Radical empathy

Go the extra mile, and genuinely put yourself into the customer’s shoes. Would you give up your email for that whitepaper? Would you join that webinar? Would you buy that product without a free trial?

And if you wouldn’t…  then why would they?


  • It is always easier to reason from our own perspective, and think about what we want to get out of an interaction. But marketers need to be obsessed with the market. We need to obsess over what it is that people want, what people want to buy, and what people want to experience. It’s all about them.
  • When you put a form on your website to capture leads, make sure that it is abundantly clear for users why each field of the form needs to be filled in, and why that returns something of value to them. Why do you need to know their first name and last name? Why do you need to know their job position, and their company name? What value does that bring to them? Always take their perspective.
  • Another form of radical empathy is to understand how chaotic and loud their environment is. Whether you send them an email or direct them to a landing page, make sure that all the important things are easy to find.
  • You spend 60 hours/week working on this product, but for them it’s something completely new. Some things that are obvious to you, aren’t obvious to a first time visitor of your website or app.
  • For every piece of marketing you put out there, ask yourself: “how does this tangible piece improve their lives?”. What is the insight they will take away from interacting with you? How will they be more successful because they saw your message? What’s in it for them?

In Practice

Amazon is a great example of radical empathy in practice. For starters, the Amazon UX is extremely streamlined and smooth. Everything is easy, and all information is easy to find. But also behind the scenes, Amazon works hard to obsess over how to keep customers happy. Jeff Bezos obsesses over fulfilling his basic promises to customers: how can Amazon make things cheaper for customers? How can they deliver things faster? How can they make the transaction easier? How can every aspect of buying from Amazon be extremely smooth, and extremely low-friction? For Amazon, everything else is second to customer obsession. That’s radical empathy at work.

Pair with

  • Seth Godin
Play the long game