The Empathy Advantage for Connecting With Older Consumers
Values are an incredible way to begin to engage with people. They are, however, just the beginning.
Three close friends – Jane, Kevin, and Robert – are in Mazatlán, Mexico, on vacation. The trio spends their first full day exploring Old Town Mazatlán before strolling down the Malecón, a four-mile beachfront promenade.
The friends arrive at a park named Parque Glorieta Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada. The locals call it “El Clavadista” for the cliff divers that perform here, and the three friends approach to watch the divers launch off of a 50-foot platform.
They discover a lower cliff point where an experienced diver will tell them when to jump (not dive) when the waves are right for a safe, feet-first leap into the relatively shallow water. A conversation breaks out among Jane, Kevin, and Robert about whether to take the plunge.
All you know about the three friends is that they are in their mid-50s, are college-educated, and make between $75,000 and $125,000 a year. Will they jump?
These simple demographics don’t give you any relevant information to make that call unless you resort to an ageist stereotype that these people are “too old” to do something daring. So let’s add an “interest” data point to see if that helps.
All three are competitive triathletes. So, this shared interest tells us that these middle-aged people are in good shape and athletic, but jumping off a cliff is still a very different thing. Can you guess now?
This example so far proves the point I’ve been trying to make to you – demographics and interests alone do not provide reliable guidance about attitudes that lead to predictions about likely behavior. You need something more.
So how about this?
The thing Jane values most in life are experiences.
Kevin’s strongest core value is security.
Robert values friendship over most anything else.
With this information, we can make reasonable guesses about each of the friend’s attitudes about jumping off the cliff. In very brief and simple terms:
Jane likely wants to do it;
Kevin likely doesn’t; and
Robert will likely go along with what the other two decide.
When you start with values, you can make an educated guess of what you need to say to prospects to positively connect with them. But first and foremost, you also get an instant “foot in the door” connection that maintains their valuable attention in the first place.
Values Trigger a Positive Attitude About You
You hear it repeatedly when it comes to digital marketing – you have to get people to “know, like, and trust” you to succeed. And since very few people consider themselves unlikeable and untrustworthy, they spend a lot of time and money to get known.
And yet, too many people hide their values instead of putting them at the forefront. In a desperate attempt to be “liked” by everyone, they fail to connect with anyone meaningfully.
And that means trust is out the window, too.
When you lead by demonstrating your values, though, you have a way to instantaneously connect with people that make your efforts to become “known” more effective right off the bat. You’re giving people an easy opportunity to “decide” you’re worth paying attention to at the unconscious, precognitive stage.
Let’s dig into that just a bit deeper.
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