Marketers – Are you Listening?

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence [1]
As marketers, do we really command the kind of power Simon and Garfunkel sang about in the sixties?  Do we truly have the power to influence listeners and consumers subconsciously with the subtle nuances of our carefully crafted words and imagery?  Well, yes, but the good news is that people are quite aware that it’s happening these days and, after all, there’s nothing dark and ominous about a good faith value exchange, right?
As time goes on, technology improves, and we test and we test, we’re learning more about the images and messages that truly resonate with our audiences.  We’re even learning about what is most effective in context, in the time and place the consumer is hearing and seeing what we present to them.  Wow, how times have changed!
Of course, consumer tastes and behaviors are evolving, so we need to have systems and processes in place to listen for those changes.  We analyze sales data, online behaviors, and new piles of data being created in more places every day.  Our peers share insights with us in online forums and through industry organizations.  There are more and more ways to stay in touch with important trends that influence our buyers, and ideally how we communicate with them.
Going a little deeper into influencing behavior, have you noticed there are survey links everywhere you turn today?  You can hardly complete a transaction anywhere without being asked to complete a survey.  This is another clear indication of how critical listening to the customer is to marketing effectiveness, and engineering a winning customer experience.
Speaking of trends, something garnering significant attention as of late is the matter of trust between a seller and a buyer.  It turns out that establishing trust is increasingly being correlated to buying behavior. [2]  Well that seems pretty intuitive, doesn’t it?  Trust means lower perceived risk by the prospective buyer, and traditional marketers take note – one of the essential building blocks of trust is brand consistency!  Creating a high quality, consistent experience with the brand increases trust, lowers perceived risk, and paves the way to higher conversion, sales, and loyalty.  The thing about trust is that it is hard to do measurement and attribution on, and so the survey links become ever more ubiquitous.
Now more than ever, it’s critical to work with an experienced data scientist that can help you listen to your customers and interpret the data effectively, finding actionable insights that increase the effectiveness of your campaigns and drive superior performance for your business.
[1] Lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sound Of Silence”
[2] Clinton Kennedy, Sr. Database Marketing Analyst, Impact; See: “Perceived trustworthiness of online shops” by Oliver Buttner and Anja Goritz, Journal of Consumer Behavior, 7: 35-50(2008)

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