There’s a tendency to view marketing campaigns through a lens of cynicism. A lot of it has to do with the unwelcomed ubiquity of ads in every aspect of modern life. People see advertisements as daily hassles from people they assume are trying to sell them something they don’t need. The truth is that this assessment isn’t always too far off the mark. The issue, however, with painting in broad strokes is that this cynical view of advertisement glosses over the difference between a run-of-the-mill marketing strategy and a great one.

Feeling for Your Audience

The key to stellar copy, to exceptional content, to outstanding marketing in any medium, can be summed up in a single word: empathy.

Creating engaging content centrally revolves around understanding your audience in a genuine and thoughtful way. Ask any seasoned professional in sales or marketing and they’ll tell you the same thing. To do it well, you have to believe in what you’re selling. That’s when your ability to empathize with your target market takes a different turn that shines through in your efforts to reach out. Professionals who believe in what they’re selling aren’t trying trick anyone into a conversion. You’re connecting with people in the hopes of delivering a product or service that can make a positive impact in their lives.

Changing Their Minds

That isn’t to say that things are always so simple. In an economy with fierce competition across almost every industry to speak of, there’s sometimes a grey area in terms of the tangible superiority of a given product or service. There are times when you might have considerations or doubts of your own about what a client brings to the table. The key to resolving those kinds of issues, from the perspective of a sales or marketing professional, is approaching your own concerns head on.

Aside from connecting with people in a genuine way, another indicator of a great piece of marketing is that it’s convincing to the person who created it as much as it is to a target persona. You know that you’ve come up with convincing content when you can overcome your own reservations in the process of crafting an argument in favor of your product or service. You know it’s good when you can change your own mind.

The reality is that there will always be used car salesmen and catchy jingles for useless junk. Call it the price we pay for being pampered by the amenities of modern life. But whichever side of the fence you sit on, it should be clear to you that people aren’t clueless. Predatory ads and shallow marketing efforts may generate a certain amount of ROI, but they ultimately damage your brand and turn away far more people than they convert. The best marketing efforts revolve around delivering a valuable product or service to people that you feel for. Those are the kinds of campaigns that stand out from the noise and convince others to let their guard down for just a minute to hear you out.

Mehran is a copywriter, editor and tech-savvy internet guy at Words by a Pro.