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Community-Based “Customer Intelligence” Is Outbound Marketing’s Next Frontier

When it comes to marketing the stakes are high, and too many campaigns cost too much and deliver too little. That issue is particularly acute when it comes to outbound marketing efforts, which cost 62% more than inbound leads. Here’s what marketers need to consider to make the most of their money and drive results with their outbound marketing campaigns.

Measure your impact

If the impact isn’t measured, it can’t be perfected.

Yet most outbound marketing campaigns stick to narrow, traditional KPIs such as sales growth, leads, and upticks in existing customer value. Those KPIs are important, but they’re often too limited in scope and measured based on an incomplete picture of the data. Getting a better idea of impact means expanding visibility to channels such as Reddit and other online communities because rarely do official channels alone tell the whole picture.

Only 1 in 26 customers leave a complaint if they are dissatisfied with a product and direct positive feedback is similarly rare because most of that chatter happens on forums and third-party sites. Gaining visibility into how customers are reacting must mean going beyond those typical KPIs into online communities. Knowing that the leads haven’t shown up because of a specific reason, or pinpointing what your customers loved about a campaign might not be closed deals, but it’s valuable in knowing just what waves were made and how to do even better next time.

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Know the competition

Any great sales pitch will take into account competitor offers and include responses to counter them – marketing campaigns must work similarly.

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The first step is knowing your competition, and not just what offers they have or the differences in their product, but also what customers and potential customers genuinely believe. Here too, the ability to crunch the internal data and combine it with online forums means a greater pool of opinions and a far better ability to understand the pressing issues, versus an outlier opinion by someone in a bad mood. The result will be pinpointing campaigns based on your strengths and the competition’s weaknesses, and that always produces better results.

Understand your audience and what they like

Sometimes the obvious answer is the right one. Discord, for example, is almost always a valuable channel for gaming audiences, but that’s not always the case. For one of our clients, genealogy giant MyHeritage, it turned out that while typical ancestry databases and forums were valuable, so was monitoring a wide array of smaller enthusiast blogs that led to incredible connections and a key differentiator for marketing campaigns. Likewise, for our Fintech clients, Reddit is full of valuable information. Still, communities that set the trends for retail investors are often in smaller groups that are more active and whose decisions trickle down to the wider community.

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Beyond monitoring the proper channels to pick up trends and hone in on key messages, pushing those messages across the right channels is equally vital. Scanning the right channels can help to give context to campaigns beyond the standard numbers – what’s triggering the most conversations?

What’s being said?

And where can we change the message or channel to boost engagement and outcomes? Those questions can be answered by understanding your audience and listening to them in their own “homes” across the web.

Marketing is constantly evolving, just like nearly every channel. The newest frontier for marketers to adopt for better results is customer intelligence built on bringing online communities front and center. They’re authentic forums full of insights, and they’re the new channels where brands can engage users on their own terms to drive better results. It takes investment and plenty of time to implement the tech necessary to capitalize on marketing’s newest shift, but inaction is far more costly. The customer is a brand’s greatest asset. Now it’s time to find them and engage them on their terms.

Martech Updates: Understanding The Roaring Twenties of Digital Marketing in 2021

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