"Marketing doesn't work; it's just a waste of money."
"Our marketing campaign didn't deliver for us."
"We're pushing all the marketing levers, but our customers aren't buying."
If you’ve heard this inside your company, you're not alone. It's not unusual to invest in marketing and have it deliver less than stellar results that leave you wondering where you went wrong.
Nine times out of 10, nothing went wrong or bad, there was just a tempting (and common) shortcut that wound up backfiring.
The Super-Tempting Marketing Shortcut That Tanks Your Results.
Let's cut to the chase - The shortcut is twofold:
- Separating marketing goals from company goals and not making the connection between the two.
- Who the ideal prospect is (beyond basic demographics)
There are lots of reasons for skimping on basic customer and voice of customer research:
- "Research costs too much money."
- "Research takes too much time."
- "We've done it before and didn't get any new information or insights."
- "We already did research - we sent out a survey last year."
- "We already know, intuitively, who our customers are and what they want."
When You Shortchange Your Customer Research, Your Marketing Will Be Lucky to Hit the Mark.
There’s a myth that lives in many growth-stage companies I need to break.
You are not your customer (even if you’ve bought and use your own product).
Yep. It’s true. Relying on your gut, your intuition, or even your competitors to guide your customer insights and develop marketing assets and campaigns will lead you astray.
“But, we’re making money, we’ve got to be resonating with our customers.”
Revenue is a lagging indicator, it tells you what already happened. You invest in marketing to drive future revenue.
Until you invest in customer insight research and verify every single one of your assumptions you currently hold about your customers, you’re simply guessing.
How many employee jobs are relying on you to guess correctly?
The right kind of customer research can tell you
- How your customers make purchase decisions
- What objections they have (that your marketing has to overcome)
- What competitors they’re comparing you with
- The worries they have about making a commitment
- The exact words and phrases they use to describe their pain points and
- The real (not perceived) value your product delivers
Here's the brain-melter question customer research can answer:
Are your assumed customers even your actual customers?
Can they even AFFORD to purchase your product?
Or did these customers only buy once through a sale or discounted promotion and will never, ever return, let alone pay full price for your product (but you still count them as valuable customers because they once walked through your front door)?
You could be completely ignoring people who are eager to be customers in favor of customers who've already forgotten about you.
Marketers Aren't Mind Readers or Psychics.
Marketers make connections between the people who will open their purses and wallets and your product.
But marketers need data to develop viable strategies and supporting tactics to drive traffic and sales.
Data is more than what’s living in your Google Analytics account. Customer data that’s used to create the messages and experiences that drive profitable conversions include:
- Voice of Customer research - including review mining, support tickets, surveys, interviews, and more
- Click tracking & Heatmaps
- Usability testing and lab studies
- Email response rates
- A/B testing
- Academic studies about how humans make decisions
“But qualitative responses aren’t data!” This is false.
Qualitative responses from your customers absolutely are data. Actionable data.
If you have enough customers reporting the same frustrations with your product, you’ve taken a qualitative response and turned it into a quantitative issue that you can measure, prioritize, and act against.
The only way to do this successfully in a repeatable fashion is to make the time and room in the budget do the necessary customer research.
Every Business is Unique
Every company is different. Each has their own goals, their quirks, their particular vision of what their business nirvana looks like.
And they each have different ideal customer groups and targets that support them every single day.
I respect that uniqueness. I cherish the differences between competitors in the same space.
But I start every single client engagement the same way.
- I have to know what target we're trying to hit (your goals)
- I have to know who is going to help us hit the target (your customers)
If you bypass getting the information you need to create the messages that attract attention, create the graphic support that your customers desire, and make a purchase experience stupid easy to buy from you’re simply succeeding in spite of yourself. And there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to repeat your success.
"We promise, we'll get back to the research after we meet this quarter's numbers," isn’t the path to repeatable success.
Research first, execution second.
Faulty Assumptions = Bad Outcomes
It's easy to make bad assumptions when you don't validate the very foundation of your business - your customers.
So much company and industry jargon that means absolutely nothing to your customers gets plastered all over your website and sales tools.
And bad assumptions implemented lead to bad revenue outcomes, wasted time, crushed budgets, and going out of business signs.
You wouldn't expect a doctor to successfully perform a life-saving surgery they haven't researched.
Why would you expect anyone who's involved with your marketing (fixing and enhancing your business) to be successful without doing the research?
Suck it up, do the research - the REAL research - needed to write excellent copy, position your company and your product competitively, get the sale and win over hearts and minds for repeat sales and referrals.If you absolutely, positively don't want to do the research yourself, talk to me, I'll do the research, and I'll bring you golden nuggets of customer wisdom that will reshape your business for the better. Contact me and we'll talk about how to get you ridiculously smart about your customers.