Moving on from ROI to ROE, a Return on Empathy

Business has always concentrated on Return on Investment (ROI) as the primary metric to calculate success. However, innovations in the neurosciences to developments in social media have revealed that profitability should no longer be relegated to sales figures and profit margins alone. Increasingly, to create sustainable customer relationships, businesses must attend to innovations in psychology, and invest in the emotional needs of their customers. Those making this shift will gain a significant ROE – Return on Empathy.

Investing in Empathy

A business that invests in empathy devotes itself to understanding the emotional needs and motivations of its customers, and aligns itself to meet them. Companies have increasingly embraced the role of emotion in selling products and services, but often merely pay lip service to its importance, without understanding how to harness it.

We know human motivation is extremely complex – typically people don’t say what they think, or even think what they report. As a result significant business resources are wasted buy an over-reliance on market research that poses only rational questions but neglects to probe customers’ emotional reactions that lie hidden within their answers. When businesses look beyond the rational data, and into the meaning behind their customers’ feelings, and behaviors, they will recognize the human needs that drive decision making.


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About the Author

Mark Ingwer PhD is a consumer psychologist and the managing partner of Insight Consulting Group, a global marketing and strategy consultancy specializing in market research and consumer insights. He has over 25 years of experience applying his unique blend of psychology, marketing, and business acumen to helping companies optimize their brand and marketing strategy based on an in-depth understanding of their customers. He is the author of the book, Empathetic Marketing published by Palgrave.

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