15 Oct Three-dimensional Insight in a Flat-screen World
We live in an information economy – a fact even more evident since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of us to communicate only via video. For now, face-to-face happens only onscreen – we’ve lost the subtleties and ambience of seeing colleagues, clients and prospects in person.
The big question is how do marketing professionals best serve clients these days and, more important, build business?
Without the happenstance meetings and topics of conversation traditional encounters offer – like trade shows, customer visits, hallway/water cooler conversations – access to insights and information has become even more of a commodity. Google news searches, news aggregators like Feedly or Flipboard, our favorite bloggers, and mainline news mediums keep us current on the newsy stuff while we socially distance. But, it doesn’t fill the void of the organic experiences we’re used to.
For some, virtual cocktail hours, increased Zoom meetings and old-school telephone calls have been helpful. For marketing consultants (okay, we’re not unique…this is happening all over) those options aren’t feeding our intuition in the ways we’re used to. How then, do we anticipate opportunities and serve the best interests of clients? In my search for alternatives, I’ve been focusing on identifying marketing opportunities by using the following methods and tools:
- Identifying customer information gaps.
What information do companies need to develop effective strategies and executional plans in the Covid economy? What information do they need to prioritize and allocate finite marketing and sales dollars? We typically enlist the help of our clients’ sales team and channel members to integrate these questions into their customer conversations. In addition, we use a variety of 5-question online surveys administered through our clients’ CRM systems. This can still happen, but we’re now relying almost entirely on these systems. Hubspot has a number of excellent, easy-to-use research applications that automatically tags and tracks customer data within individual profiles. https://research.hubspot.com/charts/topic/sales-and-marketing
- Identifying and quantifying search engine query questions.
Reverse-searching the most frequently asked questions in search queries can identify issues and problems marketers are trying to solve. When are the questions being asked? Who’s asking the questions? From where do they originate? Why are they asking the questions? These answers are of high interest to our clients in creating and executing marketing and sales strategies as they take advantage of opportunities created by the Covid pandemic. Sources that we most frequently used include: Quora, Reddit, Digg.
- Harnessing AI.
What are the actual words in the questions? What’s the intent behind the words? What is the likely context for the question? Almost always, intent and context are absent in search data. We use a variety of AI tools to help us accelerate our analysis from cutting edge providers, including:
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