“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama
Business has become increasingly data-driven. Organizations crave lots of details including what customers are buying or which ads or content generate the most leads. So, it’s no surprise that a Deloitte survey found CMOs expect to increase marketing analytics. Estimates show spending growing 200% over the 3 next years.
But truly understanding your customers or target markets goes beyond simply looking at click rates or sales figure. It means understanding the motivations, priorities and challenges that influence their behavior.
According to Trustpilot’s Flora Frichou, “understanding your consumers’ needs and wants has become essential to ensure your company is future-proof. Listening empowers you to learn from and talk to your customers in order to create ever-improving experiences. With quality data, businesses are more likely to collect actionable customer insights. This can help them grow their bottom line in the long run.”
Obtaining this deeper level of understanding can be challenging. It often requires more in-depth research methods such as surveys, one-on-one interviews or focus groups. Insights gained from listening to customers (or the broader market) can be invaluable. They help to make smart, impactful decisions regarding your products or services, customer engagement and integrated marketing.
The Power of Differentiated Data
Market research can uncover valuable insights and data points regarding the trends and challenges impacting target audiences. That includes a specific industry or line of business. In turn, organizations can then leverage that intelligence to more effectively engage with current or prospective customers. Outcomes include building better campaigns, customizing messaging for an audience or shifting your content strategy due to market trends and customer priorities.
Market research can also help organizations elevate their market position and credibility by providing unique data and intelligence pertaining to the market. Have you considered combining your own data and customer insights with that of industry analysts or associations? This provides an extra level of differentiation and a go-to source for market trends and insights.
That information can be utilized across the marketing mix. Examples include customer experience mapping, targeting and messaging and integrated marketing programs (e.g., public relations, social media, email campaigns, etc.). It also can be used to create the content and sales enablement tools that matter most to buyers. This helps build trust and credibility throughout the buyer journey. Marketing insights also arm sales teams with differentiated information to have higher level conversations within customer organizations.
Labelmaster: Creating a Safer Supply Chain by Listening to the Dangerous Goods Industry
One great example of leveraging market/customer intelligence is Labelmaster’s annual Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook.
Shipping dangerous goods (DG) and hazardous materials are complex, highly-regulated and constantly changing. Those responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance have an increasingly critical (and difficult) job. As the leading solution provider to the DG industry, Labelmaster recognized the importance of trends and challenges impacting the industry.
In an effort to better understand the DG landscape, Labelmaster created the industry’s only global survey of DG professionals. It focused on how their organizations approach hazmat shipping and the specific compliance challenges they face. Each year, the survey examines a range of aspects related to DG management, such as company infrastructure, supply chain partners, regulations, technology and more.
The Power of Your Own Data
Now in its sixth year, the annual survey has provided Labelmaster with valuable insights, including:
• DG pros around the globe generally lack confidence in being able to ensure compliance across their supply chains
• Keeping up with regulations and ensuring compliance is challenging and time-consuming and DG pros desire additional support from their companies
• Compliance technology is often inadequate – with more than half of DG pros still relying on manual processes
• Organizations need better remote training capabilities and more effective communication of data across the supply chain. This will help them tackle the “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic
• An organization’s attitude towards DG compliance has a direct impact on how much a company invests in compliance resources
Survey results are showcased in an ebook or infographic and promoted in a press release, thought leadership content, blog posts and email campaigns. They have also been presented to the more than 300 hazmat, supply chain and business leaders that attend Labelmaster’s annual Dangerous Goods Symposium each year.
Making Market Intelligence Catalyst for Change
Gathering industry insights is just the first step – and goes well beyond simply creating a report and a few social posts. How Labelmaster continues to leverage it is what makes it truly valuable. Here are a few ways Labelmaster has made the survey (and the insights it provides) a cornerstone of its marketing and business strategy execution.
• Business & Solution Strategy: The survey provided greater insight into the challenges and needs of DG professionals, which Labelmaster has used to help guide company growth and investment. This includes further investment in Labelmaster’s digital training capabilities. Labelmaster even cited stats related to the need for better (and remote) DG training in internal and customer-facing materials when launching its new 3D Online DG Training Experiences earlier this year.
• Sales & Marketing Integration: Based on attitudes and behavioral responses, Labelmaster identified 3 distinct groups of companies – each rooted in how companies view DG within their overall business operations. A company’s group status impacts its compliance confidence, investment in DG technology, training effectiveness and other issues. It then developed a strategic plan to identify the appropriate group’s current and future customers. From there, they engage them with a personalized nurture campaign created for companies with the attitudes, behaviors and challenges relevant to that particular segment type.
• Content Strategy & Execution: By understanding the specific challenges of DG organizations and key focus and investment areas, Labelmaster was able to better align its content strategy with the issues that matter most to its buyers. The survey also identified that access to more industry data and insights would help DG pros more effectively communicate the business value of compliance to senior leadership (in hopes of getting additional budget), which Labelmaster has focused on providing.
• Cross-Channel Marketing: Labelmaster is able to strategically leverage the survey data across its marketing mix. This even happens long after the reports come out. This includes incorporating survey data or promoting the report in email campaigns, social media posts and various public relations activities, such as company press releases, industry award submissions or editorial pitches, to support (and strengthen) Labelmaster’s POV on key industry trends and challenges.
Elevate Your Market Position
Insights in the customer environment and overall market offer businesses countless opportunities to elevate their marketing strategy and deployment. And it can deliver real business benefits.
According to Labelmaster Vice President Rob Finn, “The annual DG Global Confidence Outlook has allowed Labelmaster to hear about the business needs, challenges and priorities from DG pros around the world – whether they’re customers or market influencers. These insights have not only helped us make informed business and marketing decisions, but Labelmaster has become the industry’s only source for this kind of data. That’s a real differentiator for us.”
Let Outlook Marketing help you obtain the customer and market insights you need to better understand your customer’s environment, and develop and execute an informed marketing strategy that elevates your market position.
Author: Stephen Dye, Director, Outlook Marketing
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