Understanding customer needs should be the primary focus of marketing and communications. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially because customer needs are dynamic. They change daily.
Meeting customer needs is like trying to guess what is relevant and what isn’t to certain groups of audiences. For example, when I was in the market to refinance my home, I was targeted every single day in my Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and the Google search results with ads about interest rates. I noticed every billboard, commercial, podcast and radio ad. I overheard conversations in the grocery store, the office, and every other public place when the word “refinance” was used.
Off the top of my head, I could tell you the interest rate of every bank and credit union for 30-year fixed mortgage.
This was my need. I needed to find the best interest rate possible for my current situation. What’s interesting is that the minute I closed escrow on my refinance, I stopped noticing the ads, conversations, billboards and so on. The reality is that they were still there but that content and those messages did not meet my needs any longer.
Smart marketers today are doing what’s called a customer needs analysis and there are several ways to do it.
There’s the traditional survey approach which still does provide a lot of value. Or, you can use social media listening tools to predict your customer needs and wants.
Using Intent-based Social Conversation to Find Customer Needs
Consumers today are not shy about telling the world which product they plan on buying or which ones they have just purchased. Even if you don’t have a social listening platform, you can do a native search for keywords like “going to buy” or “just bought” or “thinking about getting a” coupled with a product name and you would be surprised at what you’d find.
You can do this with products, services, movie trailers, concerts and events.
Innovate Your Product Lifecycle Using a Customer Needs Analysis
The product life cycle is a model that illustrates the length of time that a product brought to the market and introduced to consumers until it either goes away, innovates or pivots into something new. It’s broken down into four stages—introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.
It’s not too difficult to map social conversations to each stage of the product lifecycle. In fact, it’s very similar to mapping conversations to the purchase funnel, which is smart and can inform a B2B social media strategy. This also plays really well into product innovation, which is a core driver and byproduct of a customer advocacy program.
Uncover Trends in Customer Needs Using Percent Change
Using data to track share a voice around a product, service or even topic and then tracking that data overtime can uncover patterns and trends.
For B2B audiences tracking the percent change in mentions of 5G as an example, might indicate that 5G is no longer top of mind for that audience. Perhaps they are more focused on 6G or the latest in AR or VR.
For the general public and consumers, imagine tracking issues in a particular state leading up to and after an election.
Please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel; and be sure to hit the notification button so you can be notified when new videos are uploaded. You can also connect on Michael Brito’s social media channels if you like.