There’s a lot for a marketer like me to say when I read about manufactured empathy. If you haven’t heard the phrase, it’s really just one of the many ways people criticize the ‘fakeness’ in a lot of marketing stunts.
“Oh this was clearly sponsored.”
“This is so an ad.”
“Someone paid for this.”
In my opinion, it’s a little beside the point. But at the same time, it makes me sympathize with really scrupulous salespeople who don’t like ERP software leads that have a ‘manufactured’ fee. They want a process that ‘naturally’ generates potential clients. No smoke and mirrors. No doctored screenshots of the software. Is this so hard these days?
Short answer: No.
Before we get to that though, you should know you don’t always win with what’s considered ‘true’ by your target audience. Things can still go wrong when you pitch the real thing the really wrong way. As much as people crave authenticity when dealing with any salesperson, the thing that decision makers really want still hasn’t changed:
They want results.
No, this doesn’t mean instant results or intentionally giving a prospect reasons to have unrealistic expectations. It’s much simpler than that. They are, once again, simply asking if you can really solve the problem they have.
And in fact, it’s not like there aren’t any ways to market yourself while deliberately forcing your tactics to stay authentic and devoid of that manufactured feel. Look at Snapchat. Look at live streaming. Using both in your marketing arsenal will make it nigh impossible for your audience to suspect you of ‘making you look good.’ That doesn’t mean that this’ll be all there is to generating software leads for your enterprise technology. Any salesperson with even a moderate amount experience will have the sense to find ‘authentic’ marketing tactics as lacking in the following areas:
- Answering the hardest questions – Ultimately, it’s not about whether you’re a real person or you’re a real company. It’s about having the real answer a particular problem in the enterprise. For example, can you fix this integration problem with their IT department? Or, can you really reduce the overhead of server maintenance?
- Eliminating tension – There’s a difference between reducing the tension (which is what being all real and personal is all about and is definitely with a lot of merits) and eliminating it entirely. You can’t keep charming your way on Snapchat when there is still a problem to be solved. Use direct and personal marketing tactics to calm a decision maker’s raging frustrations but always have something really valuable to address the cause of it all.
- Delivering sound information – This is particularly tricky as even the most accurate, authentic case study still has no means of proving itself within the boundaries of certain channels. For example, if a prospect is in another state and they’d rather ‘see the products for themselves,’ that would be difficult if you were just communicating via LinkedIn. You need to arrange something a little bigger and a little more complex.
On the other hand, it’s all the more important that sound information actually exists inside your business and that you can actually produce something of value. That’s not something you can manufacture, no matter how organic your marketing tactics look.