For a second I want you to think about the answer to this question.
Are you collecting customer feedback, and if you are, do you have a way to make it actionable to benefit your marketing executions?
If you’re not, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. If you are then maybe you will gain a different perspective on how to better use this feedback in this article.
As a marketer you’re always hearing to collect audience and customer data right? But they never tell you what to do with the data once you’ve collected it.
Most don’t know this but customer feedback can do more than tell if your customers like your product of if your service was satisfactory to them. It can also be used to drive leads and actual sales for the company.
As you’ll see from the two examples outlined below I will show my experience in using customer feedback to drive leads and sales. The beauty about these examples is that they were done both for a B2C marketing campaign as well as a B2B company. So it works either way.
Making Customer Feedback Actionable (a B2C story)
It was Fall 2018 and I had been brought in as the content lead to execute a marketing campaign designed to help our client sell more tickets for a raffle promotion. On the team we had the project manager, the graphic designer, and the social media manager.
There were several things stacked against us.
For one the client had a huge goal without the budget to support that goal (we all know what that’s like)
Secondly, we were coming in at a few months before the launched of the project after it had been abandoned by a previous agency.
So we had no time and less than limited budget, two things I know a lot of us as marketers, or business owner who do their own marketing struggle with.
Anyway, we rolled up our sleeves and decided to take on the challenge.
The first few sessions we spent trying to work out who our ideal target market would be for the campaign, what were their aspirations, challenges, and which social media platforms they most likely frequented to know where we should host the campaign. Additionally, we were looking into potential partnerships we could leverage since we had a limited budget for any grand spectacle.
After the first few sessions we created a Buyer Profile that outlined who we believed our ideal customer would be. This is what we came up with:
Mostly male and female (8:2 ratio)
Lived in international markets such as US, UK and Canada
Aspires to return home to Jamaica one day to retire
Challenged with lacking the financial resources to return home permanently
Spends time mostly on Facebook and Instagram (channels we decided on)
We then went on to focus our efforts on two things, 1). Brand awareness, and 2). Growing the social pages’ following to drive that following back to the product page on the client’s website.
While executing the above we also focused on creating content around the campaign and distributing it to both pages as a test to see what resonated with the audience, and once we discovered that then used paid ads to amplify the content that did really well.
We did the above for the first month of the launch of the campaign to gather enough data to see if our assumptions around content and our audience were correct.
The data however told a different story.
It told us that our current Buyer Persona was wrong and that our actual audience and customers were the following:
Mostly female and male (7:3 ratio)
Lived in international markets such as US, UK and Canada
Single mothers and mothers with partners
Has an entrepreneurial spirit and wants to start their own business
Aspires to return home to Jamaica one day to retire
Challenged with lacking the financial resources return home permanently
Spends time mostly on Facebook and Instagram
This data allowed us to shift the type of content we were creating and our messaging.
Though this doesn’t directly have to do with customer feedback, I’m getting to that part next, it was important to include this section to highlight two things:
The importance of testing and data in any marketing execution
Show how we got to identify our primary target audience to gather our feedback
How We Used Customer Feedback to Create Results
Once we figured out who our actual audience was versus who we assumed they were, we then engaged with them around the promotion, asking questions such as what would they do if they won the promotion. These are some of the responses we got:
We then took their responses and formed our entire content and messaging around their responses, using even the very wording and phrases they used. Additionally, we created other content that was more call-to-action focused that drove potential customers to the sales page to purchase their raffle tickets.
This led to led to a 200% and 300% increase in online engagement on Facebook and Instagram respectively. It led to our audience now becoming brand advocates for the promotion by sharing content on their personal pages. Finally, and most important it led to an increase in ticket sales the second month by 200%
Why was this so effective? Because it became relatable and relevant to the audience. It was their message and their vision being redistributed back to them.
How to Make Customer Feedback Actionable for B2C
Identify the mediums your customers use to provide feedback or reviews of your products/services (whether it’s social media, reviews on your product page, or in-store feedback forms)
Take note of the most common things that your customers typically say about your product or service (you can also ask questions such as “What do you like best about our product/service?”)
