It was an early morning when the New York Times released the famous headline that would send many individuals on a tear; “Taco Buys Liberty Bell”.
Many shuddered in disbelief as they read that their iconic symbol of national heritage, the Liberty Bell, had been sold to Taco Bell to reduce the country’s debt.
Highways had long ago been started to be adopted so why couldn’t organizations “adopt” monuments like the Liberty Bell was the argument.
It wasn’t the same many contended and thousands of complaints streamed in by noon to Philadelphia the home of the Liberty Bell.
- 650 media outlets printed the story
- Over 400 broadcast outlets carried the story
- Over 70 million readers read the story
By the evening, the dust cleared and many individuals now knew what some had started to suspect, it was an April fools joke; and now one of the most infamous ones.
For Taco Bell though, it was no joke, they had raised their revenue over $1.1 million over a span of two days. A successful marketing stunt.
What is marketing – stunt management? Others resort to the quick description of it saying marketing is “salesmanship in print”.
Others describe marketing from a perspective of the process; that it’s the development of the product (or the offer), determination of the price, determining of channels which to distribute the product and finally the promotion of the product.
However you define it, there are many functional and strategical elements of marketing. There’s also one piece in Microsoft Dynamics CRM called dialogs that fits into a vital element in marketing.
Marketing is Many Things But Also One Forgotten Thing
Marketing is many things but one item that is most often overlooked is how marketing strategically positions the organization to solve market problems.
Your job as a marketer is to direct your organization and position them in a way to best compete. Items that are most commonly seen as marketing functions include:
- Defining sales and marketing processes through technologies such as CRM
- Providing sales collateral and tools for sales team to use
- Joining special calls / speaking events to represent the organization
- Being involved in any discussions that relate to strategic customer facing initiatives to ensure your organization in positioned and promoted in the right light
- Running events / event management
- Providing thought leadership in the markets you serve
- Providing lead generation and nurture marketing
- Creating referrals, references and case studies
- Creating product or organizational roadmaps, providing win / loss analysis and defining your distinctive competencies
- Defining distribution strategies, partner strategies and affiliate marketing programs
While these are all commonly held marketing activities, the one most critical to helping your organization compete was left off – that’s your job as a marketer to define market problems.
Defining Market Problems for Your Organization to Solve
Market problems you say?
Defining market problems means coming to a place where you as a marketer know your customers and understand them better than anyone else in your organizations.
You arrive at the place where you know the problems your customers are facing today and will likely be facing tomorrow.
The most effective way of accomplishing this is getting into the field and performing in-person visits. Some might simply call them customer interviews.
Pragmatic Marketing calls them NIHITO visits (NIHITO stands for “nothing important happens in the office”).
Others might just think of it as getting feedback.
The act of what we call it isn’t as important as what the outcome is.
These types of interviews help marketers report on the challenges customers are facing (yes it means getting face-to-face all you marketers who like hiding behind your websites).
Four items to note in this process:
- You visit a handful of customers (yes, face to face visits). Ask them if you can sit down with them and if they can give you input into your future roadmap. Individuals love to help. Don’t sell.
- Ask them these five strategic questions – listen between the lines:
What drives you crazy about your job?
What drives your buying decisions?
What do you think of my company and product?
Who are my competitors and what do you think of them?
What neat products have you seen on the market?
- This will give you likely more information then you could have garnered doing an hour of research on the internet. The problem with research from afar you look at the market through your own lens. You need to look at yourself through the lens of customer.
- Focus on the qualitative data that you receive from your customers – we’ll make sure that it’s statistically significant later on.
Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Understand the Customer Better
As the marketer it’s your job to share the information and position the organization to respond to the feedback you’ve received.
One of the ways we can gather this information about the customer is with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM dialog feature. This feature helps facilitate this process.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows you to easily create surveys through a dialog process in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
The dialog process in Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows us to gain a structured way to gather this type of information from our customers and append that information to our contacts, accounts and opportunities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Once we’ve visited five customers we can call down on the rest to get a higher quantity of feedback with our surveys. A call down will suffice to validate the concerns, wishes and future desires of the customers we visited in person.
Another way to gain statistically significant information would be to do the rest of the surveys with a survey tool provided by an organization like ClickDimensions which would pull the information into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Some might say, why can’t you use a service like SurveyMonkey? Yes, while SurveyMonkey is nice and easy to use it doesn’t gather the information into your CRM system like Microsoft Dynamics CRM can where you as a marketer can use it to easily share with the rest of your organization.
It also doesn’t record the information against a contact, account or opportunities that are stored inside of Microsoft Dynamics CRM so that the information can be used as a reference down the road for salespeople.
If your developers, when they look into CRM they could see the feedback that was gathered on their accounts – it allows them to respond in a way that wouldn’t be possible if the data was segregated.
Ultimately, the organization who understands their customer the best and responds to them in that manner is the one that will accelerate their customer acquisitions the fastest.
And that is the primary job of the marketer – to understand his or her organization’s market problems.
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