As marketers, freelancers and entrepreneurs, it is natural that we spend a lot of time and energy working out effective collaboration, systems and how we build a business that scales. But truly, what sits at the core of collaboration and efficiency within business – or indeed, any type of relationship – is empathy.  

Empathy involves considering and even feeling the perspective of another and is the pillar of an effective working team. Effective collaboration requires working together with a client or agency on their or your business, mostly marketing, in a way that proves value —as well as needing to feel good about the work, it also needs to provide objective results.

Objective results happen when both a grasp for general marketing as well as a grasp for the specific industry at hand (music lovers, graphic design clients etc) are fully understood and empathised with. Marketing is a function that should be connected to sales, finance, operations, CX and, for smaller companies and startups, even executive leadership. Understanding these other functions is a form of empathy —a corporate emotional intelligence—or something that allows marketers to give advice that is “all things considered.”

If a marketing agency isn’t clued up on the niche of the client, when clients need to ask about their thing, the answer is given through the lens of a decision that impacts staffing, timing, goal setting, opportunity costs and so on. In a world with mass marketing, marketing as an industry needs to understand and serve a larger corporate goal, and that needs to be distinct from “doing marketing.” A consultant’s (or agency’s) ability to know how their work contributes to the larger objectives of a company is something that the industry is starting to see as absolutely critical. 

Without this component, marketing is incredibly exposed to the risk of not actually bringing value to an organisation … even with marketing qualified lead count goals met, customer acquisition cost in the range, increased traffic and so on.

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