I am imagining all the agency teams and directors of marketing who have been busy for the past few months compiling their 2018 trends. Those trends will make their way into quarterly business reviews, presentations, and all sorts of reports. And what wonderful trends we must include! Artificial Intelligence, Geofencing, Bots, Augmented Reality, Big Data… the list is long.

But I wonder how many of these things will make their way into a marketing plan this year? 1, maybe 2? Certainly, not all. Probably none. Trends are the future, and an amazing future they will be. AI and AR alone will be changing everything.

My 2018 list is not wishful thinking or 180-degree change in product capability. My list are the things that are required to get moving on, if you don’t have them or they need updating:

1.      Database: Data must go somewhere to become an asset; somewhere where it can be organized and mined. Customer profiles should be accessible across the organization, where every division can get what they need and add more relevant data. You can’t begin to think about big data until this is working smoothly.

Why?  It is increasingly important to recognize the customer at every step in their experience, from marketing campaigns to contact centers to social response.

What to do? Take a hard look at your data structure, your ability to see the customer at all their touchpoints, and see what it will take to get to a universal customer profile, if you don’t already have it. Then make sure that the data is readily available in real time to the internal teams, partners and agencies that need it.

2.      Analytics: Marketing analytics requires the data, along with a good sense of the customer and the business problems that need to be solved. Excel files and huge binders are the output of the analysis, but the real benefit is the insights – what did it all mean? What’s missing? What do we do now?

Why? Mining for gold in data can bring out amazing insights; what customers care about, their buying patterns, the channels they are using and their value.

What to do? Look at the output/reports and see if there are recommendations and insights that came from the data that was analyzed; not opinions, but facts. Look for trends in buying patterns, based on every aspect you can think of – geographic, demographic, etc. If not there, question it and get answers. Dust off that segmentation and see if it’s still relevant in today’s mobile-first, connected world.

3.      Testing Environment: Cultures that embrace testing usually win in the end. Piloting new ideas, with careful testing methodologies, isn’t being too safe or careful. It’s bringing a new concept or channel to market that everyone is confident in, as an element of their plan. It is much easier to get budget backing when it’s proven to work.

Why? Jumping into something without piloting first could be embarrassing, for marketers and for clients. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it works for everyone. By testing and piloting first, you’ll be able to ramp up quickly and won’t waste money trying things that you would have tested in your pilot with smaller budgets.

What to do? Make sure testing methodologies are in place and that they are equally applied across the organization. Create a “lab” environment, and make sure resources are put behind it.

4.      Optimization:  I think most marketers would agree that this is a required part of marketing. Then why does it get removed in so many contract negotiations with agencies? And why is there a belief that once a year is good enough to make a change to that recurring email or direct mail? The answer is obvious. It comes down to budgets. But it’s also a failure to recognize that an asset you already have is easier to improve than creating a new one.

Why? Continually going back to the drawing board is ignoring all the data and insights that could have been gained by existing campaigns. What worked 6 months ago may not work now, but the changes to those assets could be minor. And finally, our world changes every day. Nothing should be on autopilot. What if a keyword you are buying has suddenly become a popular hashtag, and you are paying for a huge volume of unqualified traffic? What if iOS makes an update that makes your emails turn into gibberish?

What to do? Using testing methodologies, which include A/B and multivariate testing tied to revenue or conversion, monitor your campaigns every day or at least every week. Don’t forget to look for the longer-term trends. The money saved by not paying to make changes won’t likely make up for the loss in revenue or conversion when customers turn away from your marketing content when you weren’t looking. Or better yet, proactively solving for changes.

5.      Attribution: One of the most argued aspects of marketing, attribution decisions impact many marketing departments and not always in a good way. What do you use? Single source – last touch, first touch? Fractional – equal weights, multi-touch models? Algorithmic – using models, machine learning?  None?

Why? We are always looking for the silver bullet, and we want to give credit to it. Unfortunately, customers and prospects receive information along their customer journey and make their decision based on a combination of factors.

What to do? We can tag and measure as much as we can (and we should), and try to make media decisions based on what mix is working best. Whether using third party software, internally built models, or testing spend, the first thing to do is make sure that teams are educated on attribution and understand that customer behavior defines the “winning” ingredient, especially if you use a single source model. The best example: if the customer searches to find the product after seeing banners, TV ads, and referrals from friends, it would be a mistake to use last touch attribution and decrease other channels, since those channels led the customer to make the search. Keep in mind the big picture, and find your secret sauce.

I’m stopping at 5 because this is plenty to think about for 2018. Let’s put all those 2017 trends behind us, and get moving toward being the best we can be!

