Market research has always been the lifeblood of sales and marketing. A good understanding of your marketplace and competition is the foundation of a successful marketing strategy. It’s not too difficult to know your market, and, because of content marketing, it’s easy to see what your competition is doing.

However, in addition to knowing your market and your competitors, it’s just as important to know your customers, and this is where traditional market research is not good enough. Brands that gain in-depth knowledge of their customers and their needs will be the winners of the future. Here’s how to go about it.

Understand the Sales Journey

The concept of a sales journey is not new, yet many brands completely drop the ball when it comes to creating one. This is because they tend to craft their customers’ journeys without talking to their customers. Also, many marketers just don’t know what questions to ask. To have deep insights into your audience, it’s necessary to understand three key aspects that apply to the buying journey: the customer’s intention, disposition, and action.

This will enable you to create the right experience at the appropriate stage along the route. For example, thinking of making a purchase may generate a lot of anxiety. If you understand the cause of that anxiety and when it happens, you can adjust customer experiences at the appropriate moments to help alleviate it.

Employ Customer Tracking Tools Across the Entire Journey

Web behavior tracking software will allow you to “see” each person who lands on your site and what they are looking at and engaging with. This data can then be added to the user’s record and used to create appropriate offers or experiences in real time. It might come as a surprise, but the majority of online shoppers are fine with being tracked if it produces the most relevant experiences for them. Investing in tracking technology delivers the information you need while operating quietly in the background.

Use Chatbots to Identify Personal Preferences

You’ll obtain even more data by asking your customers for specific information and what their preferences are. For instance, find out which types of communication your customers prefer, on what topics, and how often. Plus, gain useful information on their job title, company size, etc. The old way of going about this was to use a form.

However, a better approach is to have a conversation with your potential customers using chatbots. Chatbots are conversational and offer a much better experience than a form. It’s interesting to note that research shows that only 14 percent of consumers prefer filling out a form over engaging with a chatbot.

Bring Everything Together with Analytics

Analytics software, such as Google Analytics 360, makes it easy to provide your users with a more personalized experience. You can track customer interactions across various marketing campaigns and channel types and create customized offers on the spot.

Integrating this powerful data with your own marketing cloud data makes it that much more powerful. In 2020 and going forward, to be successful you must know your customers better and leverage that information to create better customer experiences and more sales.