media update’s Taylor Goodman looks at what EQ is and why it is a crucial skill for those working in the marketing industry.

So, what does EQ actually mean? Howard Gardner, a Harvard theorist, defines it as “the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.”

PsychCentral splits EQ into five categories, namely:

Self-awareness: Your ability to identify your emotions and tune into your feelings. 
Self-regulation: This refers to the way you manage your emotions, behaviour and thoughts. 
Motivation: The act of motivating yourself and maintaining a positive attitude. 
Empathy: This is your ability to decipher other people’s feelings. 
Social skills: Any social skill, like efficient communication or conflict management. This can help build a more harmonious and efficient work environment. 

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you’re lashing out because you’re stressed at work, struggling to communicate or feeling a lull in confidence and productivity — you’re likely struggling with a depleted EQ. 

This, however, isn’t something you should beat yourself up about. The ability to navigate your emotions and social situations in the workplace, however necessary to work on, can take time. And with sustained time and effort, you will reap the rewards of your emotional labour. 

What are these fruits of labour, you ask? Well, some of the benefits of a high EQ in marketing are as follows:

EQ improves customer relations

Having a high EQ can benefit you in many ways when dealing with consumers. As this field deals largely with people, it would be a valuable skill to possess for any marketer. 

Firstly, when you master EQ, you will become more perceptive of the motivations behind people’s actions, what certain signals or cues mean and how you should react to them. 

As a marketer, this will be especially conducive to customer relations and social listening. Why? Let’s illustrate this point with an example:

If you are a marketer with a high EQ, it is likely that you have a good idea of how to read people’s emotional signals and respond to them. If you are in a scenario where you are dealing with a disgruntled customer, your emotional intelligence and conflict management skills could help you deal with the situation calmly and constructively. 

Conflict resolution is just one of the many ways that EQ can assist with customer relations. This skill could also be advantageous when used in combination with a social listening tool. 

Social listening is taking the public’s opinion about your brand into account and making changes according to that feedback. 

High levels of emotional intelligence will help you sift through this feedback and have a better understanding of what your audience wants from you.

John Turner, a founder for SeedProd, perfectly sums this up stating that “understanding the needs of your audience will help you emotionally connect to your customers.” 

Tools, like social media monitoring, can aid social listening by giving you direct access to the public’s opinion of your brand on digital platforms. 

These insights, coupled with your EQ, will help you form a clearer understanding of what your audience wants and what will be most effective in targeting them from a marketing perspective. 

This, however, is not where the benefits of a high EQ in customer relations end. 

As EQ makes sense of the consumer’s needs / wants via social listening, it allows you to use your social skills to understand the customer’s motivations. This, in turn, helps you market more efficiently and, thus, influences purchasing decisions. 

In the grand scheme of things, this knowledge helps with strengthening marketing automation and increasing conversions in the long haul. 

EQ can help to refine your brand

As stated in the point above, emotional intelligence helps us understand the consumer, which helps you to market to them more efficiently. However, this understanding of customer behaviour can also lend a hand in other areas of marketing. 

As your EQ grows, so will your social listening skills, and this will help you to mould and refine your brand according to what your audience wants. 

Lessburn, a growth consulting firm, elaborates on this point stating that “the reason why marketing campaigns fail to hit the mark is that many customers feel the disconnect between their favourite brands and their true needs.”

Now onto the ‘how?’. As a marketer that is actively cultivating self-awareness, you will be able to tap into consumer feedback, self-reflect on any holes in your marketing and make changes accordingly. 

For example, imagine that you are an online publication and you notice that political content does not give you the traction you would like on social media. Your social listening skills would help you understand that this content is ineffective, and help you look into other avenues that may be a bigger hit with your audience. 

As you become more self-aware, you will develop a deeper understanding of your audience, allowing you to align your brand with their expectations. 

EQ can help you strengthen your reputation

Another facet where high EQ is beneficial is when engaging with consumers. 

At this point, your self-awareness, self-reflection and empathy have helped you form a clearer understanding of your audience. You know what they like, what their pain points are and what their expectations of your brand are.

This knowledge can be used to your advantage when engaging with your audience on social platforms, when navigating conflict or when creating content for your social platforms.

Having positive and constructive engagement with your audience will help you build a good rapport and to cultivate a reputation as a relatable, empathetic and engaging brand. 

An example of how your EQ can come in handy is when engaging in conversations with your audience on social media. If a follower is bashing your brand, you can use this skill to communicate calmly and with empathy. 

Taking the high road in this sense will definitely work in your favour as consumers will remember how when faced with aggression, you chose to handle it with tact. It’s situations like this that will aid you in building a positive brand reputation.

Do you have any tips on becoming more emotionally intelligent? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Do you want to know more about the power of the mind in marketing? Then be sure to check out The psychology behind consumer behaviour.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy