All successful teachers have a strong lesson plan to layout structure throughout the school year. All architecture and construction firms have a well-designed blueprint before they place a shovel in the ground. All Superbowl winning teams have a gameplan heading into the big game. Although, I don't believe the Patriots' gameplan included anything about being down 28-3 in the second half. Finally, all the best marketing campaigns have a roadmap with data-driven strategies.
Voice of customer changes your digital campaign from "fire, ready, aim" to "aim, ready, fire".
"The benefit of digital marketing is the ability to target specific audiences, but first you have to know what you're aiming at."
When reviewing traditional media (television, radio, newspapers) it is hard to argue with reach numbers, albeit declining. The benefit of these marketing channels is the ability to reach a wide array of audiences through one source. One expensive source. However, none of them offer the ability to pinpoint and target key audiences beyond choosing a television or radio channel or placing an ad in a print section.
The best digital marketing consultants understand the value of market research and voice of customer (VoC) and the information it can provide to plan out strategy. VoC uses customer data and feedback to ensure you market the right message, to the right people, in the right channel. This translates to cost savings as well as increased conversions of goals. However you determine goals: form fills, telephone calls, emails, etc.
Here are 6 ways a VoC market research firm can set the table for digital marketing success.
1. User Experience (UX)
Perhaps the most relevant pairing with VoC data is for user experience (UX). Both VoC and UX place an emphasis on the most important person in the digital process. No not your boss. Well, kind of everyone's boss. The Customer.
Traditional VoC market research methodologies like live in-depth interviews (IDIs) and online surveys can provide context and answers to the all important question of "why?" Why do users bounce on this page 80% of the time? Why do users spend only 8 seconds on this page? Why don't our users take the next step in the path towards goal conversions?
Google Analytics is great at providing all of this "what" data but it lacks depth. User experience (UX) evaluations provided by our partners like Advance Media New York can provide an organization with tactical and actionable changes for their website. When UX evaluations like these are coupled with traditional UX market research, the results can prove powerful. VoC UX collects data after users visit a website or through screen share technologies with a live interviewer.
Not a believer in using VoC to improve user experience of a website? How does a 665% ROI sound? Drive Research used VoC and feedback from site users to improve an e-commerce site. The market research paid for itself 7 times over by increasing sales.
In a digital world, consumers and business decision-makers alike jump to online search when seeking information. The information could be as small as a nearby coffee shop and could be as large as seeking a manufacturer to produce $3,000,000 worth of inventory. Everything starts with an online search these days regardless of topic or scope.
These "stealth" users who visit your site go under the radar. They pop-up in Google Analytics all over the place but they are likely untraceable. They could be a page view on your "about us" page or a visitor who spent 1 minute and 41 seconds on your "products" page. But you don't know who they are, who they work for, and what they want.
VoC can help solve these questions for you. Non-customer or prospects can be built into the scope of work to capture this key information from these audiences. Questions like "when searching an organization's website what information are you looking for?" "What information would make you more likely to buy?" "What information would help you trust the company?"
VoC tackles pain points and hot-button issues likely to generate search traffic. When decision-makers have problems they may not necessarily jump right to searching "how to choose a new manufacturing partner". They may start their search with "how to speed up the manufacturing process?" (Pain Point) "Which partners offer the best turnaround time?" (Pain Point) Or they may search, "how do I fix a problem with product AB-8576." (Pain Point)
These are all entry points in the SEO journey where your organization can begin to develop a relationship as a thought-leaders with these stealth decision-makers. If you aren't sure what types of concerns or problems exist, your SEO content on your site may be missing the mark. VoC can help drive content strategies so the copy on your site matches what decision-makers are looking for.
Similar to SEO, VoC can help pinpoint SEM strategies as well. A simple example of VoC findings that will impact SEM strategy is the geographies of your customers. If the customer data reveals 80% of your customers live within a 100-mile radius of your store, you likely should concentrate your SEM efforts to match this radius.
Much like the content you want to feature on your site, your SEM keywords and terms should resemble those 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level search criteria which could convert a user. It may include some long-tail keywords, an upcoming industry regulation, or some other "in" that is likely to generate a lot of questions and search traffic in the coming months. VoC can help you predict these trends.
4. Web Development
This is a no-brainer for VoC. We spoke about this in-depth on the Drive Research blog a while back. Essentially VoC for website design creates several advantages. It (1) determines key differentiators for your business, (2) determines what content is most interesting, and (3) determines factor(s) which go into choosing a product, service, or business.
"Better is the opinion of the website user, not the website designer."
Web development VoC ensures all key criteria users are looking for is featured and readily accessible. In a recently completed VoC project with a design and engineering firm we discovered both customers and prospects alike wanted to read about 3 specific items on a firm's website which would impact choices of firms:
- specialty areas (mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, etc.)
- portfolios of past projects (what you have done well and who are your clients)
- individual staff member profiles including the experience and credentials they bring to table
This VoC allowed our web development team to prioritize and centralize this information for decision-makers coming to the site.
Want to read more about using a VoC market research firm to guide website design? Here you go.
5. Social Media Marketing
Perhaps no better platform exists when it comes to behavioral and audience targeting than social media, particularly Facebook. Facebook provides organizations with the ability to target on seemingly limitless variables. From behaviors to interests to age to titles, you have a lot of options. Similar targeting exists on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.
What might be different with social media marketing compared to web development, SEO or SEM is organizations use this to social marketing for specific and short-term campaigns and messages. What better way to understand motivations behind purchases and other key buying triggers than to ask customers themselves through VoC?
Collecting this feedback and using it to build creative and marketing messaging ensures you're on point and your message will resonate with the target audience. Having this type of data is almost cheating a bit. You know the campaign will perform well because you've done the research beforehand. It creates a true "ready-aim-fire" strategy.
For instance, let's say you learn customers buy your product for 3 major reasons: (1) customer service, (2) turnaround time, and (3) ease of ordering. These coincidentally are the 3 criteria that customers also stated differentiate your company from the competition. So, what do you think you should focus your creative and messaging on?
6. Content Marketing
We've touched on content above in a few areas including website development, UX, and SEO. Content can be addressed directly through VoC or informally through analysis and insights which I'll explain in a moment.
The formal process of addressing content is simply asking customers "what would you most interested in reading about on the Company ABC website?" "What are the key differentiators for Company ABC they should feature on their website?"
The informal way is to tackle this through back-end analysis. This would involve reading through the open-ended comments and pulling out themes, issues, and pain points which can then be relayed into website pages, blog posts, etc.
VoC can create an endless array of content for your blog just by using basic customer feedback as a thought-starter. Perhaps you'll learn customers are very concerned about upcoming regulations/. Or maybe they are concerned with new quality standards. Maybe they are concerned about new competition in the field. All content developed from this type of VoC chatter can be well-aligned into website content, blog content, and whitepapers.
Interested in using a Voice of Customer (VoC) market research firm?
Drive Research offers a number of VoC packages to fit your needs. These include both quantitative and qualitative market research options. Contact Drive Research via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 315-303-2040.