Five Ways to Gain Customer Insight: A Guide for Marketers
Whether you work as a marketer or you are thinking of starting your own business, marketing is one of the most crucial factors of every successful business.
Without it, how can you hope to sell your products and services?
“You can’t just place a few “Buy” buttons on your website and expect your visitors to buy.” – Neil Patel
Exactly! In order for you to be a successful leader, you need to advertise your products and services, observe the market all the time in order to find out what are people’s preferences.
With by using this information you can create a good marketing strategy.
In this article, we will discuss what strategies you can use to get that information, a proper feedback from your customers, which you can use to make your products and services better and more suitable for a target audience.
That said, we will focus mostly on this part of marketing, not the basics itself.
If you wish to learn more about marketing in its core, there is a great marketing guide that explains it very well.
1. Keep track of your clients’ activities
In order for you to find out what people want, you need to have an active communication with your clients and consumers.
That way, you are able to get a proper feedback on their preferences: what kind of products or services they like and what are their key factors when it comes to deciding what products to buy.
In theory, the perfect way to analyze the market is by observing it in a real-time and getting all the information you need at once. In the real world, this is not possible.
For instance, if you want to launch a product in, let’s say, Seattle, you cannot be 100% sure if the product will be a success, even if you had previously observed the Seattle area and got all the data you thought to be relevant.
All you can, in this case, is make assumptions and offer predictive data of the potential success or failure, because even though, markets work in real time, results don’t often come in real time.
That’s why you should constantly be in an active communication with your clients, so you could make the best possible predictions to minimize the chance of failure.
Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to do that, and CRM software being one of the most popular.
CRM, which stands for “Customer Relationship Management” is a system which allows you to nurture the communication and relationship with your clients and makes the data streaming much easier for you, allowing you to make important decisions much more efficiently.
“Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability, and growth.” – Tom Cates
Since CRM software is capable of analyzing a large number of data, which on a first glance may not seem connected to each other, you can find out a lot from the results and connect some dots, learning that some things are connected after all.
This will help you when you need to make important decisions, for instance: what type of questionnaires to use in some specific area or what analytic tools to use to get the needed insight from your clients.
There is a lot of software to choose from, some are good, others not so much.
Here are some of the most popular ones.
2. Knowledge is power!
“Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them to do so.” – Bryan Eisenberg
And there is no better way of learning what your clients want than to ask them about it.
Do not be afraid to ask. It’s like when you are a child afraid to ask questions in school because you think you would be called out a nerd. Never be afraid to ask questions. Always remember that knowledge is power!
It is the same in business. The more you know about your clients, the higher are your chances for success.
Knowing what kind of product or service to offer to the customers, what niche to target and what sales strategy to use is very important.
That is why asking is crucial.
There are a lot of ways to get a proper feedback from your clients nowadays.
First and foremost there are questionnaires. They are a written form of surveys and are a very handy tool to use.
Questionnaires come in a paper or electronic form. Since this is the age of the internet, this type of survey is very widespread.
It is really useful for both domestic and international companies.
Domestic firms can use it to get a feedback about their products or services in the domestic market, thus allowing them to target a specific audience by comparing the answers of people with similar characteristics (i.e. people of a certain age interval, people with similar habits or just people from the same town).
International companies can use questionnaires the same way domestic firms use them, with the addition of foreign markets.
International companies, unlike domestic ones, do business in multiple countries and have access to their markets, which allows them to get a feedback from the people of different cultures, habits and wealth.
They can use it as one of the factors when making important decisions, like price, quality, and type of the products or services.
Questionnaires in a paper form are often much harder to conduct because you would have to hire a large group of people to hand them out personally to your clients.
Questionnaires in an electronic form are much more used nowadays. It is really easy to hand them out since there are a lot of option to choose from, ranging from e-mails, online survey software to social media.
With it, you can even target the audience you want to hear from by setting up the software to allow only people who fit certain criteria to participate in a survey.
Of course, there is a chance consumers won’t answer truthfully, but that is a risk with every type of survey.
You know those situations when you are home, chilling and eating popcorn and suddenly your phone starts ringing. You answer, some random guy or girl introduce themselves, saying they represent some company etc.
Then, you being a polite person as you should be, you accept to hear them out and then end up answering hundreds of their questions for the next 15 minutes.
This is one type of interview, which is another way of getting feedback from your customers. This type of interview, called phone interview has become a common way of communication between the client and the company.
Although there are always speculations, whether it is useful or not because a large number of people would just hang up the phone when they hear “Good afternoon, I am calling on behalf of the (company name). Do you have a few minutes to answer some questions please?”
Gina Novick, Associate Professor at Yale School of Nursing, conducted a research about whether telephone interviews are as efficient as face-to-face interviews.
The results showed that it really depends on the type and field of research in question and whether it’s a quantitative or qualitative research.
Another type of interview is a face-to-face interview. It is the more private type of communication between the customer and the producer, and it is a great way to get input from clients since when people are more relaxed when they feel their privacy isn’t threatened, they tend to talk about their impressions much more, which is useful for them and company both.
