You can’t make an informed decision, whether in your business or personal life, without key pieces of information. Information can from a variety of sources and helps us determine what our consumers want, how they interact with our business, and what they’re looking for when they connect with you.
In my world and what should be the driving force for marketing falls into three distinct analytics categories: quantitative, qualitative, and observational.
Quantitative data points are those that you can count: most notably, analytics by the numbers, including what Google Analytics can tell you. For example, when you launch a new campaign, you might find yourself spending a great deal of time studying what keywords actually bring visitors to your site or how many new sales you have as a result of the changes you’ve made. Quantitative data points can also make it much easier to observe changes in your audience and sales over time.
Qualitative data points allow you to take a look at your marketing efforts from a non-numeric standpoint. Qualitative data include things like:
This data helps to tell you a great deal about customer use and expectations, but not from a pure numeric standpoint. It allows you to see what things work best for your customers: where they linger on your website, for example, or what type of content is most likely to bring them in. Through qualitative data, you can also determine which elements consumers are most likely to respond to.
Often, when taking a look at consumer data, companies get bogged down in qualitative and quantitative data, amongst a billion other distractive data points, the things they can clearly observe on their dashboards and calculate in order to determine what actions consumers seem to be taking. All too often, what they miss is observational data–and in some cases, it can be the most important of the three.
What is observational Data, it’s simple, it’s listening to your client. Often times during collaborative dialogue, they’ll drop you what to them may be insignificant, or the polar opposite, the most important thing for their business. We cannot neglect the subtle insights provided by the clients. We may be going in one direction based on what the qualitative and quantitative data is suggesting, however, the client might have something completely different in mind.
What is Your Customer Telling You?
You interact with your customers in a variety of forms: through social media, in person at your store, and thorough customer service interactions, for example. Through those customer interactions, consumers will offer you clues to their needs–but you have to be aware of them and listening for the right information.
On Social Media
Many customers turn to social media to learn more about the businesses they support or the needs they have in a specific industry. A customer who is interested in learning about something new might join your group and interact with you. Pay attention to:
What questions customers ask. What do they need to know about your products that you are not already telling them? What information does not seem to be readily available on your website, or might be difficult to access or locate?
What problems customers seem to have. If you have a social media group where customers come together and chat, this is a great place to get to know customers’ specific needs–the ones that you might not learn about when they simply make a purchase from your business. Listen carefully to what problems customers mention regularly and how your business can solve them.
Through Customer Service Interactions
When customers connect with customer service, it’s usually because they have some type of problem. Customers do not, after all, typically contact customer service to report that things are going exactly as intended! Consider:
What problems do customers report most often with your products or services? What complaints do they have? Where is your product falling short?
What concerns do customers have? Customers may call in and ask questions about whether your product can solve a specific pain point. They might also report issues or share information about how your store or employees failed to meet their needs.
Watch customers as they move through your store. Where do they go most often? Do there appear to be any flow challenges in the store? What do customers report when they interact with you, whether at the checkout counter or when they ask questions for staff members in the store itself? Connect with your salespeople regularly to get a better idea of what consumers are telling you.
What Leads are You Getting?
Take a look at the types of leads you’re actually getting. Sometimes, your data will tell you one thing, while observation indicates that you are getting leads from a completely different source. You may also want to consider what your leads really want when they connect with your business. What is the product or service that first brings them to you? Where are your leads actually coming from?
By studying your leads, you can often get a better look at your target audience: who they are, what they need, and how they prefer to connect with you.
What’s In Your Pipeline?
Your pipeline contains consumers at multiple stages of the buyer’s journey. Who are they? How do they move through your pipeline? Are there sticking points? Observational data may, for example, tell you that leads are most likely to fall away at a particular stage of the process, or that they often get stuck on a particular point. Once you identify those challenges, you can help move buyers through the pipeline more effectively.
What are You Forecasting for Your Business?
What do you expect to happen over the coming weeks and months? What are you forecasting for the future? Your own predictions and trends may reflect observational data collected through past interactions with your customers. For example, you may note that you’re more likely to make sales during a specific season, or that it’s easier to connect with customers at a particular time.
What is your data telling you? As you make decisions for your business, it’s critical that you look at not only qualitative and quantitative data but that you consider what observational data can tell you, as well. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you collect and analyze the data your customers provide.