Collect Customer Data Through Low Cost Channels to Determine Buyer Behavior and Improve Product Alignments With Customer Needs
Best Practice (Good)
View each customer interaction as a chance to collect invaluable data on their experience with the brand, as well as their overall motivations as a consumer. Use informal methods, including social media, search engine advertising (Google AdWords, etc.), email and website A/B testing, and simple web-based feedback forms to gather data at lower cost, and in higher volumes. These data should be used to develop buyer "personas", or profiles, for new and existing customer segments to determine if brand messaging and campaign strategy aligns with the buying behavior and motives of each segment. Communicate data and insights from these informal research activities to the marketing, sales and product development functions. Hold cross-functional meetings to discuss how these findings may impact the work in each group, and formulate new ideas for advertising campaigns and programs.
Typical Practice (Bad)
Conduct focus groups, formal studies and other traditional customer research activities to assess potential changes to the company's overall messaging and advertising campaign strategy. Allow senior leaders to formulate ideas for new campaigns and programs to both augment existing customer groups and pull in customers from new segments. Based on data gained through long-term studies, and ideas from senior advertising leaders, develop strategic briefs and campaign details to be implemented by advertising employees across the organization.
Collecting customer data through many, lower cost channels (as compared to formal focus groups and long-term studies) allows the company to build and adjust customer profiles and advertising campaigns based on almost real-time consumer behavior. Communicating findings to cross-functional team members at various levels throughout the organization (i.e., not just among senior leadership) allows for a more "bottom-up" approach to idea generation and the creative process, in general. Ensuring that employees at all levels of the organization are aware of customer feedback and behavioral trends helps to promote a culture of "customer obsession" throughout the organization.
Use Keyword Tools and Periodically Train Digital Advertising Employees on SEO Trends to Better Target Customers
Best Practice (Good)
Take some time to brainstorm and use keyword tools (i.e., Google AdWords Keyword Tool, WordTracker, Moz Keyword Discovery, etc.) to identify numerous terms and phrases that relate to the key theme or themes of the message the organization wants to put forth. Ensure that keyword results are used to create quality content that will satisfy user search queries. Periodically train digital advertising employees to understand the latest search engine trends (i.e., latent semantic indexing, open graph meta data, etc.) and use standardized checklists and specific metrics to measure and improve the organization's current SEO policies so as to advance the website's ranking and increase traffic and customer relevancy. Use periodic meetings and communications (includes emails, organizational newsletters, etc.) with advertising employees and management to best integrate SEO into the organization's overall advertising and content strategy.
Typical Practice (Bad)
Choose a single keyword relevant to the content of each website landing page the organization has created and optimize the website as a whole by duplicating those keywords throughout each relevant landing page. Train digital advertising employees upon being first hired on how to properly employ SEO keywords throughout the organization's website. Ensure that keyword density is monitored, and add/remove keywords when appropriate in order to produce higher search engine result page (SERP) rankings.
Developing a good keyword research procedure helps organizations accurately define who their market is and what they are actively looking for. This, in essence, helps organizations develop their website, determine what content needs to be created and how the content is written in order to appeal to their targeted customer base. Such a practice is especially important in today's day and age due to the release of latent semantic indexing (SLI) across all search engines which assesses the frequency of a term and its relation to other terms on the page. SLI, as a result, can increase a website's ranking, or penalize a website for intentionally duplicating words. Taking time to research what customers are searching for, therefore, not only increases relevancy to customers, but it also ensures that written content will have the customer's interest in mind instead of "black hat" SEO fodder. Periodically training digital advertising employees, furthermore, not only ensures they understand the latest search engine trends, but by using standardized checklists and specific metrics, digital advertising employees are able to measure and improve the organization's current SEO policies and increase content visibility and relevancy.