The team at Pivot, Brian Solis and Barnickel Design recently released a report that examines the increasing gap between marketers and customers. According to the study, 76 percent of marketers think they know what customers want from brands on social networks. However, only 34 percent of marketers have actually asked customers for feedback.
“Asking is one part of the ongoing customer research your team should embrace now and over time,” said Brian Solis. “Research can lead to insights and insights can lead to innovation. Other byproducts of good research include the ability to feel customer empathy and translate it into inspiration, a powerful emotion that strives for relevance. Just watch any episode of Undercover Boss and you’ll see the same realization about empathy during the ending of every show.”
A strange as it may seem; marketers are not taking the time to carefully research customers before introducing a new product or service. After all, isn’t that the purpose of a focus group: to ask potential or existing customers about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes toward a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea or packaging before it hits the shelves. Instead, many marketers still believe that “customers don’t know what they want,” which is a big mistake in the virtual world.
Marketers assume that 59 percent of customers want insight on buying decisions when they interact with brands online. Again, they are wrong. The Pivot team found that only 37 percent of customers actually do. Marketers also think only 53 percent of customers want access to deals when, really, 83 percent do. Solis referred to the increasing gap between marketers and customers as the Great Divide or the “The Perception Gap,” the distance between what customers want in social media and what executives think they want.
According to Solis, companies think they are selling products and services, but in reality people hire those products and services to get jobs done in their lives. Solis quoted marketing guru Ted Levitt who quipped to his students a generation ago, “People don’t want quarter-inch drills–they want quarter-inch holes.” A problem arises, and the customer looks around and chooses the solution that gets the job done better than competing alternatives, says Solis.
So what other kinds of ill-informed assumptions are marketers making?
- They assume 82 percent of people use Twitter. Only 35 percent do.
- They also assume 35 percent of people use Facebook deals. Only 56 percent do.
- In return for their social engagement with brands, 83 percent of consumers expect deals/promos and 58 percent expect exclusive content. However, 59 percent of marketers think consumers see customer service as the biggest benefit.
- Over 40 percent of marketers think rewards programs are important to customers, yet an entire 70 percent of social consumers expect this as a benefit.
Savvy marketers already know what happens when you assume: you make an ass out of you and your company.
- The Perception Gap: what customers what and what executives think they want (briansolis.com)
- Customer-Centricity is Dead! What’s Next? (customerthink.com)