INBOX INSIGHTS, November 9, 2022: Voice of the Customer

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Voice of the Customer

Social media is a mess. Data privacy is getting more stringent. Budgets are getting cut left and right. How are marketers supposed to know what their audience wants and deliver content and campaigns that resonate?

In 2020, I wrote this 4 part series on the Voice of the Customer.

Today, I want to focus on part 3 – where you can get your data from.

The voice of the customer is data that represents what the customer wants, needs, and expects. Right now, too many brands are reliant on cookies and social media to try and understand their audience’s interests.

A million years ago when I was a product manager, my role focused on giving customers what they wanted in collaboration with the vision of the company stakeholders. Unfortunately, what the customers needed and what the company wanted to do did not align. When I say it did not align, what I mean is they were not even in the same orbit. My marketing team was fighting hard to create a Voice of the Customer program so that we could learn what we weren’t delivering. My stakeholders wanted to set up fancy dinners for prospects. We got too wrapped up in designing the perfect Voice of the Customer program that we lost sight of what was important, the customer. Needless to say, we never got to the root of the product issues. We also didn’t look at what was right in front of us. The data.

So, here is my gift to you. If you’re concerned about recent and upcoming changes to your Marketing TechStack and your ability to understand your customer, here is a list of alternative data sources:

  • Face-to-face interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Market research surveys
  • Observational data (watching the customer, shadowing the customer)
  • Customer advisory boards
  • Environmental and landscape data collection
  • Conferences and trade shows
  • UI/UX data collection
  • Search intent data
  • Sales data
  • Customer support data
  • Private communities

This is not an exhaustive list but it should get you started.

Here’s the thing. If you give people the information they need to consent, aka – how will we use your data – you won’t have a hard time collecting this information. You will have willing participants. You also don’t need to design an elaborate Voice of the Customer program. You simply need to start listening. And I mean really listening. This is not the time to solve problems and go in with a hard sell and solution. Listen. Let your customers and audience be heard. Give them space and time to articulate what’s going on and what they need from you.

Right now is a great time to pivot how you’re collecting audience data. Start small. Send a quick “how are we doing” email to your existing customers. Reach out to your prospects and ask them to talk to you for 10 minutes. As mentioned above – this is NOT about selling them something. Make that crystal clear when you’re asking for someone’s time. The more they trust you, the more they will open up and tell you valuable information. Do not ruin that trust by bringing your own agenda into the conversation.

If you don’t have the resources to talk to people, take a look at search intent data. How are people finding you, what queries brought them to you? Look at your audience interest data in your web analytics.

The point is that you have a lot of other options when it comes to understanding your audience. If you’re still holding out hope that public social media will be the answer, you’re already falling behind.

Are you collecting and using VOC data?

Come tell me about it in our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers »

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this episode of In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris talk about personalization and customization of content. In an era when privacy regulations are throttling data marketers can obtain and the media environment is in total chaos, how do we still manage to customize and personalize?

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

Last week on So What? The Marketing Analytics and Insights Live show, we tackled monetization models for content marketing. Catch the replay here »

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Data Diaries: Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s talk about processing survey data, one of the best sources of Voice of the Customer data that Katie talked about in the opening. One of the questions we ask on our intake forms for all our forms goes like this:

What are your biggest analytics challenges right now? Check all that apply

  • Data collection
  • Useful/actionable analysis
  • Reporting
  • Proving ROI
  • Learning/training
  • Better software/tools
  • None of these

The big question is, what do you do with this data? Obviously, looking at the raw data itself is helpful, to see how many people responded with each category, and we look at that monthly or more.

However, we shouldn’t stop there. Here’s an interesting question: are the issues that we’re asking about really what our prospective customers care about? After all, if we’re asking questions to our prospective customers that have nothing to do with what they care about, we’re wasting everyone’s time AND not getting useful insights to inform our sales and marketing, right?

It makes logical sense that if we are creating content about the topics our audience cares about that we should see some relationship between those issues and our reach with our audience. So how would we find this out? Let’s start by looking at our data. First, let’s see our Google Analytics data for new and returning users:

Google Analytics Data

Next, let’s visualize our survey data:

Survey data raw

At first glance these look similar, but the time scales are different. So let’s chop off our survey data so that it’s apples to apples with our Google Analytics data, then run a correlation between the two.

Correlation plot of survey data to GA 4 data

Once we’ve fixed up our data to make it match timeframes, what do we see in the results? A few noteworthy things:

  • 1: The strongest correlation among our topics is useful analysis and proving ROI, which also makes intuitive sense. People who need useful analysis are also people who are probably asked to prove the ROI of what they’re doing.
  • 2: The next strongest correlation is useful analysis and reporting – again, not surprising.
  • 3: The third strongest correlation is reporting and proving ROI. Also intuitive.
  • 4: The strongest correlation between new visits to our website and our topics is around useful analysis. Creating content around useful analysis suggests it may help increase our ability to attract new users.
  • 5: The strongest correlation between returning visits to our website and our topics is also useful analysis.

Now what? As any Statistics 101 student will tell you, correlation is not causation, but it’s a hint in the right direction. Our next steps would be to examine our content overall, identify which content fits in the useful analysis bucket, and then improve or create net new content in that category – then recheck our analysis in a quarter or two. If the correlation is causative – making more useful content will attract more potential customers – then we should see these correlation numbers increase. If the correlation is not causative, then we won’t see any increase.

This is just one tiny example of using Voice of the Customer data in a practical sense. Don’t let your VOC data lay around unused – start working with it and seeing what insights it could lend in combination with your other data.

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