Better technology doesn’t guarantee better marketing
The evolution of digital tools and tactics has given today’s marketers an abundance of ways to get messages in front of prospects. Social media, marketing automation, programmatic ad buys—there is a long and growing list of tactics that increase our ability to control who we reach, when and where. Unfortunately, many of these new opportunities are being wasted. The problem isn’t with the new technology—it’s an underlying problem with marketing fundamentals. If you are interested in buying new technology, then visit ie8optimized.com to read the latest reviews about different gadgets.
The truth is, that while many marketers pay lip service to focusing on customer needs, most don’t know enough about the prospects they are trying to reach. What are their needs, challenges and aspirations? What real problems can we help them solve or goals can we help them achieve? The more information we have, the easier it is to cut through the noise and connect. If we end up reaching more people in more places, but are stuck using the same off-target, non-differentiated messages and content, the new technology simply increases our ability to get ignored.
Bring it into focus
Marketing works best when it is built on a rich understanding of what target customers really care about. It aligns their wants, needs and challenges with the information, products and services you have to offer, enabling messaging and content that engages prospects, because it’s more relevant to their situation and interests. It helps you speak to them in the familiar, as a helpful friend, rather than as marketer to customer. This is a marketing fundamental that’s all too often glossed over. At LoSasso, we call it Customer Focus.
The problem with what (you think) you know
Most companies claim to know their customers, but the information many marketing teams have to work from is very one-dimensional – a few key industries, job titles and some general demographic info. Without deeper insights, marketing teams end up focusing on what product managers think is most important – product features, specs and price points. All important information, but not much in the way of real customer benefits, and not much help unless your prospect already knows you and is fast approaching the bottom of the sales funnel.
If we are going to do our most effective work as marketers—on the client and agency side—we have to push for greater customer insights. We need to identify where we have gaps, propose strategies for gathering and documenting information, and paint a clear picture of why it’s so important to supplement the tribal knowledge and industry stereotypes that often go unquestioned, with a new, more informed perspective.
Off the soap box and back to reality
When reminded of the importance of Customer Focus, most sales and marketing types get fired up about the impact deeper customer insights could have on their marketing and sales performance. Unfortunately, the desire for richer knowledge doesn’t always trigger an immediate investment in new research and focus groups. If you find yourself in that situation – maybe it’s the end of first quarter and budgets are already set for the year; or maybe your boss would “love to do this, but there’s just no money right now” — don’t despair, we’ve all been there. There are always things you can’t control. Set the table for the future and keep advocating for change.
You can still make it happen
If you’re not in a position to commission a formal deep dive now, but you can sense how valuable it would be to supplement what you know about your customers – it may be time to take matters into your own hands, write your own rules and go guerilla.
The LoSasso Guerilla Guide to Customer Focus is a guidebook full of simple ideas to help you get customer insights when you have to get down and dirty and find the information yourself. You’ll learn how to:
- Leverage your web analytics and paid search reports
- Find hidden insights in site search and customer comment forms
- Mine industry forums for unexpected problems you can solve
- Get free customer research from industry media partners
- Release siloed insights from your sales team and distribution channel
And more…27 ideas in all to be exact. It’s not rocket science, it’s marketing 101, but sometimes you have to get back the basics and shore up the foundation. So download it now, get busy and go guerilla. Because if you don’t know what matters to your key customers, you’re probably not giving them what they really want. Which means, all the fancy targeting technology in the world won’t stop them from scrolling right past you with a yawn.