“The key to success is not trying to be what society or anyone else wants you to be, but to be 100% authentic”. These are words of Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, in her recent presentation at Inbound 2017. It is HubSpot's biggest digital marketing event, which brought together more than 21,000 professionals from around the world from September 25 to 28 in Boston (Massachusetts, United States).
It included four intense days of Digital Marketing where the new trends in the sector were presented: CRM, SEO, content marketing, etc... with the best experts in their areas: from Rand Fishkin (founder and CEO of Moz), Leila Janah (founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI), Elaine Welteroth (editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue), to Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah (co-founders of HubSpot).
Keynote speakers such as John Cena (actor and WWE Superstar) and Michelle Obama focused their speeches on how to be honest and empathic, in any facet of life. The importance of empathy and how to convey it to the customer was the central theme of Inbound 2017.
There are endless stories of brands that have not been empathetic with their customers. A clear example is the recent incident of United Airlines, when a police officer literally dragged a passenger who embarked on an overbooked flight because he didn’t want to give up his ticket, until he got off the plane. Several travelers recorded it on video and posted it on social networks, and within minutes the video became viral, with more than 1 million views.
Oscar Muñoz, the airline's CEO, issued an internal statement blaming the passenger. This statement also hit social networks, prompting even greater outrage among users.
Brands that are empathetic with their customers, and provide good experiences, make these customers become authentic brand evangelists, through ‘word of mouth’ marketing. This type of marketing is 100% Inbound, completely non-interruptive and totally reliable - the ultimate goal of any Inbound Marketing strategy.
A case of success in empathy in digital marketing strategies is that of the fundraising campaign of the Mexican NGO La casa de la amistad. Two years ago, the association organized the 'Hair Festival' to benefit children with cancer, and rock stars in the Central American country supported the campaign by inviting citizens to attend and 'pay' the entrance with a lock of hair.
The campaign managed to connect with the audience: thanks to the massive influx of people, hair was collected for 107 wigs, equivalent to one year of donations (approximately $ 160,500 - about 137,000 euros).
The festival was shared on YouTube, which got more than 128,000 shares, and various Mexican medias echoed the news, which is equivalent to about $ 500,000 in advertising (about 426,000 euros).
The campaign was also awarded at the Cannes Lions Festival in the category Branded Content & Entertainment.
Applying empathy to its marketing strategy, the NGO achieved greater public awareness, and got authentic brand evangelists.
As we have seen in the previous example, in the Inbound era, social networks have become one of the main channels for distributing content and empathizing with consumers, as shown in HubSpot's ‘State of Inbound 2017’ study.
Therefore, these networks are a powerful marketing tool if they are used correctly. According to the main findings of a Brandwatch study, 60% of consumers would recommend a brand that has effective communication on social networks. But 33% of consumers think that companies respond late and with irrelevant answers to questions in these channels.
In Inbound 2017, other presentations from HubSpot stood out. Among them was the launch of the Customer Hub, a platform designed to help brands develop incredible customer experiences by scaling them up and supervising them.
Customer experience (UX) is closely linked with empathy; the technique allows companies to connect with the customer through personalized treatment and helps to turn consumers into authentic brand evangelists. According to data from consulting firm Gartner, in 2018 more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to innovations in customer experience.
Other innovations were the acquisition of Motion.ai, which is going to plug into the Sales product and help scale customer communication through chat bots, and integration with Terminus, which is an awesome account based marketing tool that plugs into buyer journeys and is scaled through workflows.
Data, data and data...
Metrics and data analysis is another of the obsessions of marketers who are keeping up with trends. According to the State of the Inbound 2017 report, the question “What are the biggest marketing challenges in your company?”, 63% of respondents chose traffic generation and leads, 40% of them have also indicated that showing the return on investment of their marketing activities is one of the biggest issues they are having in the day to day running of their business.
If you like to be up to date with the latest in digital marketing to learn new techniques that will help you grow your business, don’t miss The Inbounder Global Conference 2018, the leading digital marketing event in Europe, that will be held in Madrid next year on the 25th and 26th of April.
Like Inbound 2017, The Inbounder Global Conference 2018 will also feature world-renowned keynotes and speakers who will talk about the latest in new technologies, SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Social Media, CRO... and all the techniques that can help you with your digital marketing strategy.
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