Are you marketing with empathy - or contempt?

Are You Marketing with Empathy or with Contempt?

Are you marketing with empathy - or contempt?

Yesterday I got a new lead from my website. As is my habit, I checked out the “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?” field first. He’d answered, “leads.” Great! We love it when a company puts a high value on leads – generating and nurturing them is our strong suit. Then I looked at his website and read a couple of blog posts. It became immediately apparent why he was having a struggle with leads – and why I don’t think I can help.

Here’s To All the “Idiots” “Morons” and “Dumb Souls” Out There

Yes, the two blog posts I read on his site, before leaving in disgust, used those exact phrases to describe customers, potential customers, and readers of his blog. Wow, if that’s what you think of me, let me become a lead right now so you can help me stop being such a moron!! Sorry, a little sarcasm got out there. Gotta watch that.

True, he did not call out any customer by name, but he gave more than enough details so that, were they to read his blog, they would know exactly what he thinks of them. The horror! I won’t go in to any more details about who this particular blogger is, but if it’s you – please keep reading, anyway.

What Contempt Does to Relationships

Do you know what is the biggest indicator of trouble in a marriage? Not conflict or money troubles – it’s contempt. Psychology Today defines contempt as “arrogant (“I know best”) disregard, dismissal and denigration of others’ concerns.” A business owner or blogger who shows contempt for a customer or reader is no longer in a position to offer any help – he’s dismissed them as unworthy and beyond help. They’re no longer potential partners, they’re adversaries. Not a good turn for a marriage OR a business partnership!

We Get It

So, sometimes it is frustrating to explain why blogging is important, or why we won’t just “do” your social media for $100/month – ten times in one week. But, a huge part of a business owner or consultant’s job is to educate potential customers – it just comes with the territory! If you don’t have the patience for it, you should probably be in a different role – one that does not involve customer service.

What Happened to Humility and Respect?

You may be the smartest person in your line of work, but do you know everything about everything? I doubt it. It always makes me giggle a little bit when a very intelligent person in, say, pharmacy is embarrassed at their lack of marketing know-how. Why should they expect themselves to know how to do everything? I sure don’t know enough chemistry to compound a prescription drug – and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Have confidence in your abilities, but respect the abilities of your customers and your readers and acknowledge that they know more than you do in at least some areas.

A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way

The stories our less-than-gracious blogger was sharing probably have value. They probably could have been useful to someone (even the insulted subjects of the articles), if they had been handled differently. His point could have been powerfully made and effectively delivered with just a smidgen of empathy thrown in. Stories shared and solutions offered are a fantastic way to demonstrate your expertise in a way that draws people in, rather than repulsing people.  THAT is how you build relationships before you ever speak. THAT is how you make “leads” your strong suit instead of your biggest challenge.

Now, we’re not saying that any of you are marketing with contempt, but this glaring example of rude, dismissive behavior in marketing got me thinking. Am I making sure everything I write expresses the respect my readers deserve? I’m sure there’s room for improvement – and I’m going to work on it!

Have you seen any outrageous displays of contempt lately? What would you like to say to the perpetrators? Please share below – but let’s be polite and helpful to show them how it SHOULD be done 🙂


Article Name
Are You Marketing with Empathy or with Contempt?
Is the way you speak to your customers, leads and blog readers sending the wrong message?

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.

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