Marketing Listening Strategies: Can You Hear Me Now?

By Tim Johnson

marketing listening

Marketers in most industries are intently focused on telling their stories, as they should be. How the CEO rose from rags to riches, how their new product will profoundly disrupt the marketplace, how that new breakthrough app will revolutionize how people date, and more. And they want to share their news with the world – press releases, social media, contributed articles, digital marketing – as much as possible. What is often lacking before an announcement is marketing listening. It reminds me of the old adage, “you were born with two ears, but just one mouth.”

We all do the basics of checking out competitors’ news releases. We read Cision or Meltwater reports, search Google for industry trends, and check out social posts. But do we really do the legwork necessary to understand what our targets are thinking and why?

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How to Use Marketing Listening Strategies to Connect with Your Audience

Analyzing releases, tapping online resources and social is a great start, but it just scratches the surface. There are near endless ways to analyze your market and competitors, here are just a few:

  • Conduct informal polls at trade shows and conferences. People often alter their behaviors when taking a formal survey. But if you arm your team staffing a trade show with 4-5 questions and encourage them to remember or record the responses, you can get a lot of good, qualitative information.
  • Organize social media surveys. These are definitely not statistically significant, even if a lot of people participate, but can also reveal subtle trends and new information.
  • Pose questions on blogs and in direct marketing campaigns. Inviting blog readers and those targeted in direct marketing campaigns to answer 1-2 questions, especially if there is some type of offer involved, can provide valuable data from which you can extract new insights.
  • When working on these and other listening activities, make sure to ask similar questions. There can be excellent information revealed just by analyzing how people at trade shows respond to 2-3 questions versus people on social media.

When you’re done, make time to analyze the results of your marketing listening as quickly as possible! Information ages quickly and can be obsolete in as little as two weeks. When you finish the analysis, work with your team to turn any new insights you’ve identified into actions. It sounds easy, but in the press of everyday challenges, it can be very difficult to either start a new initiative or change the course of an existing one. But, updating your marketing program based on frequent, fresh insights, can make a big difference.

Have your own marketing listening tips? Share them in a comment below!

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