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Marketing today is not about your brand or product – it's about the customer. Digital marketing is built around the customer, the audience you want to talk to, and getting proper insights about your customer, the consumer, their needs is what should be your first and fundamental step.
Unlike advertising as we know it, today's digital marketing is way beyond the sell-sell. It's about engaging the consumer, and moving them down the funnel from awareness to action with meaningful, relevant interactions. The first thing you need is a Customer Insight Strategy. Listening is key.
Start with WhyWhen you start on your Customer Insight journey, start with why. Why would you want that insight? What's the end-game, what's the clear and specific goal? Just wanting to know more about your customer or your target audience is not a real goal. What you need, in the end is value from the data you gather, and that needs to be actionable. Setting a specific goal is key here, otherwise your insight is not actionable in the true sense.
If you just launched a new product or service, a specific goal may be to learn about the initial customer response, as well as likes and dislikes. What product feature did they take to most? Is it the same highlight feature that you expected and built your marketing strategy on? If you are looking to launch a 'new and improved' version of your box of detergent, what are you improving? What were customer expectations? Did the current detergent not deliver? What worked for the customer? What didn't?
Not just about why, but focus on WhoYou cannot talk to every one all the time. Insights are far more valuable when they give you specifics on a certain target audience. Otherwise, it's information, not insight. Fence in the customer, or consumer, that you want to know about. Your insight strategy could be targeted by location, behavior, social platforms, their visits to your website, reactions to your advertising etc. Who are your customers who visit your home page and jump straight out? Once you know your goal, knowing who you want to find out more about is important. Once you know this target, figure out how you are reaching that segment.
Who are you engaging (or not) and where? Your website, social media channels, your paid media reach and results, your email campaigns, your sms, online forums and reviews are all points of engagement that you could check as to where that specific audience is. Is your audience tuning out on your social content because you're posting way too much? Get this right, know about what works with that segment and the platform they're on.
Set clear metricsHaving pre-defined metrics of measurement is crucial. If you brand is heavily social reliant, define what you will measure. Engagement? Shares, comments, likes? Retweets? Reach? Click throughs on paid social? Do you have high mobile ad click through rates – but nothing seems to be converting? Have you looked at your ads and have insight on how and why people are clicking? Is it accidental clicking? Measure that. If you sent out an email campaign to launch your new product, this would probably measure your opens, clicks, and top clicked content. There's plenty of data that's out there – information that you can use to form insights.
Analysis turns information into insightsThere's no point in having all that data, unless you are able to apply proper analytics. What do those numbers mean? What does that negative sentiment actually talk about? If a particular piece of content was most clicked and shared or commented on, what does that tell you about your customer or your target audience? Look at your numbers on social media – have you chosen the right social media channels?
Good analytics demands whether or not you can correlate a pattern in interactions with marketing materials and consumer behavior. If you are a retailer with click-and-mortar stores, are your customers buying that new phone mostly at your city stores. May be that particular phone has features that customers want to test for themselves...
Audience and Customer Profiling via TestingYou cannot really have deep insights on your audience or your customers without testing the elements of your marketing efforts. Would the audience that you are gathering insights on respond better to email or to social? In your online and mobile advertising, do A/B testing with headlines, images and Call to Actions to see which one generates better responses. This is a crucial insight. What would happen if you target your chosen segment with organic content rather than promoted? Is your content marketing strategy working based on blog posts or is video content on YouTube generating more leads? Get your content marketing strategy right based on what insights you keep gathering.
Insight is all about questionsKeep asking questions. Ask your customers, ask your front-desk people, your sales staff, your marketing team for insights. Ask your agency for the latest demographic behavior patterns that relate to your targets. Listening here is key, as always. Listen to what's being said about how your customers and audiences are adopting the latest platforms, how they are behaving around the latest trends. Are your banners on line that have video working better than the static ones? Let your audiences (rather than your marketing teams) tell you.The answers you find should really be answers to what you started out with – which is Why. Ask. Ask. Ask. And you shall receive.
That's the basics of digital marketing strategies 101. Insights is your golden key. Open that door to your audiences with that.