When was the last time you sat with a customer and discussed their needs and goals, gaining customer insight? I don’t mean just conducting research and surveys. While surveys are good, that is only a start. I mean sitting in the car with a sales representative, conducting sales meetings and site visits – actually visiting the customer, touring their premises and understanding their business. How many marketers do this on a regular basis?
There are a few of us who do.
I’m spending most of my time gathering customer insight, developing buyer personas and mapping customer journeys for my clients. It is critical to meet customers in their offices – so much insight gained this way. I’ve been turkey factories, chemical product factories, product warehouses, automotive garages, car dealer lots, call centres, storage tray manufacturing facilities, food factories, architect firms, engineering firms… and so much more. It opens up your eyes to what data alone can’t tell you.
Visiting clients opens up your eyes to what data alone can’t tell you. Here are 5 reasons why marketers need to get out from behind their desks:
1. Gain deeper insight and inspiration
Insight leads to inspiration and more effective marketing. Visiting clients enables you to see their challenges and goals first hand. It will enable you to uncover something important, the survey research alone can’t find.
2. Improve relationships and collaboration with sales
I always ask to tag along with the sales team. Marketing and sales get greater results when they work together.
3. Learn about customer journeys
The customer journey will help you understand the decision-making process that buyers go through. By asking smart questions, listening and probing for deeper understanding, you’ll find out more about customers needs – and that will get you excited. It will also generate customer loyalty and referrals.
4. Improve marketing ROI and profit
If you aren’t actively engaging with people outside of your four walls you could be at the risk of solving the wrong problem, or worse, building something that no one cares about. Get an understanding if they will buy it, before you start.
5. Develop case studies
While gathering insight, use the time to develop a case study. It will provide valuable evidence of your capabilities, and can act as a lead generation tool if promoted correctly.
Sure, customer interviews and gathering customer insight takes time, effort and a bit of money – and this is why they are often ignored. But, if conducted properly, they provide a valuable mechanism for validating product/market fit, improving customer experience, and lead generation. So that means business growth.
How often do you speak to your customers directly and feed this into the marketing process? If you are not sure where to start, get in touch. We’d be happy to help.