Why You Actually Need To Talk To Customers And Prospects
You have an MVP. You’re ready to market. You wrote a blog article. You published a few social media posts. You even created an eBook.
But have you actually talked to a prospect?
I don’t mean “have you talked to a prospect to make a sale?” (or talked to a customer just to get a case study). But “have you talked to a prospect to understand their problem, how they measure success, and what they want the future to look like?”
The problem many health tech startups face is messaging themselves to the right target market and the right people within that target market.
And even if they have done an analysis to discover their marketing persona, I find they often have not interviewed real people who fall into their persona category to truly understand their lives, jobs, problems, and goals.
While you may see some success in your marketing efforts without those person-to-person conversations, your campaigns won’t reach their full potential.
Here’s why ongoing prospect and customer interviews should be part of your marketing strategy:
Your assumptions are likely wrong
We all know to never assume, and yet it’s still far too easy to assume our assumptions are accurate.
When this happens, and we start passing our assumptions around to the team, they will begin to treat these assumptions as facts, not possibilities.
The problem with assumptions is that they bind you to your limited experiences and perception. You haven’t walked in your buyer’s shoes and so you don’t know how they experience and perceive circumstances.
It’s likely that more often than not, your assumptions will be wrong, but you won’t know until you’ve asked questions of your prospects and listened to their responses.
You need their words
Your prospects and customers can give you the inspiration you need for your value proposition. If you can frame up the message that lives at the core of your marketing in their words, it will resonate with them and with each person like them.
What I see happen often when health tech companies don’t talk to their customers as they build their marketing strategy is that they resort to the same cliche differentiators that everyone else is saying...which makes them no different than their competitors.
When you truly listen to your customers and prospects, they can plant ideas in your head that turn into true differentiators that set you apart from the competition.
Surveys will never replace person-to-person
I 100% recommend that you use surveys and polls to get an accurate feel for what your market segment is facing. However, surveys will never replace the power of a person-to-person conversation.
While face-to-face is best, you should at the very least try to connect with target customers over video so you can gauge facial expressions and get a limited read on body language.
Your job as a marketer is to humanize your customer so they aren’t just “buyer personas” to the rest of the team but are real people with real challenges who need real solutions from your product or service.
You may never be able to interview your entire target audience; however you should aim to speak person-to-person with at least a sampling to hear their voices and listen to their words.
They can help you create content
Customer-generated content is some of the best content you can create, and it’s simple to work into part of your market research process.
As you interview customers and listen to their responses, they will provide you valuable feedback into questions they and other customers are asking, objections they may have, and where they see value in your product or service.
When you create buyer personas for their categories, document these questions and statements so you can use them to generate blog posts, videos, and other resources targeted at those potential customers that answer their questions and concerns.
How to run a successful marketing research interview
Make a list of valuable interview subjects
Work with your sales team and other stakeholders to find the right customers or prospects to interview. If you are a new company with no prospects yet, these people may fall into the “friends and family” category until you have true customers.
Ask the right questions
You can Google and find plenty of customer interview questions that may work well for your market research purposes. However, you need to make sure the questions you are asking are tailored to your organization. Here are some key categories to keep in mind:
Role and company - you need to understand the role of the person you are talking to as well as the organizational structure so you can understand other decision makers and stakeholders you may encounter.
Goals - what does this person and their team need to achieve to be successful?
Success measure - how do they and their employers measure success? In other words, what will get them fired or what will get them promoted?
Challenges - what do they worry about the most, what is the root cause of those worries, and what are the future implications of that problem?
Transformation - what do they want the future to look like?
Value - where do they see value in your product or service and your marketing hypothesis?
Objections - what would stop them from buying?
Competition - who else would they consider as a possible solution and why? Is there anything that differentiates you in their mind from the competition?
Document your interview
Ask to record the interview so you and your team can listen later and catch what you may have missed. Collect the information covered and use it to inform your value proposition and content campaigns.
You’re never done listening to customers.
While your marketing research method should be weighted toward listening at the beginning of your strategy building, you should never actually stop listening. Plan and schedule customer and prospect interviews twice a year or more so you don’t lose touch with what the market wants to tell you.
Are you ready to build a customer-centric health tech marketing strategy?
Are your marketing strategies failing?
Heal your health tech company’s marketing with this customer avatar and brand messaging guide.
PLAN CONTENT THE EASY WAY
Discover how to plan content that optimizes your marketing funnel and nurtures prospects through the buyer journey.
WHO IS WHITNEY?
Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.