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

In the US, planning customer journeys in direct to consumer pharma marketing is an interesting proposition. Each stage of the journey has its own influences and potential disruptions. We can advertise and try to influence consumers and encourage usage of medications. We can bring the patient into a program and continue to influence them, reward them, and keep them compliant. At the same time, we can provide education on their condition and potentially help someone get better informed about their health – a rewarding feeling for any marketer.

Years ago, I was working on many pharma clients and their respective CRM programs. It became obvious that there was a shift toward understanding the patient from a company perspective, rather than from individual brand teams. This “cradle to grave” approach allowed companies to understand their patients and their needs as they moved through life. The profiling potential is considerable, but there is a fine line in how information can be used from brand to brand. For example, brand X could learn that the patient has recently hit another lifestage, which could open the door to a new indication or another product entirely, but it may not be possible to use the information due to regulatory compliance.

Then another shift occurred, where many pharma companies stepped away from the philosophies of CRM and patient retention programs and moved to awareness mode. I saw this from personal experience working on some of those teams, but also as a prospective and/or actual patient. Like many pharma marketers, I was signed up for just about every drug and condition known to man, and it seemed that many communications came to a grinding halt.

On the physician side, it is easier to envision a relationship between the pharma company and individual physicians. Sales reps have been calling on physicians for years, looking to sell their portfolio of products. While digital platforms have taken over much of the rep’s function, the principles are the same. It doesn’t make it any easier though, since the physician’s time is still at a premium and getting their attention is still a challenge.

Fun facts:

Video is rapidly becoming the first choice of consumers who want to learn something; “how to” searches increase by 70% year over year on YouTube. 66% of smartphone users learn more about what they see in a TV commercial on their phones.[1] 67% of users will leave a mobile application if it takes too many steps to get to what they need. 45% of diabetes patients use mobile tools to track their activities

Changing Times:

It seems probable that rising costs of health insurance and health care are keeping people from the doctor. Since ACA took effect, the uninsured rate has dropped from 18% to 10%[2]. No matter what changes lie ahead, the policies that are available may not make it affordable to see the doctor on a regular basis for healthy checkups. This means that more people will look to other sources for health information, making content a priority for pharma marketers. Content that is reliable and trustworthy, updated frequently and easily shared on social networks.

Marketing automation can help drive the right content to the patient, if the data collection methods are in keeping with legal and regulatory. Video is an easy way to provide information, and desired over printed content in many cases.

Mobile is incredibly important for healthcare marketing. eMarketer estimates that 40 million internet users are mobile-only in 2017, compared to 17.9% at desktop-only[3]. Given how we look for information today, health concerns could be searched at any time of the day; sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or on the train commuting to work.

The Break Points

The challenges in pharma when it comes to a customer journey are quite different from other industries. The patient watches a TV commercial and thinks that the medication could help them. They got to their doctor, their trusted advisor, who may recommend something entirely different. And their insurance company may not pay for the branded drug, and insist on generic. Increasingly patients are asking for specific products by name due to DTC advertising. In the survey “Millennial Mindset: The Collaborative Physician”[4], millennial physicians are less likely to prescribe what the patient requests as compared to older physicians (23% vs 41% respectively).

According to the survey, the collaborative millennial physician may be more likely to ask the patient to do research themselves prior to appointments. Where physicians find value with pharmaceutical companies is their discussion guides and adherence support.  

Which takes us full circle, back to the need for trusted and reliable content, along with patient relationship and retention programs. At the end of the day, healthy outcomes are most important to patients and their caregivers, as well as insurers and employers. With so much self-serve information needed, pharma marketers have the opportunity to provide information and support their brands at the same time. The key to preventing disruption is relevance; providing help and assistance at a time when we most need it.



See previous installments:

Breakage in the Customer Journey Part 1

Breakage in the Customer Journey Part 2 – Consumer and Automotive

Breakage in the Customer Journey Part 3- Retail

Breakage in the Customer Journey Part 4 – Financial Services



[1] Think with Google, Google Consumer Surveys, 5/15

[2] January to September 2016, Health Insurance Survey, CDC

[3] eMarketer, US Digital Users: The EMarketer Forecast for 2017

[4] InVentiv Health, June 2016

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

In the US, planning customer journeys in direct to consumer pharma marketing is an interesting proposition. Each stage of the journey has its own influences and potential disruptions. We can advertise and try to influence consumers and encourage usage of our medications. We can bring the patient into a program and continue to influence them, reward them and keep them compliant. At the same time, we can provide education on their condition and potentially help someone get better informed about their health – a rewarding feeling for any marketer.

