Should I follow my impulse or data in marketing?
Ask Silver Bullet - October 2018: Should I follow my impulse or data in marketing?
I knew an in-house Marketing Manager who said she had over 10 years of experience of marketing her particular company’s service and she followed her gut instinct as it had never let her down.
But, maybe the manager actually had one year’s experience 10 times over – she wasn’t open to new methods and believed her old ways were the only ways. Just as importantly, her ‘gut instinct’ may have worked over 10 years ago, but her company’s clients, the way they interacted with her company and the channels available to communicate a marketing message had all changed, whilst she hadn’t.
And the crazy thing was that there was an abundance of customer data to show the company this, had anyone looked rather than basking in the loyalty of a rapidly aging and declining client base.
So, we’re firm believers in using the data available – we may know the product or service intimately, be completely familiar with past sales success and even helped establish its route to market but we’re not the consumer so basing our marketing on what we THINK the consumer likes is plainly reckless at best. We have to ignore our own tastes and tune into what the customers actually like about our offer and what triggers their decision to purchase a particular product or service. Taken to one extreme, it’s why males can successfully market ladies lingerie and females are equally adept at promoting aftershave – neither group may be customers of their particular product but they can both identify and target their respective customers’ tastes through analysis of data.
The same principle applies to marketing everything from legal services to aerial access platforms. Understand your customers, what leads them down the road to purchase and what diverts them, what media platforms are influential, what are their competitors doing, where are the gaps in the market and how can we take advantage of them. Once we have this data, and there’s a plethora of sources available from Google Analytics for information about our own company to Market Research into general trends, then we can begin to formulate the marketing strategy.
The gut instinct strategy may involve advertising, for example, but the data is showing the Return on Investment is very low, whilst editorial coverage has been far more effective. Alternatively, the data may reveal your brand is tired or your marketing collateral is dated or the external market has so radically altered that your offer is no longer attractive and maybe we should be thinking about a rebrand? Perhaps the growth and potential of digital marketing hasn’t been fully utilised so that a whole new tranche of marketing tools has yet to be tried?
It’s irrelevant whether this work is carried out in-house or externally sourced. If you have the resources for this internally, great, but external agencies come without the baggage of internal politics and history and can provide a completely neutral take on a marketing challenge with a fixed cost. The salient points are that, firstly, an agency understands from experience with diverse clients in diverse sectors that they are not the customer and their personal preferences and gut instincts are irrelevant. Secondly, they are divorced from your product or service and will offer an impartial strategy that delivers cost-effective solutions based not on history or past office allegiances, but on customer data.
Do you need some assistance with your marketing? Do you need to review your strategy or do you have another marketing question we can help with? Talk to us. Email your questions anonymously to us today firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us (not so anonymously) @SilverBulletPR.