I’ve been talking with a lot of customers lately—I’m not referring to my own customers in this case, but to my customers’ customers. I’ve interviewed dozens and dozens of these people about their museum-going habits, perceptions about long-term care, and custom marketing technology needs, to name a few. All of the information we’re gathering is providing solid information my customers use to make critical decisions and move their organizations forward.
One project in particular has really underscored the value of this customer research—so much so that I’d suggest it’s a step you can’t afford to skip.
The case in question is that
of a global company with multiple business units around the world. The company
is revamping their customer intranet in each region, starting with North
Before I came onboard, the
company had already executed a simple yet very informative electronic survey of
its customers. It’s something that could be constructed and administered very
quickly yet has proven to be invaluable. I’ve been involved for only six
months, and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone back to that well of
information. To date, we’ve used what we learned from the survey to answer these
What do we think we need to change? Survey results helped us plan two focused internal discovery workshops to refine the project’s scope.
What do users think we need to change? Survey results provided the basis for remote screen-sharing sessions with a select group of users for validation of the project scope and focus.
Did we get it right? Survey results helped us conduct remote usability sessions with users to make sure we got the prototype right before we moved into full-scale development.
As we prepare to hand off the
prototype to the development team, one of my colleagues commented on how we
keep going back to that very first survey to ensure we are focusing our work on
what is important to users. This information is driving an entire team and
providing direction fromthe voice that matters most—the voice of the
Whether you’re revising your messaging, updating your brand, revamping a department or overhauling a major touchpoint like a customer intranet, make sure it is driven by the voice of the customer. Contrary to what you may believe, it is not too expensive or too time consuming to include this critical step—in fact, it’s one I’d suggest you can’t afford to skip.Let’s talk about how I can help.
Sometime in late 2013, I started noticing that a lot of my clients were talking about LinkedIn, and commenting that they really didn’t know how to use it. They didn’t understand why they needed to be there, what the advantages were, or what to say about themselves. Continue reading →
Last month we covered what makes a great free download, but their effectiveness varies by industry, and every market handles them a bit differently. Look closely at the top performers and you’ll see they’re essentially doing the same thing, but how you present and package your download matters:Continue reading →
Late last year I mentioned that a free download is a great way to grow your email list and encourage other forms of customer engagement. But what makes giving something away for free worthwhile? Here’s a quick rundown of traits that make a “free” report compelling to your buyers — and more likely to drive new business. Continue reading →
In the last few months, two very different clients of mine discovered unexpected and game-changing insights about their target markets. In both cases, we’ve been working on updates to their visual identity and positioning strategies, and some of the changes we’re contemplating are dramatically different from what they’ve done in the past.
This could be scary, but both client teams are feeling confident about the decisions we’re making because we’re not changing direction blindly. Instead, we’re making conscious shifts in direct response to information obtained from surveys of their best customers and prospects.
The surveys revealed that much of what we thought we knew about our customers was correct. But we also got some very surprising information that uncovered customer needs and desires our current marketing plan wasn’t taking into account. We found that many of our assumptions didn’t match the reality of how we were perceived by our customer base. In some cases, the survey data even identified organizational issues that needed to be addressed.
Both clients had the same reaction. They realized right away that the unexpected information made the entire survey process worthwhile. In response, we were able to re-orient our new positioning and identity changes to take advantage of the opportunities that were revealed.
Email is still one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new prospects and build loyalty, but it’s not the digital Wild West it used to be. Since 2003 it’s been illegal in the United States for businesses to send unsolicited email to anyone who doesn’t have a prior relationship with the company (see the CAN-SPAM Compliance Guide for full details). More recently,new anti-spam legislation went into effect in Canada on July 1 of 2014.
While the effectiveness of anti-spam legislation is open to debate, the good news is the email practices these laws prohibit are the ones that don’t work well in the first place. The most successful email marketers build their lists using opt-in strategies like these, all of which are still legal throughout North America: Continue reading →
I’m at the Inbound conference in Boston this week, learning lots of exciting stuff about how to attract attention and generate new business for my clients. I can’t wait to share some of these insights with you, so here’s a quick bulletin with my first impressions from the event.
Hubspot, the organization behind the conference, defines inbound marketing as follows:
Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close and delight over time.
Good examples of inbound marketing include your blog content, online articles, website content, valuable email marketing (in other words, content that helps your reader rather than giving them a sales pitch), social media, and other tools that engage the interest of your prospects by encouraging them to form a closer relationship.
Stated more simply, the key to inbound marketing can be summed up like this: it’s about helping, not selling.Continue reading →