CMO Desk - Research & Insights...The True Nature of Your Business

Need to grow your audience in 2019? Start by listening to the customers you already have.

Anyone can do research and social listening and get reports from customer support and sales.

What do your customers say outside of sales calls and cold emails?

It’s HOW your questions and answers are worded and phrased that is key to getting the insights your business needs to thrive. That’s where you start to respond vs react to customer needs and wants and ultimately grow.

My favorite time spent in years of marketing has been on developing research materials for every brand I’ve ever worked on from Garnier to MasterCard to MD On-Line (now Ability). I have found that conscious engagement with customers and prospects is where the gold lies.

Let’s talk real time here. When I hear many clients say, “We’ve done research and it was OK, yeah we did that.” I like to share the below examples of how understanding the true nature of what drives their audience to engage and become fans of their business.

Service Based Client Case:

A high touch, consultancy client was repositioning and fine tuning their brand positioning with the clear objective of “grow our audience/client base”. They prided themselves on how they “customized” each client engagement with their offerings and the “tailored approach” is an attribute of their work most of their clients liked and valued about their offerings. When we surveyed - it came up at the bottom of the list! The research shed light on other incredible aspects of their service they were not playing up enough to attract new customers e.g. their knowledge and experience and their understanding and empathetic approach. We concluded that a “tailored” approach is the cost of entry for a high touch consultancy and not the deal closer.

Product Based Client Case:

A skincare brand client scaling up with investor funding had the specific goal of “finding out what makes them unique” in an effort to strengthen their position in a highly competitive market. They were under the impression that the “ease of use” and “prescribed daily ritual and routine” of their product lines was key to their success. No doubt the products worked together and for full efficacy skincare is a daily to-do for everyone. But is “ease of use and a system” enough to grow and deliver heaps more customers? Turns out - not so much. From our research we learned that because the “products really do what they are supposed to!” and the “transparency and simplicity of the ingredient combinations” is what keeps them coming back for those coveted repeat purchases. This called for a shift in positioning to the product formulations and the ethical side to the business to help set them apart from the pack.

Lessons here:

  1. Were the founders wrong in their original beliefs? NO! Those are important and expected values for the business and their customers.

  2. Were they honing in on what makes their offerings truly special and unique? NOT ENOUGH!

  3. Couldn’t they have figured this out on their own? Not likely. There are blind spots in business where you need to get an objective eye and wisdom to help illuminate what is truly special and ownable for your business.

Remember it's which words are used and how questions are phrased. In a competitive environment detailed insights are critical to standing out and touting what makes you so special and unique.

Get out of the way and get the right insights you need for your marketing plan. Let’s talk with your customers and fine tune for growth in 2019.

Definition of Insight per Merriam Webster

: the ability to understand people and situations in a very clear way

: an understanding of the true nature of something