Efficiently Ignored: Why Marketing Tech is Wasted Without Customer Insights

December 28, 2016

Editor's Note: This guest post was contribued by David Fabbri, who is VP, Creative and Integrated Strategy, at LoSasso Integrated Marketing

Today’s marketers have an abundance of new ways to get their messages in front of highly targeted prospects. Programmatic ad buys, lookalike targeting with paid social, email nurture streams—there is a long and growing list of tactics that increase our ability to control who we reach, when and where. Unfortunately, many of these new opportunities are being wasted. The problem isn’t with the tactics themselves. There is an underlying problem with the marketing fundamentals behind them.

Most marketers don’t know enough about their prospects. What are their needs, challenges and aspirations?  What problems can we help them solve or goals can we help them achieve? Without this information it is impossible to develop messages and content that will cut through the noise and connect. If we end up reaching more people in more places, but are stuck using off-target, non-differentiated display ads, the new technology simply increases our ability to get ignored.

The problem with what we “know”

Every company claims to know their customers, but many work from information that is very one-dimensional – a few key industries, job titles and some general demographic info. To do our most effective work as marketers, we have to push for greater customer insights. We need to identify where we have gaps, propose strategies for gathering and documenting information, and paint a clear picture of why it’s so important to supplement the tribal knowledge and industry stereotypes that often go unquestioned, with a new, more informed perspective.

When you can’t find the budget, go guerilla

When reminded of the importance of customer focus and insights, most sales and marketing types get fired up about the impact deeper customer insights could have on their marketing and sales performance. Unfortunately, the desire for richer knowledge doesn’t always trigger an investment in new research and focus groups.

If you find yourself in that situation – maybe budgets are already set for the year; or there’s no buy-in from upper management — don’t give up. There are a lot of ways to dig in and find the information yourself, guerrilla style. For instance, you can:

  • Leverage web analytics and paid search reports
  • Find hidden insights in site search and customer comment forms
  • Mine industry forums for unexpected problems you can solve
  • Get free customer research from industry media partners
  • Dig for insights from your sales team and distribution channel

This list goes on. The point is, whatever it takes, we need to get back to basics and make sure we understand who we’re trying to talk to and what matters to them. If we don’t know what matters to our key customers, we’re probably not giving them what they want. That means, all the fancy targeting technology in the world won’t stop them from scrolling past with a yawn.

For more ideas on “going guerrilla” to help make customer insight gathering a part of your everyday way of working, download and check out the LoSasso Guerrilla Guide to Customer Focus.

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