Every marketer knows the importance of listening to customers. Without customers voice continuously being reflected in your brand, you are no more in there. This is obvious. However, the difficult part is to know “how” to listen to them.
The most common answer is: through market research. Good answer, but still a vague one! There are many forms of market research, each one having its own merits and demerits. With quantitative and software specialists in place, this “how” part could be made as complicated as you want (no pun intended).
Let us get out of this clutter and think in a much simpler but powerful way. We may call it “Customer Conversation”. This is not the typical kind of conversation you engage in through customer service reps over phone, but a more casual and social communication through which you try to understand what customers think when they are “offline” (meaning when they can speak frankly in an informal set-up, where they feel no barrier or monitoring from companies’ part). Having a non-commercial and socially open environment may unclog a customer’s mind from where you can scoop out important aspects of your brand that you missed before. Aren’t companies already doing this through focus group surveys? Not really. Focus groups (in most cases) are already identified with its purpose and not necessarily those actual or potential customers are “offline”. How about asking your friend who just bought a brand of cookies that you actually lead for a company? How about asking your parents why they don’t use the brand of cellphone that you are selling in the market? How about asking your daughter why she does not like the chocolate drink that you promote as a brand manager? Surely, you will find insights that your Marketing Research Manager has missed. Try one today, and see the difference for yourself.