Empathy – The Key to Understanding Your Target Audience

Posted 19/05/2020
Empathy – The Key to Understanding Your Target Audience

“The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

When you experience empathy for another person, and they see it in the way you relate to them, an unstoppable bond is formed.

This bond is your conduit to trade show conversions. Prospects trust you because you understand their struggles and anxieties. Only then will they allow you to help.

But how do you develop empathy for a stranger? You need to spend quality time discovering who they are and the emotions that drive their actions.

Understanding your target audience on this deep level is the key to resonating with attendees on the trade show floor. Learn how in this part of our Five E’s of Face-to-Face Engagement and lay the foundations for exhibition success.


Find answers to the right questions

Developing empathy for your target audience lies in thoughtful research. You need to think about relevant questions that reveal the emotional drivers behind your prospects’ decisions. Questions such as:

  1. Who is your ideal client?
  2. Why are they attending the exhibition?
  3. How can you solve their problems?
  4. What is their communication style?
  5. Why should they stop at your booth vs. your competitor(s)?

Let’s look at these questions in more detail.


1. Who is your ideal client?

Before we dive into the questions around emotional drivers, you need to know the basic facts surrounding who your ideal client is, such as their:

  • Company Type
  • Job title
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Marital status

With this information, you can start to form a clear image of who your ideal client is. This helps you communicate with your target audience more effectively. For example, Millennials will likely respond better to informal conversations and disruptive topics than GenX.


2. Why are they attending the exhibition?

According to CEIR research;

  • 83% of the attendees have some kind of buying power or influence
  • 79% of attendees say that attending trade shows helps them decide on what products or services to purchase
  • 90% of the attendees plan to make a purchase within the next 12-18 months

Proof that trade shows are always brimming with opportunity. To take advantage of this, discover the specific reasons why your prospects are attending the show. Are they looking for a particular product or service? What information are they searching for?

To find these details, you could ask these questions on social media, using relevant tags (search for ones the exhibition organisers are using to promote the trade show) so people can find your posts and respond with helpful information.


3. How can you solve their problems?

The renowned Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt once said, “People don’t want to buy a drill and a quarter-inch bit. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

In other words, people don’t want to hear about the product and all its shiny parts, they want to hear about how you’re going to complete the job

That’s the problem they’re fixed on, and you need to demonstrate how you can solve itand go way beyond delivering just the quarter-inch hole.

So when you’re doing your audience research, focus on their needs and pains; and most importantly what the end result and emotions they are looking for – you’ll be able to develop a profound understanding of what drives a customer towards your offering. To get these answers, ask questions like:

  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing, what would it be?
  • What’s your biggest inhibitor to progress?
  • What takes up the most time in your day?
  • How would putting a new system in place or having a new product solve the problem?

For B2B prospects, understanding the market they’re in, how they compete, and how they make money will boost your personalisation efforts.

Only when you understand the customers’ job should you begin to concentrate on what the product or service is, how to promote it, the cost, the problem it solves, and who you should market it to.


4. What is their communication style?

At a trade-show, face-to-face engagement reigns supreme. But how you approach this form of engagement will differ depending on the customers’ preferred communication style.

To understand this, you need to learn about your target audiences’ main personality. This is integral to developing empathy. You become in tune with a customers’ personality, helping you spark conversations that will hold their attention.

James Knight, creator of iMA – an exciting new universal language, designed to maximise connectivity i.e. mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect explains that everyone in the world speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting her/him on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population. The majority of people, many of whom are important to your success, are on a different wavelength than you. These are colour coded as follows:

High Greens:

They are serious, analytical, persistent, systematic and task orientated people who enjoy problem-solving, perfecting processes and working towards tangible results. They carefully research, make comparisons, determine risk, calculate margins of error and only then take action. To communicate with high greens, you need to be time disciplined, be logical, fully prepared with relevant facts and information, respect their rules, structure your presentations well, and be precise.

High Blues:

They are warm, supporting and nurturing people who like to develop strong networks of people who are willing to be mutually supportive and reliable. They are excellent team players, courteous, friendly, good planners, persistent and great with following through tasks. To communicate well with them, you need to be pleasant, sincere, not be aggressive, be selfless and be supportive of their feelings.

High Yellows:

They are outgoing, friendly, enthusiastic creative people who excel in getting others excited about their vision. They are fast-paced, high energy and deal with people in a positive upbeat way. They are also eternal optimists that can influence people and build networks to accomplish their goals. To connect with them you need to be flexible, quick-paced, positive, be generous with your praise and supportive of their ideas.

High Reds:

They are goal orientated go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of people and situations. They focus on a no-nonsense approach to bottom-line results. They are also fast-paced, task orientated, and work impressively by themselves. To connect with high reds you need to be practical, brief, assertive get to the point quickly and be supportive of their goals.

Which one of these colours best describes you and which colours do you think your customers are? Find out by taking our quick quiz here –

Discover your target audience’s communication style and you will be able to craft marketing messages and ignite conversations that convert prospects into clients.


5. Why should they stop at your booth vs. your competitor(s)?

This is where you work out what excites your target audience, so you can create a booth experience that trumps all others.

Maybe learning about the latest product releases would compel them to your stand. Or perhaps they’d rather get valuable business tips or a quality conversation with a professional. What they prefer may depend heavily on their communication style, so use that knowledge to your advantage.

A general rule of thumb is ensuring your exhibition team has lots of positive energy. It will make them much more approachable, and your attendees will be more willing to share their thoughts and feelings, helping you qualify them. Learn more about creating energy in your exhibition team.


Now you’re ready to design your booth journey

Once you’ve done the audience research to find the answers to these questions, you have the emphatic knowledge needed to craft a booth journey that attracts and engages attendees.

But the work isn’t over yet. In our next article for this series, discover the role education plays in the Five E’s of Face-to-Face Engagement.

Posted 19/05/2020