That way the company can learn whether their consumers liked the product, whether they think the price is right or what are key factors they consider when buying their product, while at the same time clients feel important and happy that maybe their favorite company cares about the people by listening to their personal suggestions or complaints.
3. Marital status: Married to my clients
Every relationship is hard. One thing that separates successful and failed relationships is trust. Without trust, it is not a really productive relationship.
It is the same in business. In order for you to receive a positive feedback and increase your sales, you need to establish trust between you, as a producer, and client.
In theory, this doesn’t sound too difficult, but in reality, it is. In order for you to establish trust, you need to consider many factors, but if you manage to do it, then the results are usually very fruitful.
When people trust you as a company and they like your product, they will be more eager to recommend it to their friends or family, who will, if they feel the same way, do the exact same thing.
It all leads to you getting a lot of new clients because you are cherished for keeping your word and showing a constant care for your clients.
To earn trust, you need to consider your clients’ wishes. Doesn’t matter if you think your product is perfect if consumers don’t.
A happy customer is a loyal customer, so you need to constantly analyze the market, keep open communication with your clients because that way you can learn what are their preferences, what they like, what they hate, which will help you make a product they want.
And when consumers like a product, they will happily spend money on it, which means that your profit will go up.
A great example of reaching that point of trust and intimacy with their clients is Coca-Cola’s marketing campaign “Share a Coke”, that was launched in Australia in 2011.
Apart from recommendations, you can also hire people whose job will be to influence other people and try to appeal them to your products or services.
That’s why CRM software is very important. These people would be able to use it in order to analyze data and find the most suitable audience to target.
Some people are easier to influence than others, i.e. TV commercials showed that old and retired people are much more susceptible to them, since they often buy the products from TV Shops.
So it is crucial to find out what are the most easier group you can influence and attract them to your products or services.
4. Don’t be afraid to experiment
You can never be certain if consumers will like your product or not until you release it on the market. As we’ve already mentioned, you can just minimize the risk of failure by doing thorough research of the market and follow trends.
But that fear of failure shouldn’t stop you from launching the products every time you have doubts. The best way to learn what your clients like is through trial and error system.
In order for you not to fail completely, you should make different types of the same product, or to say it professionally, you should disperse the risk. If clients don’t like one type of product, they will like another.
Also, when you make a marketing campaign, you can try testing some of the features first before you go public.
Sometimes you can make different types of the same element (i.e. brochures) to see how well all the parts fit together and when you are completely sure that everything is in place, you should launch your marketing campaign and hope that you made a right prediction.
5. Be everywhere!
Lastly, in order for you to be able to actually communicate with your clients, you need to have a thorough understanding of all available communication channels: E-Mails, phones, TV commercials, E-Stores on your websites, billboards, and social media. All of this can boost your customer numbers and eventually your sales.
Doing a thorough analysis of what types of communication certain client groups like, you can get a good idea of how to approach them in order to bring them closer to you.
Older generations mostly prefer some of the well-established ways of communication, like TV commercials, phone contact and direct interaction with the seller, while young generations live in the age of the internet, thus they prefer social media and e-mails.
Social media is probably one of the most important ways of communication nowadays. Literally a lot of people, both adults and children use at least one social media. And oh boy, there are a lot to choose from. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat.
As the title suggests: Be everywhere! The possibilities of communicating with your clients are almost endless. You can use different social media for different purposes.
Twitter is an excellent tool to post new announcements and inform your customers about everything. It might not be as popular in some parts of the world as in the US, it is still considered as one of the busiest social media out there.
Facebook offers you a wide range of possibilities to do with it. From creating events and making announcements, to communicating privately with your clients about any issues they might have and promoting your websites and other social media profiles on your Facebook page. You could also make polls to ask for a feedback about your products or services. Really, the possibilities are huge.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. It started just as a platform where you could post pictures, but since then, it has grown and became much more than that. Nowadays, people and companies have set up their own e-stores via Instagram, allowing people to go to the targeted product with just one click, without having to browse through the entire website. Just a simple click on an advert or a photo and you are there.
If you are interested in more in-depth usage of social media for marketing purposes, you should start with 10 laws of social media marketing.
Apart from these three main social media platforms, we will mention two more.
They are not exactly considered to be social media platforms, but still, their use is becoming more and more widespread. I am, of course, talking about WhatsApp and Viber.
Both WhatsApp and Viber are made to be simple messaging apps to allow free international calls and messages for their users, but eventually, both companies and regular people saw their potential.
Nowadays you can use WhatsApp and Viber for the exact same thing you would use your e-mails, phones, and social media platforms: to communicate with your clients.
Simply create a company’s number, install the applications and share it on your website or social media pages.
Your customers will be eager to contact you with any questions or feedback they might have.
This works perfectly well especially with smaller firms because they often don’t have to take thousands of calls and answer thousands of messages every day.
There you go, folks!
Whether you are a professional marketer or just a person who wanted to learn more about what are the ways of getting feedback from your clients, I am sure this article was helpful to you.