Contrary to popular belief, not only can’t “everyone do marketing”, but the myth that “the Marketing department dreams this stuff up every day . . .” still persists in modern corporate America. I’d like to dispel that last myth, and cover one other as well, that “We have lots of customer data, we can use that to guide our copy and creative platforms with greater success,” that has arisen again and again in discussions of big data with regard to marketing.
Myth 1 – Marketing comes up with offers, images, copy, color palette, tag lines, slogans, ads and social media posts on their own, every day, just any old idea that surfaces can be put into play and used.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This myth originated with and has been propagated by those who DON’T work regularly in marketing. Those who are on the outside looking in, so to speak, see a hive of analytical and creative activity going on, with seemingly little input from them or anyone else on the premises. This makes sense on it’s surface, because aside from the initial vetting of a campaign internally, people in the building have little to do with outreach marketing of the firm, unless by some chance they fit the target customer profile as well. We’re not marketing to staff, folks, we’re raising awareness among some very specific individuals outside of here, and their input is used heavily by our marketing pros to shape, craft and refine messages, offers, imagery, brand resonance, media choices and a host of other elements to make sure that those outreach efforts are as successful and cost p-effective as humanly possible. We work in a vacuum at our own peril, and avoid it like the plague as a result.
Just because we create multi-page printed pieces, video and radio copy, social media posts and potentially entertaining memes and vines, doesn’t mean we’re all having “fun” in the marketing department, “making creative stuff up” all day.
Myth 2 – “We have lots and lots of data points from our customers, we can use that in our marketing efforts, we don’t need customer insight research,” is the refrain we’ve heard.
Not true. Customer insights are gleaned through a variety of methods, using all kinds of data. No single source is likely to yield enough information to form a truly overarching customer insight that will effectively cover the segment and guide creative and media elements accurately. Most customer data gathered today is transactionally-based data, either that they purchased something or attended something, (to become a customer), or relational data, (like logging into a website or social media outlet to view a product, referred or recommended our product to someone, or as part of a search). These are very tiny snapshots of singular incidents in the past, and we have no way of knowing what may have lead to or motivated those actions, or if they will ever take place again. Taken in aggregate, they can give you an inkling of preferences or trends, or show patterns with regard to seasonality, economic cycles, or changing needs, but they do not fully and accurately reflect any real human truth with regard to your product or company.
In short, customer insights should be derived from an amalgam of different inputs, including former customers, potential prospects who fit the audience, staff, industry stakeholders and a host of others to provide a fully rounded, robust portrait of a single verifiable insight that can be extrapolated across the full sector, and applied to actionable efforts to drive emotional resonance and push to purchase. Short of that, true customer insight derived from a single set of data will likely be flawed and less than fully successful in driving marketing results forward.
Gaining, analyzing and actualizing customer insights involves a specific process, involves a significant number of people, and still needs to have the resulting insight tested in the real world before being applied across the board in outreach marketing efforts. Anything less, and the insights you should be seeking are about your own marketing chops . . .