Today, everything is becoming so focused around quantitative data and surveys about what our customers are thinking. This data allows for a more standardized and concise way to market and reach potential customers. But what happened to empathy in this process?


What happened to going back to simply asking how these people feel? And answering it with something honest and true—not just some percentage that supposedly encapsulates their needs and wishes?

Quantitative data allows products to be more relevant to clients

It makes sense why advertisers and marketers rely more on hard facts these days. Doing so allows the digital world to be tracked: Where people go. How much time they spend on each site. What purchases they make with their credit cards and how often. And so much more.

It’s easy to see what our consumers are doing from a numbers perspective—and then base our messaging solely off of that. That’s because we equate quantitative data as black and white, which is simpler to understand.

Need for interpersonal interaction

But through that process, we start losing the heart and soul of reaching out to an audience. We lose the empathy and human connection. We lose relationships and trust formed from these interactions. Because when we cross the line from interpersonal relationships to computer screens, we’re talking to data and not people.

And if you consider how much an emotional connection really plays into purchasing decisions—about 80% in fact—why don’t we tap into that more? If we know this quantitative statistic points to an overwhelming need for human interaction, why are we utilizing it less and less?

Examples in entertainment

For Mad Men fans out there, the show brought in the agency’s first computer, which represented the beginning of the trend of data influencing advertising rather than basic human insight.

During the show the following statement comes from Mr. Lease Tech: “The IBM 360 can count more stars in a day than any man can count in a lifetime.” To which Don replies: “What man laid on his back and thought of a number?”

Finding a balance

While numbers, facts and figures are important in today’s world to gain a base knowledge about our consumers, we can’t forget to look deeper into human truth.

We can’t forget to ask ourselves about how our audience feels. What makes them curious. What makes them worry. And what will really drive them to making a purchasing decision.

True, there’s more grey area involved by not solely relying on facts, but the result can be much more rewarding. Because in the end, consumers want to feel like they’re being talked to like people and not data.

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Quantitative compilation of data helps track clients’ interests, activity and frequency. This black and white approach creates a concise process that often lacks human connection. Building relationships with clients creates trust. While seen as a more grey area, it ultimately helps the client decide to make a purchase. Learning to balance numbers and empathy in interacting with a prospective client is a worthwhile skill to acquire. It allows for both relationships to form as well as purchases to be made.