Manifesto: Empathy-Driven Marketing

Coercion-Driven vs. Empathy-Driven Marketing

Many years ago — around 2005 — I figured out an interesting “side-effect” of a type of marketing I had adopted and bet the farm on.

I won’t lie, I was making a lot of what I was doing up.

Jay Abraham had given me a conceptual pointer in a “fuzzy” direction after I had read his Strategy of Preeminence (PDF).

But SOP was an esoteric high-level philosophy.

It didn’t provide any “how to” guidance…

There were no “signposts” along the way to indicate I was doing shit correctly and heading in the right direction.

I was on my own to interpret what SOP meant to me.

Before I continue, I want to make suggestion:


Whether you decide to invest in Sphere of Influence (SOI) or not, I’m going to give you a marketing education that you won’t find anywhere else.

Recently I received this email (image below) from Paul Murphy, a new SOI customer.

Notice what he said about just reading and being exposed to my marketing:

Paul Murphy

(I have fistfuls of similar emails.)

I’m giving you that opportunity now.

Firstly, I’m going to start by establishing a “frame” that the rest of this mini-course will operate within.

Around a decade after I had started on this journey of interpreting Jay’s SOP, I purchased and read a book by Bernadette Jiwa (on November 24, 2014).

I love Bernadette’s books. I own all seven of them.

This book — Marketing: A Love Story (How to Matter to Your Customers) — confirmed that others had been on a similar journey…

… and that the marketing “side-effect” they had experienced, mirrored what I had validated myself over the past decade.

The rest of this mini-course is about this decade-long journey, compressed down into seven pages.

One of the biggest challenges an entrepreneur or innovator has is understanding how to make his ideas RESONATE.

We tend to have no shortage of ideas, but we struggle to tell the story of how they are going to be useful in the world and why they will matter to people.

MARKETING is the way we communicate how our ideas translate to value for people seeking to solve a problem or meet a desired outcome.

So, rather than think of marketing as a necessary evil, what if we adopted a DIFFERENT view of it?

What if marketing was LESS about promotion and COERCION and more about reaching out to people and helping them to SOLVE PROBLEMS?

What if marketing was how we found more ways to do better work and MATTER to our audience?

What if marketing was where we BEGAN our journey towards UNDERSTANDING what people need and want?

What if it was our vantage point for SEEING THE WORLD through the eyes of our customers?

What if, before making a pencil stroke or writing a single line of code, every entrepreneur and innovator BEGAN by seeing the world through a marketer’s lens and asking:

“Why will someone care about this?”

How different would marketing be then?

We have a choice.

To EITHER do work we care about or not.

To put ourselves into our work.

To LOVE what we do and CARE about the people we do it for.

If this thing or idea you’re selling really doesn’t matter to you, why would you sell it?

I’m going to refer to all entrepreneurs and innovators and makers and creators and artists as “marketers” from here onwards.

We’re all use marketing to communicate our message to the world in an attempt to resonate with as many people as possible.

We’re all marketers.

And I believe marketers fall into one of two categories.

Some try and straddle both.

But the truth is that it’s a binary choice; we’re either one or the other.

Just like you can’t be “a little bit” pregnant. ūüôā

And the clue of who these two groups are I put right in the title of this page:

Coercion vs. Empathy.

Or, put another way:

  • Coercion-Driven Marketing
  • Empathy-Driven Marketing

We don’t always internalize our behavior in such a binary way, especially when that behavior is associated with something negative.

Yet the truth is that the BEHAVIOR of most marketers falls squarely in the Coercion-Driven Marketing category.

Coercion: as in being a bully, employing duress, persuasion techniques, harassment, insistence, arm-twisting, fake pressure and scarcity, engineered social proof to get the sale.

There’s nothing positive about any of those.

The opposite behavior is when we LEAD with empathy.

When we take the time to see the way other people see, feel the way other people feel.

On an intellectual level, we understand that leading with empathy is better than wrapping “coercion” around our marketing efforts.

But our behavior tells a very different story, and this is what counts to the people we seek to matter to.

So many of us are wired to promote our stuff without stopping to think that the people we’re seeking to serve almost always see the world DIFFERENTLY to us (different beliefs, different worldview).

So instead of slowing down to meet people where they’re at, we choose to use hype and hoopla and coercion to get the sale as fast as possible without the need to employ empathy.

There’s a better way.

And it works like magic.

It doesn’t require any hype and hoopla.

And it doesn’t require coercion and being the schoolyard-bully to get the sale.

One word of warning tho before you can “create magic”:

CHANGE is required if you decide you want to move from Coercion-Driven Marketing to Empathy-Driven Marketing.

I’ll spend the next few pages going deeper by pulling on this thread.

If this interests you, great.

Let’s head deeper down the rabbit hole then.


—Andre “I have a recipe for magic” Chaperon
Andre Chaperon


“Great marketers have empathy — empathy for what’s going through the other person’s head.”