiences for customers (customer service, marketing materials, or activations), and building customer loyalty
  • Listening to and responding empathetically to customer needs through social listening, emails, and product feedback as part of a meaningful dialogue
  • Creating a safe relationship where a brand genuinely cares for the customer experience, their traffic to a website or footprint in a store, and meeting their needs in an effort to build a connection

Emotional intelligence marketing examples may look like: 

  • Targeted, personalized emails with specific product information that you know a customer likes from past purchases or engagement
  • Social media engagement, like responding to queries and concerns via Instagram DMs or tweets on Twitter
  • Reposting and engaging with customersor influencer product reviews
  • Using influencer marketing to select brand ambassadorswho support the brand’s goals but also have their own voice with whom customers may regularly engage 
  • Self-reflective content like blogs, announcements, or social content that tell your customers how you’re trying to better products or experiences for them 
  • Genuine curiosity in different customer personas and stories

Why your marketing needs emotional intelligence

To understand why emotional intelligence marketing is an important muscle to build and flex in any marketing strategy, you need to understand your customer.

Who your customers are, how and what they buy, and their overall buying behavior are going to help your brand create a more effective and personalized marketing campaign. That leads to higher brand recognition and loyalty with a targeted audience. 

By understanding your customers’ struggles and motivations, you can know when and how they will purchase products. For nail and lash brand Glamnetic, promoting the brand’s story as a scrappy start-up was an important way to reach and relate to customers. Those buyers connect to Ann McFerran’s need for long-lasting magnetic lashes that wouldn’t break the bank. Even the emotional side of McFerran’s story—feeling more like herself with lashes—is relatable to an audience who wears them for that very same purpose. 

Ultimately, treating your customers like the people they are will positively impact your business. According to a report conducted by PwC, 65% of buyers are more influenced by positive brand experiences than traditional ads. This is a point where emotional intelligence marketing can shine. Brands that have great customer service skills, brand activations, social engagement—and that offer other positive shopper experiences—deliver a higher chance of turning customers into buyers.

How to use emotional intelligence to build your marketing strategy

Let’s understand how to build emotional intelligence into a marketing strategy. 

Understand your audience

You’re not going to be able to incorporate EI into your marketing strategies and campaigns without understanding your audience. Understanding shoppers’ feelings and motivations allows you to build relationships and use emotional persuasion to increase sales.

Some tactics for better understanding your audience include: 

  • Customer surveys. Email, tweet, or post a link on your social channels asking your customers to respond to a short survey about why or how they purchase products from your brand.
  • Social listening. See how your brand fares across the internet and social channels. What are they posting or reposting about your brand? 
  • Going through past and present buying and traffic data. Has traffic to your website slipped but there’s been an increase in foot traffic to your store? Such data can be a powerful part of the path to understanding your customer. Remember, data can be biased if not considered within the big picture. 

Develop empathy

The basic fact is that commerce comes down to transactions. Buyers purchase a product a brand sells and go on with their day. However, developing empathy for your customers goes a long way in contributing to continued brand loyalty and revenue. 

Talk candidly to your customers. What are some industry challenges? Do your founders or CEOs have personalities that resonate with buyers, and can they speak more directly to them? Cut the marketing and business jargon and speak plainly to a potential audience. 

Build relationships

The customer relationship isn’t just the transactional one. Getting to the point of a purchase takes effort, time, and genuine care. Taking the time to talk and interact with your customers regularly is a useful strategy to get them there. Talk to your customers with a casual tone. Don’t lose the brand authority you have, but think about how relationships are built: through relating to a person, empathy, and listening. 

Focusing too much on growth can often cloud a brand’s ability to keep connecting with past buyers. Longevity happens when a brand focuses on tending to all kinds of relationships, not just customer acquisition. Invest time and marketing efforts into connecting personally via emails, surveys, contests, or even responding on social media to your customer base. 

Be authentic

Authenticity is a hard thing to measure, yet it’s becoming an extremely important point for most buyers. Some 88% of customers consider authenticity when determining which brands to support. 

Developing a brand image that speaks to what the brand stands for, rather than bending to cultural or social trends, is going to matter to your audience. Are you B Corp certified simply because it’s something your competitors are doing? Or does climate change really matter to your brand?

In marketing efforts, develop a consistent brand tone, voice, and narrative to deploy across all channels and campaigns. Always refer back to those brand principles to remain authentic. 

Picking an authentic brand image and sticking with it is going to keep customers returning to you. That said, if mistakes happen, owning them is going to go further with an audience. Trust is important between buyer and brand, so using emotional intelligence by acknowledging mistakes and taking ownership of them will help repair the relationship faster.

Emotional intelligence: Mapping the terrain for commerce

The future of commerce is based on the connection brands and buyers have. Customers who like the companies they buy from are much more likely to continue to do so and become loyal customers. 

In user experience, mobile access, customer service interaction, and product features, customers will subconsciously or consciously rely on emotional intelligence to decide if it’s positive for them. This is why enterprises, regardless of their state of business, ought to prioritize what their buyers are feeling, how that influences behaviors, and how to act on that to optimize the buyer journey. Emotion has a big impact on client loyalty. 

That said, emotional intelligence needs to be part of brand culture, not just for the customer and brand relationship, but throughout the company. Fostering emotional intelligence in employees has a better impact on employees’ mental health, which contributes to how they show up at work and how they connect with customers, who are people, not just shoppers.

Why does emotional intelligence impact customer experience? 

Customers can develop a positive perception of emotionally intelligent organizations for a number of reasons. The main questions that impact their opinions include: 

  • How will a brand treat me? 
  • What if I don’t like the product? 
  • What if the service doesn’t deliver the results I’m after?

Customers often have expectations before forming an opinion of a brand. An emotionally intelligent organization listens carefully by showing empathy and embracing change in order to have solutions that create a positive customer experience.

Customers use their personal and social competence to make emotionally intelligent decisions, and that can result in increased revenue, traffic, or strengthened customer loyalty for a brand. Emotionally intelligent brands make customers the priority without hesitation. Gaining customer confidence builds relationships, and building relationships gains their trust. When EI is widespread in your company, you can build trust by withstanding pressure, staying composed, taking personal responsibility for delays, and regulating reactions to complaints. Customers rely on their own awareness to keep doing business with companies that show reciprocity and watch out for their needs on a proactive basis.

Emotional intelligence FAQ

What is emotional intelligence in marketing?

Emotional intelligence in marketing is being self-aware of how your brand is represented, and managing it through consistent brand voice, tone, and content. It involves listening to and being empathetic toward customers and how they are responding while making a purchase or researching to make a purchase. It also includes how brands respond to or engage with customers based on how a brand shows up in a given channel.

Why is emotional intelligence important in digital marketing?

By understanding the motivations of your customers, you can understand when and how they will purchase products. Using tools and information gleaned from emotional intelligence tactics is a compassionate and necessary way to ensure you’re targeting customers precisely, and providing the information or product they need.

What are the 5 keys of emotional intelligence?

The five keys of emotional intelligence are: self-regulation, empathy, social skills, motivation, and self-awareness.

What are the 4 examples of emotional intelligence?

Some examples of emotional intelligence in an individual include creativity, robust interpersonal rapport, a high-level of ethics, and strong listening skills.

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This originally appeared on Shopify Plus and is available here for wider discovery.
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