Tags: Business, Customer, market research, marketing
Yes, I know that you know your business. And maybe you’ve even done some market research. If you listen in social media, give yourself a gold star. But how well do you really know your customers. I’ve been talking to a number of marketers from a cross-section of companies over the last few months, and I am afraid that from my vantage point, the answer is that we don’t know our customers well enough.
Oh sure, we’ve talked to them and run focus groups and looked at our Web analytics. (You have done all those things, haven’t you?) But I am talking about something deeper. I am talking about knowing what your customers actually do for a living. Knowing what they really care about. Knowing it in your bones.
Too often, when I look at the marketing departments at large companies, those organizations are filled with, er, marketers. And, don’t get me wrong–I like marketers. And marketing departments should have marketers in them (I mean, where else would they work).
But my problem is that they shouldn’t have only marketers. I’ve done work with a bog chemical company whose marketing department had no engineers. Now, the engineers are their customers. Wouldn’t you think that it would be worth having a token engineer or two around?
And I don’t mean to single them out–even anonymously. I see it everywhere. Publishers that sell to schools with no teachers on staff. Consultants that have never done the job of the folks they are helping.
We’ve reached a point where professional credentials have become a stand-in for experience. I don’t think it is helping us. Yes, we obviously need professional marketers and we could never do what we do without them. But there is no substitute for having a former customer on your team. In the old days, we did that on sales teams because we knew it worked. But as direct marketing over digital media is more a way to sell, we need that experience on marketing teams, too.
Does your company make sure that you really know your customers? If not, why not?