Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tell Your Marketing Team To Go Pound

Tell Your Marketing Team To Go Pound…

I was recently on a call where a marketer didn’t know which social community (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) their audience was most engaged on.  This called to my attention how important it is for us as marketers to take a step back from the tactical day to day, and get closer with our audiences,   
tell your marketing team to go pound, the phones.

Often times as marketers we get so caught up in our daily activities that we forget to take a step back see the forest through the trees, or maybe for marketers I should say we don’t see the audience through the people.

A great way to get to know our audiences is to pick up the phone and call customers and prospects. It’s my experience, that if you approach the call from the angle of doing research, not selling a product, people are much more willing to talk. Here are 5 reasons you should call into your audience:

1) Get more wins:
Talk to the sales wins your organization has seen. Ask them what they liked about the product, what pain points where the biggest, what part of your solution hit home with them? Does your product or messaging align with the primary goals of your customers?
A great example of listening to users comes from Instagram, as mentioned in the book “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday –“Instagram started as a location-based social network called Burbn (which had an optional photo feature)”. When they let the user’s guide the messaging and the product, they realized that what users wanted most was a mobile app for posting photos with filters. When they re-aligned the product and messaging to fit what users wanted most they experienced explosive growth and became the brand everyone knows today.

2) Turn a loss into a win:
Sales wins are good, but a sales loss can be even more educational than the wins– talk to the respondents that didn’t buy from you! What did they feel you were missing? Do you offer what your prospects want, is that aspect or feature being downplayed in your product feature set? Identify what lead to the sales losses and help adjust messaging or even the product where possible.

3) Understand the buying team layout and personas:
Talk to your prospects and customers and work to identify how big your average buying team is. TechTarget media consumption shows that 2/3’s of organizations have buying  teams bigger than 5 people. Also use this opportunity to confirm or build buyer personas. This will ensure you can strategically work to influence all members of the buying team, while at the same time increasing the effectiveness of your content and messaging.

4) Map the Buyers Journey:
Find where your customers are most active as they navigate the buyer journey. Identify where your customers are starting their research process, where do they go when they are in the middle of the buy cycle, what information sources do they use to finalize the decision? Dig into what distribution methods their journey aligns with (IE search vs. social vs. publishers sites, etc.).
It doesn’t end there, go deeper and dig into the content preferences your customers have (keep in mind it may vary based on each buyer personas). 

5) Bring sales and marketing together:
Though this action sales will see that marketing is "walking a mile in their shoes". This in turn can help strength the sales/marketing alignment. In a recent demand gen report it was found that“42% (of sales people) stated that their marketing department "rarely" or "never" includes them in the content development process”. This can help show sales that you are thinking from their point of view.

This info can be hugely valuable for crafting messages that resonate, and then understanding where to distribute those messages. Though these calls you can help build better stories to tell, and even increase your customer advocates.

What are you waiting for, tell marketing to go pound! Pound the phones!

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