What should marketers do to really understand their customers?

Michael Roberts

The best marketers know their audience. They understand their customer’s problems and concerns, they know where they spend their time online, and they build content that meets their audience's needs.

But many marketers make assumptions about their audience. It’s easy for marketers to think that they know their key personas well, but do they? Why does so much content still miss the mark?

I asked some of the best marketers I know how they figure out their audience. It’s not rocket science, but here are their ideas on what it takes to understand your customers and what they want from you: 



"The easiest way to understand your customers is to talk to them. My team spends plenty of time talking with customers on social media and listening in on sales calls so we can gain insight into our customers' biggest questions and challenges–and then we make sure to address those concerns throughout our messaging."

Melissa Zehner, Senior Director Content Marketing at Lendio

“I get on customer service chat and answer any and all questions that are sent in. Talking with customers has helped me learn what they are looking for, what new products or improvements are needed and where the website needs work. It helps me drive strategy in the direction I know will appeal to our customers, because they are the ones who told me.”

Tanner Charlesworth, Head of Marketing and Sales at Ampry

“We call and ask them what their challenges are, if the product is meeting those challenges. We do NPS surveys and UX design reviews.”

Ryan Smith, Head of Growth Marketing at Elementum

“I built a relationship with industry experts on the customer success team who used the product in their own business in the past, and always pick their brain/hop on customer calls with them.”

Daniel Murray, Senior Manager Marketing Operations at ServiceTitan

“I am constantly listening to gong calls and hopping on calls with prospects and customers.”

Nick Bennett, Director of Account-Based and Field Marketing at Alyce

"When you have an ideal customer willing to share information with you, such as someone participating in a case study, take full advantage of the situation and get as much insight into their purchasing decision as possible. Why did they choose your company over your competitors? When did they first take notice of your brand? If there was one thing they could change about your product or service, what would it be?"

Tucker Stoffers, Head of Digital Advertising at Divvy

"Talk to them. And actually listen. There have never been more ways to communicate with your customer community across a variety of channels. It's important to tune into what conversations are happening across all of them, especially because there's a growing expectation that brands are aware of what's going on. If something is impacting customers, they're talking about it, whether it's on social media or online forums or via support tickets. So monitoring conversations and trends, then developing ways to action on insights learned, is crucial for modern customer relationship management."

Chantelle Marcelle, Head of Growth at PromoPrep

“At Agency Habitat, we conduct Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) with many of our clients. We use these half or full-day sessions to reset, analyze and strategize, learning from the past, assessing the present and looking toward the future to determine where we are and where we need to go.”

Ryan Cormier, Executive Director at Agency Habitat

“I have 25-minute virtual meetings where I interview customers to learn more about them. In particular, I'm trying to find out:

- Their pain points and buying objections

- The life or work transformation they're seeking as it relates to my product/service.

- How they use my product/service

- How they speak about my product/service

Answering these questions has a profound impact on marketing strategy and writing copy.”

Liz Willits, Owner at Liz Willits

"Talk to them! Whether it's interviewing them on a podcast, connecting with them on LinkedIn, or joining Slack communities where they're active, I always understand my customers best when I can have real conversations with them."

Meredith Metsker, Content Marketing Manager at Stonly

“Always spend time reading and responding to the comments left on the content you distribute. You’ll learn how your customers communicate, what resonates with them and ultimately you’ll connect with them on a personal level.”

Sam Moss, Co-Founder at 1Click Agency


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