When the marketing team is accused of not understanding customers, it is often because there is too much reliance on “conference room marketing.” Conference room marketing is when market research is done while shadowing a salesperson in a customer’s conference room or participating in a team meeting at the headquarters’ conference room devising product roadmaps and marketing strategy based on assumptions and anecdotal evidence. Such an approach is common for good reason. Pace is too fast, budgets are too tight, and resources are too few to develop the deep customer and market insights that an organization needs to get ahead of the competition.
Get out of the conference room to lose the stigma of being out-of-touch. Incorporate these things into the marketing team activities to get more insightful Voice of Customer (VOC):
- Day in the life. Ask a few key customers if you could watch them work for a day. Better yet: do their job for them. There is no better way to learn than by doing.
- Key Question Punch List. There are probably a few things that the commercial team wishes they knew to round out marketing plans or product strategy. Write these questions down. Have them ready and top-of-mind for trade shows, sales calls, or other customer encounters.
- Surveys. Keep a few surveys ready in your favorite survey software package. Use these to run short VOC campaigns in email signature files or on the website. Answers can confirm points of view or give early indications that market changes are happening.
Data from these activities are invaluable in rounding out knowledge. Share the insights with the sales, marketing, and product teams to help maintain alignment. Also, turn it into compelling content marketing for the company blog, newsletter, or a webinar.
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