Blog Feed Post

Why Customer Insights Will Improve Your Strategic Marketing Plan

Interviews: 7

Hours: 21

Transcribed words: 3,478

Customer insights: Priceless.

We recently delivered our latest content-driven marketing plan, and here’s what happened during our presentation of slides 9-16: Reassuring nods. Quizzical looks. And of course, the almost too common, “Who in the hell said THAT?”

Slides 9-16 were a recap of the customer and employee interviews we conduct as part of the marketing planning process, and when presented, they always generate discussion. Sometimes, clients are so shocked, I wonder, “Are you actually talking to your customers regularly?” That was not the case here, yet the customer insights still managed to get folks to sit up and pay attention.

Getting these insights out of customers is not as easy as it seems. It starts with identifying the right mix of customers and asking them (ever so nicely) to spend an hour of their time speaking to someone they don’t know about their impressions of the company in question. Then it requires a mix of luck and skill to schedule and prepare for those interviews, followed by the ability to steer the interview in the intended direction, even when the interviewees seem intent on talking about what they want to talk about. It may not be Edward R. Murrow or even Barbara Walters-level work, but it does require a certain knack for getting answers to the important questions.

So why do companies sometimes resist this type of primary research effort? Sometime it’s the anticipated effort and depletion of relationship capital. Sometimes it’s that the company thinks it already knows their customers’ perceptions. And sometimes it’s just a decision to take a shortcut.

Here are just a few reasons why the shortcut is a terrible idea, and why incorporating customer insights into your plan is essential.

It forces you to take an outside-in approach to your messaging.

It’s astonishing how many executive-level thinkers still develop messaging from the inside-out, meaning they decide which messages they think will resonate with their customers. Really, hotshot? Talk to your customers, man. Or have someone else talk to them, because perhaps your customers won’t give you the real scoop.

Here’s the deal. It’s not that you want your customers to solely determine your messaging, but if you hear similar messages and themes from a group of customers, then you have to consider whether they are right, and you are wrong.

It impacts your product and service offering.

Congratulations. You sold your customers a product or service, and they are now using it in some form or fashion. Have you checked back in with them to see if they still agree with the way the product or service was/is packaged and priced, or are you assuming that because they haven’t canceled their subscription or fired your firm that they are in love with what they were sold?

By interviewing the right customers and asking the right questions, you will find out what they truly value about your product or service and — just as important — what they don’t. Like messaging, the answers may not be the lone factor in determining your product or service offering, but they ought to play a major part.

It informs the types of content you create and the topics you cover.

No-brainer alert. With content-driven marketing as critical an approach as ever, customer research will help you determine the types of topics you need to address. Heck, customers may even feed you the specific topics they’d pay attention to.

Will your audience read blog posts? Ask your customers. Will they attend a webinar? Ask your customers. Do they assign more credibility to you if you speak at the big industry trade show or run a local workshop? Ask your customers.

It helps you lead the horse to water.

As the proverb says, you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink. From a marketing standpoint, how about this: lead the horse to water, and at least you have a shot that he may drink.

The water is your distribution channels. By doing customer interviews and asking about where they get their educational material — which blogs, industry publications, trade shows, or podcasts they pay attention to — you will gain an understanding of where your earned and paid media opportunities lie.

It keeps you top of mind.

What I often find when we conduct these interviews is that the customer has NO idea about all the things their partner/vendor offers. By discovering that, we often identify that priority one in the marketing plan is to inform and educate the existing customer base about what the company offers before we even reach out to prospective customers. After all, it costs seven times more to obtain a new customer than to retain an existing one.

And here’s the bonus (as if you need one): In these interviews, customers are often reminded of why they love your company or service and then say things like, “I’d be happy to send other customers their way.” Talk about business development gold — loyal customers referring prospective customers? For god’s sake, people, make sure you include customer insights in your marketing planning process.

Need help with marketing planning? Download our eBook, “Build Your Content Marketing Plan: A 10-Step Guide.” Or just get in touch. We’d be happy to chat with your customers as a starting point.

The post Why Customer Insights Will Improve Your Strategic Marketing Plan appeared first on Right Source Marketing.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mike Sweeney

Mike Sweeney and Right Source Marketing help organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

Latest Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...