Data-Driven Marketers: It takes big and small to know it all

Dawn Colossi, CMO, FocusVision

We have so much data at our fingertips, it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that we know our customers by what emails they open, what web pages they go to or what content they read. But you know what’s missing from all of those data points? How the customer feels. No matter how much data you’re collecting or how intelligent your Marketing stack is, there is no way to collect this elusive piece of data without asking someone how they feel. Understanding how your customer feels when they come to your website, talk to your sales team, use your product or call into your phone line is the necessary piece of data—albeit sometimes missing piece– to not only attract your customer but to also retain them.

As Marketers, the past few years has made us all determined to become data-driven or else face extinction. And while there are now so many technologies and solutions on Scott Brinker’s MarTech landscape to help us do just that, nothing takes the place of the feedback that comes right from the customer. A certain airline comes to mind for me here—dealing with said airline digitally is a pleasure, the website is intuitive, booking a flight is easy, managing my account is a piece of cake, but 9 times out of 10 as soon as that digital relationship becomes personal and I have to deal with their employees, I’m angry and frustrated and I don’t want to deal with them again. So no matter how much “big data” they are collecting on me to make my experience once I get to their site easy, what they don’t know is that every time I have to book a trip, I search many other sites first to find a better alternative so they only get a percentage of my travel budget, not all of it.

For the past number of years, we’ve been talking about big data. Reacting to that, Martin Lindstrom coined the term: small data. Small data is a focused method of human observation which uses bite-sized pieces of information to not only paint a comprehensive picture of an audience in-the-moment but over time can allow you to actually travel through the experience with your customer at the helm. Using a “small data” approach when you listen to, and truly hear your customers, the more likely you are to build lasting, and loyal, relationships.

The brands we work with have found that when you ask in different ways, you will find that customers are more than willing to give feedback and let you know exactly what you could be doing to make them happier, the good and the bad, and the practical. For example, eBay used an integrated research approach to identify key drivers of joy and frustration across the user experiences. A blend of a brief survey and short probing video interview was used to gain a better understanding of customer pain points. The survey gave eBay a good statistically-relevant base to get insights to customer preference, but they went a step further using video to ask a few clarifying questions to gain a better understanding of the sentiment behind customer’s opinion. Without the video interviews, eBay would’ve missed how the customer felt, a critical part of the data. This not only helps shape the decisions the project team made but it also brought the customer insights and stories to life for others in the organization to understand why certain decisions were made.

And that’s what we do at FocusVision – we give you the ability to survey your customers and have the added value of video interviews or online focus groups to dig deeper and understand how your customer feels. So it’s easier than ever to pressure-test how your ideas will resonate with customers, to keep an always-on pulse check, and understand your customers’ experience and how it makes them feel through their words and expressions. And as customer perceptions and expectations can continually change, it’s more important than ever to keep an open and evolving dialogue to understand what they desire and what impacts their view. We’re not talking a one-time survey or study, we’re talking an always-on channel of communication with your customers. You never know how your customer will react to something new–product, campaign, brand logo, anything–before you launch it in the marketplace. So just ask. We can help.

It’s for this reason that we’ve just been awarded the 2018 MarTech Breakthrough Award for outstanding innovation in customer experience management. This prestigious award recognizes the innovation, hard work and success in a range of marketing, sales and advertising technology out of over 2,000 nominations from over 12 different countries throughout the world. We couldn’t be more honored to be recognized for enabling Enterprise marketers and research professionals to gain real-time, people-driven insights to truly transform their business by bringing the voice of their customer into their decision-making. (And we’re equally proud to be recognized with such innovators as Salesforce, Marketo, Hubspot, Adobe, Mailchimp, and Hootsuite. That makes us feel excited! )

So as we continue our journey as Marketers to understand, be relevant and be valuable to our customer using the best technologies to create and serve up relevant content, appropriate buying suggestions and easy customer experiences, let’s not lose sight of the people behind all that data and make sure we take the time to ask, and then, of course listen, and then ask again. This will be the difference between using big data to just get a customer and adding small data to keep a loyal customer.

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