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How to get to know your customer

Mea Thompson from Kajeet UK breaks market research practice down into simple steps.

How do we communicate effectively? By understanding the customer. And to understand the customer, we need to identify the market. Mea Thompson, Head of Marketing, Kajeet UK, breaks this practice down into five simple steps.

1. Use the sales team

Your sales team know huge amounts about your customers and can be trained to delve deeper for valuable intel. A few years ago, I was hired by one of the large mobile operators to change how their customer service team functioned. Essentially, they wanted to move from a sales-focused team to one that worked to find a need from the customer before offering a solution. What this meant was that I was tasked with training the team to have an open conversation with customers. This is entirely possible. It’s never too late to introduce this way of working or open up that line of communication.

2. Talk is cheap

Make sure you’re harnessing the information that your sales team can serve up and are open to honest discussions about what they are hearing. Start by setting up bi-weekly or monthly meetings to discuss the feedback that’s coming in and the problems arising. This will help you gain a thorough understanding of your market. Take the opportunity to chat about the feedback you’ve received from each source – a survey, for example. Be sure to keep this up – it isn’t a one-off task. As your products evolve, so will your audience, so keep the dialogue going.

3. Stop using generic buying demographics

Too many people are still using age, profession and location to develop bio personas, and these datapoints simply don’t provide enough information to create messaging that resonates with an audience emotionally. This has been proven. High-performing marketers are one and a half times more likely to say that traditional approaches to measurement are no longer effective. And today, we’ve got the tools that can help us. Google Webmaster, for example, can create a list of common keywords that are driving people to your site.

4. Trial and error

Test and learn. A/B test. Save records of what you’ve been doing, what’s working and what’s not. Remember the long goal is to understand your audience better and segment it effectively. The personas you’ve developed previously will keep changing, meaning that some of the communication you created in the past won’t necessarily work in a few months. The landscape is changing, and the market is continuously developing. It’s not enough just to sit back and keep doing what’s been successful before. It’s crucial that you keep finding better ways of understanding and communicating with the people who really need your services.

5. A two-way street

This process is less about knowing your audience and more about using what you know effectively. Did you know that only half of the marketers out there are actually collaborating with service teams to respond to enquiries raised on social media? This is a problem. If we use Facebook as an example, marketers post messages on the platform, then people – specific customer segments – interact by posting feedback. It’s often the service team that responds to these messages but, as a marketer, you need to collect and understand this information so it can be used in the development of future communication strategies. Otherwise, there’s a disconnect. Marketers are the external voice of the company, but they also need to be the ears – listening to the feedback and looping it in to maximise future efforts.

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