This is the first in a three-part series on Strategic Secret Weapons and – spoiler alert – these are not really secrets. These are practical, known but often-overlooked steps by clients and busy agencies. However, they are crucial to gathering the market intelligence that you need to differentiate your brand and drive revenue. So often clients and agencies jump straight to crafting ads based on what the brand has to offer without really understanding what the audience needs, what the competition is doing, and what is the best way to tell the brand’s story. FUEL takes a critical approach in revealing a brand’s best chance to be successful.
Part One – Consumer Insights
We’ve all been on “that date.” The date that only talked about themselves, bragged on how exciting they were, and never asked about you or what makes you tick. Don’t let your brand be “that date.” Start with really understanding your target audience and their emotional and rational needs. What hurdles and opportunities are they facing? Not everyone has the luxury of dropping five figures on focus groups or investing in a quantitative brand perception study. But there are other accessible tactics that can help brands ask thoughtful questions and help them better understand their customer:
- Chart out a customer journey map – A group exercise where key stakeholders literally map out the steps your customer takes from awareness to purchase, identifying hurdles, barriers, opportunities, and fast-tracks to conversion.
- Monitor call center survey activity- If you have a product with a customer service or call center, survey your frontline operators on what they are hearing. Listen in on calls or recordings. It is here that your customers are telling you their pain points. Take advantage of that.
- Nurture sales & distribution relationships – If your revenue is driven through sales or distribution, as a marketer, you need to spend time with those teams. Understand your key client and identify how you can either deepen the relationship with existing clients or find more clients like them. What are the tools the sales team needs to do its job better?
- Conduct social polls – If you have an active, engaged social audience, keep them in the conversation with polls and surveys on a regular basis. Ask them what’s making them nervous or excited. Ask them what they want to see in a Black Friday sale or a new product line.
- Survey your database – On bi-annual bases (or as your seasonality dictates), survey your customers on how your brand is supporting (or not supporting) their needs. Ask the same, close-ended questions in each survey so that you can see a rise or fall in your numbers. Most customers don’t need a fancy survey tool – just a way to communicate with brands.
Healthy relationships thrive on good two-way communication. Even brand relationships!
Up next…. Watch out. The competition is eyeballing your customer.