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Know Thy Customer

Customer-driven. Customer-centric. Customer-first. It’s the most popular theme you hear and read about for growing a business, innovating a product, or creating a marketing plan. 

It’s no mystery that Amazon’s entire business model revolves around such concepts, yet most companies run a big deficit when it comes to effectively leveraging their customers to grow.


The result is a massive loss of time, money, and opportunity: from the way products and services are developed, to the way they are represented and positioned to sell. 

This loss isn’t due to a lack of intelligence or will. Most organizations simply don’t know the extent to which they can use the knowledge of their customers. 

Why? For starters, research firms and consultancies that specialize in customer insights are almost never qualified to teach companies how best to apply them. It’s not their focus. That means a typical investment in customer knowledge delivers half of what you actually want (the insights), with no direction for using them. 

You might get top-level suggestions or some light scenario modeling if you’re fortunate enough to work with the right analysts. Or, you might be so happy with the insights, it feels inappropriate to ask for more.

But more is exactly what you need if you want to grow. The excitement that accompanies the delivery of a great customer insights deck can fade fast in 30 days. Wait more than 90 days, and any value it once had has exponentially dwindled. 

If you’re thinking that connecting the dots between insights and actions is something you don’t need help with, then consider how the following four elements are directly impacted (potentially with game-changing improvements) from deeply understanding your customers:

Your Currency:

This refers to the best use of your existing content, as well as identifying and prioritizing the development of future content (copy/audio/video) that connects brand, marketing, and sales efforts.

Questions to Answer:

  • Do your customers prefer one form of content more than another? 
  • What content consumption habits do your customers share?
  • Is your message clear and relevant to your customers? 
  • Is your content actively marketing the problem, not just your features and benefits?
  • Does your content distinguish you from your perceived competition?


Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Making assumptions about who is engaging with your content
  • Abandoning innovation for the sake of “what’s working now”
  • Neglecting certain customers because your focus is too narrow or broad
  • Thinking that all marketing assets can play on all platforms
  • Holding too tightly to a predetermined content calendar or schedule


Your Distribution:

This refers to how you are planning and delivering content across multiple channels (paid/earned/owned/social), including calls to action that drive customer engagement before and after the sale.

Questions to Answer:

  • What actions are you looking to drive when delivering your content? 
  • Are you creating an ecosystem your customers feel comfortable in?
  • What sense of urgency is created by your content and product offering?
  • How are you tailoring your content to different channels and their respective audiences?
  • What platforms seem the most in line with your brand’s product and identity?
  • Which channels are seeing growth, and which channels are stagnant?


Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Using a strategy that always disregards paid advertising opportunities 
  • Creating content that distracts your customer from acting
  • Hitting customers over the head with calls to action (CTAs) without answering their questions first
  • Ignoring customers after the sale has been made


Your Efficiency:

This is about the technology and automation you’re using to achieve efficiencies in marketing processes, customer relationship management, and follow-up communications with prospective customers and current ones who express interest. 

Questions to Answer:

  • Does your marketing platform/tech stack automate actions to create better efficiencies?
  • Have you created a process that empowers re-engagement?
  • Do you have plans and processes that nurture your customer base and prospective customers?
  • What alerts or notifications are in place to help you better respond?
  • What are the biggest pain points of your current automation process?


Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Oversubscribing to technology investments (too many marketing tools), believing tech is the silver bullet to achieving your goals. Note: we call this “getting SaaS’d”
  • Allowing for too much time to pass in between check-ins with your customers 
  • Underdeveloped workflows that confuse customers or make them guess what you are inviting them to do
  • Over-communicating to your customers with a high automation cadence


Your Optimization:

This refers to processes for maintaining accountability and learning - including your use of data to test and improve upon the marketing and sales activities that drive the highest growth.

Questions to Answer:

  • Where is help needed with respect to the time, talent, and technology to drive growth? 
  • What kind of external training or workshops are likely to make a difference? 
  • What experiments are you investing in to drive growth in unfamiliar ways? 
  • What are your current evaluation and measurement processes? 
  • What works, and what doesn’t?
  • What data should you be collecting to provide invaluable insight?


Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Relying too heavily on your internal resources and known tactics - or pigeonholing team members into expected or past roles
  • Underutilizing the “genius” behind your teams’ strengths
  • Disregarding your supposed weaknesses 
  • Operating from an “it just needs to get done” mindset with data collection and analysis (no time for testing)
  • Not integrating technologies and processes that provide ongoing benefits 
  • Making all decisions reactionary 

When it comes to making changes that result from understanding customers, it’s no wonder help is usually needed. In twenty years of working with hundreds of companies, from funded startups to Global 20, we’ve seen very few get it right with customer insights.

Like fly fishing, you can’t just invest in bait and think you’ll get the catch. You still have to get it in the water, at the right time, with the right method.

If the most successful companies on the planet concur that customers hold the key to growth, then we all best invest in getting to them sooner than later.

If the most successful companies on the planet concur that customers hold the key to growth, then we all best invest in getting to them sooner than later. Room 214’s Coherence Method ensures that customer insights aren’t just unearthed, but leveraged to the hilt across an organization’s brand, marketing, and sales efforts.    

Yes, it can be a big investment. The good news is you can now dip your toe in the shallow end with a Coherence Accelerator. This is a low-risk/high-reward, guaranteed assessment that we’ve heard provides more value than any other of its kind. Get in touch with us today to learn more.