Know your audience. It’s a business rule that’s both golden and evergreen. So carpe diem on “Get to Know Your Customers Day” on…
Know your audience. It’s a business rule that’s both golden and evergreen. So carpe diem on “Get to Know Your Customers Day” on July 16. The occasion that falls on the third Thursday each quarter offers a perfect opportunity to take stock of how well you know your audience and how to deepen that understanding. Imprintteam members share ways to do it.
Andy Seibert, Managing Partner
Open the door to humanity
Content marketing is really a partnership. And even though it’s not that you have to be best forever friends with your clients, getting to know them just makes it a better relationship. The key to getting to know your customers is opening the door and letting them get to know you. If they know you, the more comfortable they may be telling you about themselves. That adds humanity, which then brings out more creativity and better discussion, and takes the relationship beyond just transactional. That’s where we strive to get with our clients—to be an extension of their thinking, of their team.
Meg Staknis, Managing Director
Be all ears
One of the most important elements of knowing your customers is to listen to them—really listen—in order to be the best possible partner
you can be. Listening is now more critical than ever because you are not seeing each other face-to-face as often. And you can both get Zoom fatigue or fall prey to the distractions of multitasking during video calls. (BTW, your customers always know when you’re multitasking. You’re not fooling anyone.) When you are doing other things instead of listening to your customer, you’re not learning about them, hearing what they need, or leaning into the problems they need you to solve. Active listening is one of the most important things you can do to cement the relationship between the customer and your business.
Duncan Milne, Managing Director
Sharing stories about experiences I’ve had as a customer with other businesses where messaging has been confusing or irrelevant; or talking about moments when I’ve been really surprised or emotionally touched by a communication have often helped me encourage a client to think more creatively and more empathetically. Having that anecdotal, real-life conversation often can help make the impact of a communication strategy feel real. By imagining ourselves as customers we’re able to figure out an answer to an essential question—will this communication actually help?
Ashley Brenner, Creative Director
Focus on the brief
Knowing the audience is the thing that drives all the work in content marketing. Any time we start a new project, even if it’s a client we’ve worked with before, we always thoroughly review the brief, which outlines who the work is for, what the communication goals are, and how success will be measured. Initially, the brief might seem like a minor checklist item. But, in fact, the information covered about the audience always points us to the project’s overall objectives. It keeps us on track with the client and engaging the target audience.
Dan Davenport, Editorial Director
An important aspect of knowing your clients is staying absolutely current with world events that directly affect them. We may be creating content around, say, saving for a child’s college education, but we know those plans and decisions don’t exist in a vacuum. They happen amid a torrent of news that acutely impacts our clients’ outlook. And that’s an impact we must fully grasp. Then when we write, design and edit work we can more keenly grasp the moment the receiver is in — what they need, and what they’ll best respond to.
Ken Williams, Managing Director
We’re always focused on taking an audience-based approach for clients in order to understand their customers’ needs. When possible at the start of a project, we include stakeholder interviews as part of our discovery and research to truly understand customers’ needs and preferences rather than relying on one person’s view. In addition to reaching out to the end-audience, getting viewpoints internally from sales, marketing, product, senior leadership, and other areas gives them the opportunity to describe their needs, which can lead us to a lot of additional insight.