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October 24, 2014

Cut Through the Clutter with Better Customer Insight

Today, marketing ploys are ubiquitous. Whether you’re shopping for a new car, a new software platform, or some sandwich mustard, the amount of options we’re exposed to is overwhelming and quite paralyzing. This experience leaves buyers exhausted and often times, empty-handed. As marketing and sales teams test through various strategies to gain attention, it’s important to keep your target audience’s needs in mind. What pain points are they experiencing? Where are they shopping? What do they read? What does their home life look like? What are their main job responsibilities and who are they reporting to? All of these questions are key to understanding your market and honing in on the best solution to drive new leads.
To break away from the clutter and stand out as a trusted business, here are four ways your marketing and sales teams can capture valuable data to gain more information about potential customers: 
1. Interview your current customers with trackable online form. 
In order to understand your potential customers, it’s best to first understand your current ones. Send out a survey to all customers, clients, etc., asking for important profile information. Be sure to use open-ended questions or if you must include a “yes” or “no” question, provide a follow-up. Online form tools such as Formstack offer conditional logic capabilities, allowing you to tailor the survey as customers answer certain ways. Formstack also provides you with testing and reporting capabilities so that you can see how many views you’ve had vs. how many submissions. 
2. Customize documentation based on information.
Documentation sharing is key when it comes to leveraging customer information across multiple departments. One of the biggest pitfalls of a marketing and sales team is that they don’t have proper access or channels to share information they learn. Leverage a document creation tool like WebMerge to auto-populate the submissions you receive from your online survey. Pre-fill a PDF or Word Doc that provides context to the rest of the company and share this information via email, Dropbox or Box straight from the WebMerge application. Collecting information is the easy part, but making sure your entire staff is using that same information can be tricky. 
3. Create targeted-focused content. 
Once you’ve surveyed your customers, analyze any patterns and create targeted content based on segments. If you notice that certain types of customers tend to have a longer life-time value, focus on what information they need. Ask them how they like to consume content to help their business and lean on that to drive creative and marketing assets. 
4. Engage via social media.
You can also leverage this new-found information with social media. Find the key opinion leaders in the audience segments you’re targeting. Follow them and see what kind of communication style they have. This doesn’t mean you need to change your brand or communications approach, but it is good to be aware of how people are conversing. Join the conversation and even test different social ad campaigns through Twitter and Facebook. Facebook has robust data on its users and could shed some light on who your customers really are and what they respond to. 


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