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The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Marketing
Marketing Trends

The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Marketing

It might be tempting to write emotional intelligence off as another trend making the rounds on LinkedIn, but if you did that you’d be missing out on some great advice for being a good teammate and a better marketer.

Emotional intelligence (often shortened to “EQ”) is a phrase popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his bestselling book, “Emotional Intelligence” released in 1995. At its core, it refers to the collection of skills that relate to interpersonal communication and the ability to empathize with others. Goleman identified five key components of emotional intelligence:

    • Self-awareness
    • Self-regulation
    • Motivation
    • Empathy
    • Social skills

Sometimes referred to as “soft skills,” these qualities have become incredibly important not only in building healthy workplace dynamics, but also in creating marketing strategies and content that meaningfully connect with people.

How EQ Can Improve Your Marketing

As a highly data-dependent field, marketing requires us to absorb information about industry trends, buyer preferences, campaign ROI, website metrics — the list goes on. It can seem like a very logical, Spock-like endeavor if all you’re doing is letting the data dictate your moves.

In our experience —and we assume yours too — that’s simply not enough to achieve the kind of success our clients need and deserve. There has to be a human insight gleaned from the data, and there has to be an emotional truth at the heart of our messaging and strategy in order for anyone to care about it. The data is essential to the work, but the work needs to have an emotional driver, too. That’s where understanding EQ and having high emotional intelligence can make all the difference.

Understanding the audience
EQ equips marketers to go beyond demographic data and surface-level preferences to grasp the deeper emotions, aspirations, and pain points of their target audience. Leaning into empathy and using active listening, marketers can uncover insights that inform more personalized marketing strategies. Understanding the emotional triggers that drive consumer behavior allows us to create messaging and experiences that create authentic engagement.

Example: Apple recently issued an apology for their new iPad Pro commercial which depicted musical instruments and art supplies being crushed by a massive hydraulic press. The message was supposed to be that everything an artist needs can now be found in one slim Apple device. But artists and creators — long associated with having a strong preference for the brand — are already feeling squeezed out of their industries by technology. In the audience’s view, the spot was about as tone-deaf and unsympathetic as it could get. Had someone on Team Apple been able to put themselves in the audience’s place and empathize with what they’re really feeling, the ad might have gone in a much, much different direction and been better received overall.

Creating relatable brand storytelling and content

Marketers with high EQ have a seemingly innate ability to craft narratives that evoke emotion, inspire action, and leave a lasting impression. By tapping into universal themes, emotions, and values, they can create content that truly resonates with audiences. Emotionally intelligent marketers can develop stories and campaigns that captivate attention and build brand loyalty.

Example: Back in 2014 Always debuted the #LikeAGirl campaign. It’s ten years later and here we are, still citing it as a stunning example of combining emotional intelligence and data to develop a compelling story. If you’re unfamiliar: the premise turns the old schoolyard taunt that running/throwing/playing “like a girl” is weak on its head and transforms it into a rallying cry for female empowerment. The message to women and girls isn’t just that Always hears them, but Always gets them in a way they can feel deep in their marrow.

Building relationships and customer experiences
EQ empowers marketers to build genuine connections with customers, influencers, prospects, and internal stakeholders. Demonstrating that we understand another person’s point of view and can show that understanding through our actions — whether that’s working with one another on a campaign or developing personalized customer experiences — can leave a long lasting, positive impression.

Example: Have you gotten email from companies asking if you’d like to opt out of receiving messages on certain holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? That’s an excellent example of using emotional intelligence to inform customer experience. Recognizing that some holidays may be emotionally fraught for your customers and giving them the option to not be exposed to potentially painful messages demonstrates a high level of care that won’t be forgotten by customers.

EQ is a Must-Have for Long-term Success

From understanding customer emotions to crafting compelling narratives and building strong relationships, EQ is at the heart of the most well-received and enduring marketing efforts, whether they’re aimed at B2C or B2B audiences. (In fact, a B2B campaign that is built around an emotional truth might help it stand out among competitors who bypass emotion and go straight to features and benefits.)

Emotional intelligence can be a powerful differentiator for marketers, as long as it doesn’t start and end with one single ad or video. Audiences crave authenticity from brands and are quick to notice when it’s missing. If you’re able to use your own emotional intelligence to shape decisions from strategy to execution through conversion and retention you’re setting your brand up for real and sustainable success.

Infuse your brand with emotional power that resonates. Get in touch with CID’s team today.

Rebecca Rick

Rebecca Rick

Senior Content Strategist + Copywriter

Creative. Strategic. Crategic? (We'll workshop it.) Rebecca's part of our award-winning marketing & strategy team where she turns ideas into words and words into content.

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