How well do you really know your customers?

31. December 2020

30-second summary:

  • With the arrival of digital, marketers genuinely believed they would suddenly get to know their customers even better than before. Data analytics was hailed as a panacea for modern marketers, supposedly removing all the niggling blind spots in the customer journey.
  • Despite the fact that the average marketing team now uses a whopping 91 different martech tools, your customers’ behavior will still constantly surprise you. And because humans, by nature, are complicated souls who don’t conform, digital marketers are still getting it wrong.
  • Identifying buyer personas is often a core part of a solid marketing strategy. Yet, talking and listening to customers is increasingly being overlooked when it comes to the techniques being employed to learn more about target audiences.
  • For businesses where the phone is a conversion point, this provides an opportunity to really listen, and analyze, what is happening on those calls. The latest and most sophisticated technology on the market is able to capture insight from the calls and identify patterns that can then inform marketing spend.

The customers-sellers relationship, until the twentieth century, had remained relatively unchanged for millennia. Buyer wants new things, tells seller and seller obliges. Seller suggests new things, buyer obliges.

It was a deal where quality, availability and competitive pricing were rewarded with loyalty. The seller would know everything about the buyer because they talked directly to them. They would know where they lived, their spending patterns and their product preferences.

With the arrival of digital, marketers genuinely believed they would suddenly get to know their customers even better than before. Data analytics was hailed as a panacea for modern marketers, supposedly removing all the niggling blind spots in the customer journey.

This new age promised to be a direct line into the minds and secret lives of consumers; the ability to track their every move and evaluate their preferences, resulting in more accuracy than ever.

Yet, as the tools available became more sophisticated, the one thing that used to define how much you understood customer behavior – actually talking, and listening, to them – actually decreased.

Getting it wrong

You don’t have to be a marketer to understand how frustrating inaccurate digital targeting is. You only have to log into your own Facebook ad preferences to learn what it thinks you like, or who you are, based on your browsing data.

One false move can seriously skew the algorithm; a click on an outlier news story or post can take you from being a middle-aged dog-lover, to Love Island’s biggest fan. That’s not to say you can’t be both, but if you don’t want to be then we have a problem.

More importantly, digital ads aren’t just sometimes poorly targeted, they can be dangerous. Painful reminders of things you may have searched for in the past – such as how to arrange a funeral or how to deal with fertility issues – have been damaging for every party, not least the individuals involved.

Despite the fact that the average marketing team now uses a whopping 91 different martech tools, your customers’ behavior will still constantly surprise you. And because humans, by nature, are complicated souls who don’t conform, digital marketers are still getting it wrong.

So, really getting to know what motivates your customers cannot begin and end with tracking their digital journeys. A holistic discovery of the customer starts with the initial research into exactly who it is you are marketing to.

Persona building

Identifying buyer personas is often a core part of a solid marketing strategy. Yet, talking and listening to customers is increasingly being overlooked when it comes to the techniques being employed to learn more about target audiences.

In a 2019 survey of B2B marketers into how they research their target audiences, customer conversations came eighth on the list, with sales team feedback at the top, closely followed by web analytics.

One of the big problems with not prioritizing customer conversations is that customer concerns can shift rapidly. Take COVID-19 as an example.

No one could have predicted the impact the pandemic was going to have, but those businesses that listened to their customers, whether B2B or B2C, are the ones who ultimately are more likely to weather the storm. Meeting your customers where they want to be, with empathy, as opposed to relying purely on digital analysis, allows for a 360 view of the customer to be built.

The power of conversation

For businesses where the phone is a conversion point, this provides an opportunity to really listen, and analyze, what is happening on those calls. The latest and most sophisticated technology on the market is able to capture insight from the calls and identify patterns that can then inform marketing spend.

This adds an extra, real-time layer of information to your demographic building and allows marketers to discover the latest trends in customer behavior that they wouldn’t otherwise have been privy to.

With the phone seeing something of a renaissance in 2020, thanks to our forced isolation, there couldn’t be a more fitting time to re-evaluate how you’re measuring the on and offline customer journey. The most sophisticated marketing tool at our disposal is conversation – talking, yes, but most importantly listening. Without that, we can never really claim to know our customers.

The post How well do you really know your customers? appeared first on ClickZ.

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