Perception vs. Reality – What do your clients think?


So, you think you know your buyers, customers, or clients. But do you?

Perhaps you and your company have done what you do for many years, and you’ve surely gotten a lot right to have been this successful. Let’s take a peek at a handful of ways to truly get to know your buyers, from simple and fast, to more extensive, but very important:

  • Satisfaction surveys: These can be simple to orchestrate and will provide feedback quickly. You can create printed surveys to hand out or mail with a postage-paid return envelope. Alternatively or in addition to that, you can create an online survey (think SurveyMonkey). Offering a range of options to provide feedback will be most effective. Don’t have too many questions, and include a question mix that allows various types of responses – yes/no/1-10 scale and open-ended where answers are typed in.

  • Focus groups: This is formal research where about 10-12 people are recruited to physically go to a location for a 90-minute conference table discussion about a company, product, service, or concept. Focus groups can also be held virtually. The participants usually do not know the company behind the event, so the open discussion can be encouraged. Specific, non-leading questions are gone through to pull information, viewpoints, and competitor insights from the group. We’ve seen the results of what was learned during a focus group literally save our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • Buyer personas: Simply put, these are detailed profiles of your ideal buyers. The process is to interview several actual clients and others whom you think are your ideal target buyers to dive deep into their psyches to find out what is most important to them when seeking your products or services. This involves scheduling and having a detailed, one-on-one conversation/interview with them to ask a series of questions to get at the root of what they want and need, and why. After the interviews are completed, profiles are created outlining what these individuals look like (demographics) and details about their key decision factors, concerns, likes, dislikes, and priorities.

The insight gleaned from any type of marketing research can yield a treasure trove of information that can be incorporated into your business development and client care initiatives: Website content, marketing collateral, digital outreach (email campaigns, newsletter content, online advertising), etc.

Invest in the time to truly know and understand your customers and prospects so you can “speak” to them in the most effective way possible. If you need any help with marketing research, please reach out to me.

Quote of the week:

Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.

Dan Zarella