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

with insights from special guest, Heather Anding

We all buy things in different ways. Although there are some generational aspects, we have personal preferences. Some of those preferences are determined by where we live, who we are buying for and what we are buying as well as how we prefer to research. Whether it is an everyday item or a considered purchase, we are forming new habits that intersect with online and offline shopping.

When plotting the customer journey, it is so important to understand different factors based on the customer’s situation. This may evolve to a segmentation layer based entirely on behaviors, that will help determine the right messaging as well as a technology stack that can identify where the customer is in their journey, based on the journey map.

Fun facts: 78% of consumers search for a product before they show up instore to purchase, and 29% buy[1]. Six in ten internet users start shopping in one device but continue and/or finish on a different one. 82% of smartphone users consult their phone while shopping instore.[2]

Let’s look at some shopping situations and attitudes:

               Frequent shopping: I know what I want, I buy it often and I probably know where the best deal is. When buying something often, the research phase is probably less. We skip many steps. We may buy on mobile, online, or instore. Personal preferences include convenience especially when shopping “in-the-moment”. When we think of it, we buy it. If we need it fast, we go to the store or find a service that will deliver it. If we can wait a day or two, we buy online and have it shipped. The purchase window is short!

               Window shopping: I have an event coming up and think I’d like a new outfit, but don’t really know what I want. Research phase is heavy, whether it is online, mobile, or instore. As more department stores close, those retailers need to start considering a different customer experience based on geography that is more focused on digital and eCommerce. It is understood that Web and mobile experiences must be perfect from a user experience perspective. When Window Shopping, the actual purchase can be made in any channel.

               Holiday shopping: Holiday shoppers are looking for the best deals AND for that very special gift. Research phase is heavy and starts sooner than we think. The actual purchase may wait until the deals start to appear, well before Black Friday. While some shoppers still want to stand in lines and rush out for the 4:00 AM deal, they really don’t have to. They are shopping vigorously, in all channels, all times of the day or night. It’s important to know that these customers may not buy from you all that often, if at all, any other time of the year. You need to leverage what you learned about them in prior years, and recognize them each year.

               Considered shopping: We are redoing the family room and a new big TV is in order. Wow, so much has changed since the last time I bought one. I could go to Best Buy and put myself into a salesperson’s hands. But most considered purchases – big money, often infrequent – means research. Research on manufacturer sites, retailers, review sites, communities, and other social networks. Deals and offers are likely important, so comparative shopping is likely.

               Curiosity shopping: I just saw something on TV, or heard about it from a friend. I go straight to Google and do a search. I might also go directly to Amazon if I am a loyal Amazon shopper, or some other shopping services. If I see it and like it, I might buy it right then and there, or save it for later. Research is likely, since more information might be needed, so make sure your search programs are tightly interwoven into how customers consume information.

               Seasonal shopping: There are certain things that I only need at certain times. It might be pool supplies in the summer, or humidifier filters in the winter, depending on where I live. I may buy them from the same place, or I might look for other options. New items may pop up here too, so it’s not always a repurchase. My research might be more price comparison related. Use your data to determine whether these purchases are in fact seasonal and communicate at the right time.

Now let’s consider whether the customers are deal seekers. Not everyone is. It’s easy enough to see in your data whether someone uses coupons, but you should consider how the offer was provided. For example, Macy’s offers rewards discounts, which are applied during check out, online and instore automatically. That doesn’t mean that the customer would have taken the coupon to the store. Kohl’s sometimes offers their scratch offs, but again, that is in the store. Customers that use those types of discounts are very different from active coupon and deal seekers. It’s important to understand this customer behavior because a better deal might be a perfect way to save a sale for a deal seeker. But for someone who does not seek out deals, you may need other incentives, such as fast free shipping options.

Next up is channel impact. Omnichannel has several definitions:

·        Many channels integrated on the backend

·        Cross channel business model, implying customers desire to communicate in many channels at the same time

·        Seamless approach to customer experience (rather than multichannel retailing)

·        A fancier “way” of saying multichannel ☹

No matter how you define it, retail customers are active in many channels and often simultaneously. The customer could be instore and on their phone; doing research on their PC and buying on their tablet; seeing a TV ad and walking instore; or any number of variations. Knowing those behaviors and understanding impact – especially the impact each channel has on each other - is critical to understanding if the customer has abandoned or if they have merely switched to another channel.

