<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1537896316421862&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

MozCon 2016: Marketing is Empathy

Ruth Sturm

EpicosityBlog_ABAConf_Header_New-1.jpg

I’m not going to lie to you guys - Seattle is pretty awesome. Even when I got horrendously lost attempting to navigate public transit on my own, the unexpectedly sunny skies and smell of the water kept me feeling chipper. But, of course, the best part of the trip has been the incredible speakers at MozCon 2016.

Yesterday, I shared my top 10 favorite tips from the first day of MozCon. But as I started writing my 10 tips from the second day, I discovered a common theme from all the speakers: empathy.

Check out my favorite quotes from yesterday on how the MozCon speakers think human connections should drive marketing.

1. “You have to type something into the box. Even though we know [keyword] concepts are real, you still have to type something into the box."

Dr. Pete, a Marketing Scientist at Moz, gave a mind-blowing talk about the way we complete keyword research and how it should change with the changes in Google. But one of the most impactful things he said was about how customers search on Google, compared to how we, as marketers or businesses, write content for those customers. We may be trying to target a “concept” with our writing, like "tech support."

But our customers are still going to type something specific into the search box. We have to be able to anticipate what content is going to be most helpful to users, as well as what is most popular with search engines.

2. “Our biggest threat is not our competitors - it is inertia.”

We spend a lot of time worrying about what our competitors are doing. But shouldn’t we be worrying about what our customers are doing instead? Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers told us that each website user is served almost 5,000 ad messages a day. Out of that, we recognize 50. Out of those 50, you remember four. So you’re not actually competing against thousands of competitors; you’re competing against users feeling completely overwhelmed by messaging and choosing to do nothing. We have to give them a personal, relevant reason to do something.

This has to be more than just promoting free shipping or talking about your product features. Your messaging should not be about your product. It should be about the user. For instance, “Our product can solve this problem in your life, which will allow you to do something extraordinary.”

3. “We’re generally getting rid of things customers don’t care about.”

Sometimes when we design our websites, we create pages that we assume our customers will want to know about. And, of course, we check our website data consistently in analytics. But then three, six or 10 months after our website launches, we haven’t actually done anything with that data.

Alex Stein of Wayfair spoke on the importance of removing unnecessary links, especially from our navigation and footers. It may be hard to get rid of a page that you think is important. But if no one is visiting it, it is just confusing web users and making their conversion journeys more complicated than they need to be.

4. “Embrace those things that are unique and polarizing about you.”

Kristen Craft of Wistia encouraged us to think further about the tactics we as businesses use to create relationships with clients or customers. We have a tendency to choose the safest option – the option that won’t turn anyone off our message. But Kristen urged us to think about the brands we like. They probably have something unique to say. We feel more aligned to these brands, as they don’t try to be all things to all people.

We should make our businesses the types of businesses we like, rather than dull down our appeal with safe and un-compelling messaging.

5. “Your marketing funnel is not your user’s journey.”

As marketers or business professionals, we spend a lot of time thinking about our sales funnel. A user enters our website from organic search, sees interesting products on well-designed pages and then purchases the products. But Rebekah Cancino from Onward reminded us that, in order to retain customers, we really need to think about their entire journeys, not just getting them to the sale as quickly as possible.

For example, after you sell someone a car, your marketing funnel is technically complete. But what if it’s your customer’s first car? The customer could be incredibly nervous about what type of insurance to buy, where to go to get repairs done and other post-sale choices. If you help your customer through those pain points, you could gain a customer for life.


The second day of MozCon 2016 was filled with mind-blowing technical tips, SEO theory and ways to improve content creation. But the most impactful part of the day for me was the reminder that our goal should not be to tell users about ourselves; our goal should be to learn what users want.

Check Out Our Work