Monday, July 18, 2016

Marketers Must Interact with Customers

We in the marketing community interact with each other a lot. We have our own language and our own issues. Advertising people move from agency to agency. And marketing people move from company to company. We attend the same conferences. And we are concerned about the same latest technologies and marketing techniques. 

This is reason enough to get out of our marketing "box" and spend some time with our customers. The other more important reason is so that we do not lose touch with the people to whom we are marketing.

Many companies require their marketing people to spend a few months to a year as salespeople before assuming marketing roles. Some companies require their marketers to monitor customer service calls several times a year. Some require marketing people to work on the front lines in customer facing positions at least a couple times a year. Other companies have required their marketing employees to role play the lives of some of their customers. Some research projects require anthropological research in which the marketer must observe customers as they purchase and use the brand's products. Harley-Davidson executives ride in HOG Rallies with their customers and then debrief what they saw and heard back at the office after the HOG rallies. One research technique for children and young adults is to ask them to take pictures of whatever they want in their lives for a period of time and then submit those pictures to the marketers to sort through and analyze. 

The point of all of this is to stay close to your customers and their lives so that you can understand and even anticipate their needs. This is an essential role of every successful marketer.


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