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What’s Your Customer Realism Score? 3 Strategies for Becoming a True Customer Realist

Today’s marketing environment continues to grow in speed and complexity! This means that studying and evaluating industry benchmark data is no longer adequate in the critical and often daunting task of understanding an accurate customer journey. Often, we end up building customer journey maps based on outdated information, wishful thinking, and creative flair. However, if you want to become a true Customer Realist, then Marketing Automation is a powerful way to clarify the customer complexities you face on a daily basis.

Are You a True Customer Realist?

Hand holding a lightbulb on dartboard sketched blackboard

Before we dive in, let’s test your customer realism score: How many of these 10 Essential Customer Realism Questions can you answer? (Be honest!)

  1. What is the job title of the person most likely to buy my Product A?
  2. Where does the person most likely to purchase my Product B live?
  3. Who might be likely to buy both products A and B?
  4. What motivates my customer to purchase?
  5. What are my customer’s end goals?
  6. Did any one type of person visit my website more than once last month, looking for the same information multiple times?
  7. Are my emails being opened or ignored, based on what type of subject line?
  8. Is there a trending topic in my blogs that people read more?
  9. What challenges does my customer face on a day-to-day basis?
  10. Are there solutions my company can provide for my customers’ specific challenges?

If you scored 10 out of 10, you can probably stop reading! (In fact, call me to help write the next blog post!) For everyone else, let’s review three key strategies for becoming a true Customer Realist.

1). Totally Targeted
One of the best and most practical ways to for becoming a Customer Realist is to create buyer personas for each type of customer you already have.
Personas can be based on either demographic or behavioral data or both for each lead or contact in your database or CRM system. Consider these two examples:

Example Buyer Persona 1 – buyer data based on demographic data:

Job title: MD

Role within organization: Surgeon

Geographic location: Pennsylvania

Example Buyer Persona 2 – buyer data based on demographics and behavioral information:

Job title: RN

Role within organization: Nurse

Geographic location: California

Behavioral data 1: Visited a webpage on our company site containing nursing information once last year

Behavioral data 2: Clicked on link in email to see the top 5 hospitals for nurses to work.

Behavioral Data 3: Followed or liked our company on Social media

As you can see from the examples, Persona 1 is much different than Persona 2; and it is up to the marketing team to learn the realistic paths that like-minded individuals take when purchasing their product or service.

Now the plot thickens… consider the following scenarios as well:

  1. What if my company has multiple products?
  2. What if my company has multiple business units with multiple products?
  3. What if you have many channels that market different products at the same time?
  4. What if multiple people need multiple products for different reasons?

While contemplating your buyer personas, you will also want to consider if your company has multiple products, business units, and even current digital marketing channels. These all play a role and are very important to building a realistic and meaningful customer persona.

After you have created and defined these personas, queries can be used in your Marketing database or CRM system to define them. The result is beautifully segmented data – aka addressable leads! You can now provide realistic, relevant information on what that individual needs to continue along their customer journey.

2). Richly Relevant
What may be relevant to one person may not be to another. If your company sells multiple products and has many business units, you want to decide which products are the most relevant for each persona. There can be as many personas as you need to define different paths of buyer interactions, based on the actual products and/or services your company provides.

Remember, you face many scenarios in your organization that can’t just be defined as industry-specific. If you want to be relevant, then it is absolutely necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of the customer journey from the perspective of each potential customer.

3). Tremendously Timely
Finally, being a customer realist is not all about relevance, but you must also weave in timeliness. I may love Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, but if it’s not the middle of November, then I’ll probably ignore the email with the “40% Off –Super Discount Cranberry Sauce” subject line. If you have been honing your customer realism skills, then you will begin to understand both the essential what and when of your marketing materials.

Conclusion
In summary – it’s time to get real about your customers! Staying focused on the actual customer journey and becoming a true Customer Realist means being:

Totally Targeted
You have the ability to segment your data based on factors such as behavior, demographics, needs, challenges, and goals. An easy way to glean this information is to create buyer personas, and then use marketing automation to watch their actual behaviors!

Richly Relevant
Keep your messaging relevant by keeping things real. For example, don’t send information to a doctor if the material is more geared to a nurse. If you’re not sure, look at the metrics from your past campaigns to determine if most of the people with the job title Nurse had more activity in your campaign than those with the job title Doctor.

Tremendously Timely
Initiate your campaigns at the right time of day, month, or year, according to what is relevant only during the accurate period of time. True Customer Realists have a keen sense of both the what and the when of content delivery.

If you and your team are ready for a Marketing Automation-driven dose of Customer Realism then please get in touch!

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Angela Dalmas
Angela is a marketing automation specialist, as well as a talented designer and strategist. A legendary Customer Realist, she is Marketo Certified, and a Marketo integration specialist with SFDC, WebEx, GoToMeeting, InXpo, StrikeIron, CVENT, Webhooks, API, LeadPages. When not building out powerful marketing automation campaigns, she enjoys spending time in beautiful North Carolina.

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