I’ve been working at my new company for 8 months already. It’s a dynamic job with many different tasks.
One of my favorite tasks is an extremely important one, for me and for the company:
talking with our customers.
The company I work for sells sun shading products, like awnings and verandas. When the weather is good, we go to our existing customers to take pictures of our products. We use these pictures for our social media, website, brochures, and blog posts.
We always do these photoshoots in pairs: one in-house photographer, one marketer. Last week, it was my turn to accompany the photographer. The task of the marketer is to support the photographer if needed. But most of the time, I end up just chatting for two hours with happy (and talkative!) customers.
Not only are these conversations fun, they’re valuable, too. I let the customer do the talking, ask questions, and use empathetic responses.
And the consumers? They tell us things about our products we didn’t even know about yet.
When you run a relatively new and small brand on social media, you may not hear a lot from your customers. Most customers will only speak up when they want to share their anger or concerns about your broken product or unsatisfactory service.
Customers who are satisfied with your brand often remain silent. Some don’t feel the need to leave a review, some don’t understand why a positive review benefits you as a brand, some are lurkers, and some simply don’t have time to leave a positive review.
Quite relatable, right? Imagine how much time it would have cost you if you had to write a review for every brand you liked. The least we can do is give companies a five-star rating.
But blank five-star ratings don’t tell us marketers what’s good about our products. That’s why we need to go the extra mile: we need to contact the consumer.
Even better, we need to schedule a meeting with our customers, where they can tell us everything they want (and everything we need).
Last Friday, I attended two photo shoots, so I had two perfect opportunities to find out who our customers really are, what they need, and how our products have helped them.
During the second photo shoot, I had an extremely valuable conversation with the customer. She started the talk with something she didn’t like about a product. But then she was passionately telling us how good the service was, how it helped her make the decision, how she uses our products, and in which ways these products make her daily life more comfortable.
A considerable part of the information she shared with me was different from the information I got during interviews with other customers.
This made me realize something:
everyone uses and experiences your product and service in a different way.
We all have different needs, desires, and behaviors. And as marketers, we need to understand the thoughts and behaviours of our customers before marketing to them.
It could be that you’re highlighting technical details about your products, whereas your customers only care about the color and shape of your product. Or your customers might use your product for a completely different reason. They might have discovered product benefits you haven’t even thought of yet.
These customer interviews can reveal what your customer truly cares about, and can make you aware of things that may not have otherwise occurred to you.
All the information that is gathered during these interviews fuels your marketing strategy.
After last Friday’s conversations, I came up with five(!) new ideas for blog posts and social media content. Content that answers questions that haven’t been answered online yet. Content that shows product benefits our competitors haven’t even described yet. And content that tells our readers about even more ways to benefit from our products.
In the end, we’re all social media marketers, so we’re already conversing with our consumers online. These online conversations can inspire new content ideas as well. But we all know that 280 Twitter characters can’t entirely convey how a customer feels about your product. Likewise, we also know that not every customer shares their thoughts about your product online.
That’s why it is so important to have face-to-face conversations with your customers. They help you, your existing customers, and your future customers.
Jelle Postma @jelle0908
I’m a 23 year old Marketer from the Netherlands. Obsessed with content creation, personal branding and learning new things!