Now take that feedback and with the same exact wording and use it to create your brand story around your business and why it exists
Secondly use the wording in your ad copy as well as your website copy to improve the effectiveness of your communication and messaging
Test it and improve as you go along
The reason why this method is very effective is due to a method known as ‘Mirroring’. This is taking someone’s words, thoughts, and feelings and repeating it or representing it back to them.
By doing so your messaging resonates with your customers as they begin to feel that you “get them”.
Making Customer Feedback Actionable (a B2B story)
I worked for a B2B company where I was not only responsible for executing their marketing but also did sales for them as well.
That meant sales calls and meetings in the mornings, and writing blog posts in the evening (or whenever the time allowed). This cross-section was actually a blessing in disguise. It helped me to gain deeper insights into our potential clients, and the challenges they had through direct communication with them rather than a Google search or third party data.
This not only helped with our sales efforts, but it also helped with our marketing as it helped me to know how to better position the company’s brand and its message in a way that connected and resonated with our target group.
One of the services the company offers is digital transformation to companies who either lacked the talent or the resources to do it in-house. In the realm of the IT world this meant how the company takes a client from doing business manually or with legacy processes and implements a more automated approach.
I would be in meetings where these companies would express the frustrations of trying to get projects done on time and on budget. Manual ways they had been doing business which caused frustrations among staff, as well as losing customers due to being behind the times.
As it turns out hearing these concerns were great material to create great content, and make that content actionable in order to 1). Position the company as an authority (which led to leads), and 2). Gave us the edge over competitors trying to win the same business.
The more meetings we had, the more feedback we got, and the more we treated that feedback as data that we could use to increase our chances of success.
How We Used Customer Feedback to Build Authority and Drive Business
The first step in making the feedback actionable was sifting through the data to identify what seemed to be the common challenges that most clients struggled with as it relates to their way of doing business and serving their customers.
Once we identified those common challenges we used it to position the company as the solution to our clients’ challenges by following this process:
Bringing awareness to the problem at hand
Helping them explain why they were having the problem
Offered the solution in the form of content
Used case studies to show why we were the most capable to help
Let’s look at an example of content we created from the feedback collected to achieve each level.
How we addressed the first two was in the form of the following article on helping our target clients understand what is digital transformation, why it is relevant to their business today, and how not implementing it can be damaging. It allowed us to bring awareness to a problem they care about, but more importantly break down how it can be damaging to the future of their company.
The next step was creating content around a framework that our clients could use, that the company had also used, on how they could fix their challenges and create an ecosystem that was digitized and modern.
Finally, we created case studies (‘Success Stories’) that showed other projects the company had done and the results from those projects for its clients. This was key as it not only showed authority, but gave credibility that the company wasn’t just talk but could produce the results.
By taking the feedback we got from clients in our sales meetings and turning it into content, we helped to enhance the brand and sales process. Thereby building the company’s brand authority online, which led to attracting more leads and closing more business.
This is one of the best, yet one of the most underutilized, ways of making feedback actionable in a B2B environment.
How to Make Customer Feedback Actionable for B2B
Accompany sales reps on their prospect meetings (you want to be able to collect the feedback firsthand from the point of view of the customer)
From several feedback data from meetings identify the top three common challenges your target base seems to struggle with
Sit with a thought leader within your company and have them answer how to overcome these challenges
Create content that firstly shines a light on the problem to your customers and then provides a solution in the form of content
Create a Buyer’s Journey that takes potential customers from not knowing about your brand and what you do, to becoming paying customers using the content (I break down how to do that in this post)
You can use the same approach with interactions on your social media pages once you are sure that your audience and followers fall within the same category as your potential customers.
Again when it comes to content marketing and customer feedback, simply collecting that data isn’t enough. It’s important to also find ways to leverage that data to create a more effective marketing and sales process, and customer experience.
As you can see from the examples given you can use customer feedback to improve your brand messaging and also to position your brand as the authority in the marketplace. This leads to more opportunities for your business, and increases the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts.