If you believe the pundits then the slew of bad economic news points back to a recession. Regardless of your thoughts on whether or not we will limp along or fall back, we must take the time to rethink our approach to how we market our products and services. This is the case for B2B marketers as well as those in the consumer sector. Even in recessions there are companies that succeed at exceeding their customers’ expectations—and continue to grow like Cvent has. This can only be done if we as market researchers put our time and energy into understanding consumer behavior. This is no small task, but if broken down into manageable steps we can contribute our organizational success. Here’s a few thoughts…
Look inward before looking out. Most companies have a wealth of data internally that can be used to answer key questions. Transactional data is a great place to start any segmentation exercise. This data can help answer questions such as who are my most/least profitable customers; are new customers fundamentally different than more tenured customers, and who is most likely to leave the fold. This is consumer insight in its finest form and should drive both acquisition and customer retention marketing.
Establish a survey system. Online survey platforms when integrated with CRM systems can provide the tools necessary to survey new customers, existing customers and those that have left the fold. There are turning points, e.g. when someone becomes a first-time customer or changes their buying pattern that should trigger a survey. The answers to one customer survey may not be all that is needed to drive internal changes, but when taken collectively they form a wealth of knowledge that can be easily accessed to provide decision makers with the data they need to minimize risk.
Keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Transactional data provides behavior, but it doesn’t provide insight into the attitudes which have driven that behavior. Market studies, e.g. brand awareness, market positioning, customer satisfaction, and segmentation, allow researchers to peer behind the curtain and gain a deeper understanding of both customer and prospect attitudes toward the company and its competitors.
There are companies that gain market share and increase profitability even during economic downturns. More often than not they are competing on analytics and leveraging the data collected from all processes, not just marketing. Be a winner by using your data to its fullest capacity.