We can capture many of the behavioral factors and details that can help not only determine if you have lost the customer, but also how to go about recapturing and re-engaging. Having a strong customer strategy that reflects both attitudes and channel behaviors and is supported by the right data and technology can help you identify when and why the customer has gone astray. And don’t forget to consider how you are enabling the research phase in every channel, so that you can take advantage of those moments.

Many retailers are so focused on sales – the next email, the next campaign, the next product. To do this right, we should approach from the customer’s perspective. I believe the benefits will far outweigh the investments needed to do it right.

Next installment will be for financial services.

See previous installments:

Breakage in the Customer Journey Part 1

Breakage in the Customer Journey Part 2 – Consumer and Automotive


[1] Think with Google; Micro-moments Shopping Guide

[2] Think with Google: How Mobile has redefined the Consumer Decision Journey for Shoppers

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

Customer journey projects are underway, and we are beginning to understand what customers do, where they go, and how they interact with the brand. We’ve thought about the technology we need to move forward, making decisions on investments and figuring out how to leverage what we have, if we can. The next steps are to develop the content and communications that will surround those journeys. We will build plans across all customer touchpoints, and that is no small task. And despite our best efforts, customers will still go astray.

The variations on messaging will be dependent on your brand as well as the lifestage of the customer. Understanding what is important and relevant to the customer will be very critical, especially in those moments when the relationship is at risk. When a customer is new to the brand, value propositions should be front and center, with a focus on what’s in it for them. When a loyal customer goes inactive, it may be necessary to consider a winback with financial or emotional considerations. An offer that can’t be beat, a loyalty program upgrade, or perks that only loyal customers can have. But we must keep in mind that it’s possible that the customer just doesn’t need you right now, and they’ll be back.

In this installment, some tips for customer engagement in automotive and consumer packaged goods:

Automotive:  The holy grail of marketing to automotive brands is knowing when someone is in market. The fundamentals of CRM and data are especially important. While big broad media budgets can persuade to consider the brand, once the prospect begins to seriously shop, strategies need to kick in to capture information and engage handraisers, and know that it’s an ongoing effort. The purchase of a new car can be an emotional event or just another day. Some of us will keep a car until it falls apart, others may want a new one every year, others will look to buy a new one when their lease or loan is paid off. It’s not easy to create actionable segments around those variables, but it’s a reality that most new car buyers who are in-market don’t make themselves known to the OEM or their dealer until they are far down the path to purchase. Which means the OEM needs fast and furious messaging, and a strong omnichannel content strategy in the prospects preferred channel.

To be relevant, OEM’s need to give the customer the information they need, give them the right offers, and get them to the dealer or eCommerce as fast as possible. And remember that life happens, so a new car purchase could be pushed out a few months or six. Giving those handraisers reasons to engage and stay active may pay off later. Social plays a significant role in prospecting, since one of the steps in the customer journey usually relates to reviews and recommendations, and great recent campaigns by Chevy and Nissan show that.

When the OEM does not own the service experience, it is difficult to factor in the full lifecycle of the vehicle ownership into communications. On top of that, the OEM may never know that a customer is having issues with their vehicle. For those brands, planning customer communications means finding those reasons to be relevant that are related to the vehicle, and keeping the customer “brand loyal”. Data collection needs to be part of that mix, to help find those indicators that a new purchase might be coming. For example, getting tips on caring for a vehicle when it hits 100,000 miles, or life hacks. I saw one recently that was great; a mixture of rubbing alcohol, dish soap and water can dissolve ice off a windshield in a few seconds!

Consumer Brands: CPG marketers may not have the ability to follow a lead all the way through to purchase, so they need different metrics to track. Engagement is an excellent indicator, and giving customers and prospects relevant reasons to continue their relationship with you is worth the time and effort to figure it out. Avenues to explore include product education, lifestage information related to the product, advocacy, loyalty and rewards, and special customer events. The reasons that customers engage with the brand is part of the strategy you need to uncover.

When you don’t have purchase data, you need to find ways to find and engage the customer. Some products have registrations; Apple products are the best example of forced identification and registration. Other brands need to find reasons, like warrantees or related product maintenance programs. Like the automotive strategies, relevancy should be focused around the product. For example, Electrolux offers customers advice on entertaining and recipes which makes sense given their kitchen appliances. For more specific data collection, J&J offers its customers Healthy Essentials, a site that combines health-related content with coupons. P&G uses similar strategies with P&G Every day.

When customers appear to have defected, it may be more of a question of re-engagement. Some marketers believe that an unopened email means a defection. More likely, it means that the recipient just doesn’t need the brand at that time, or they are interacting in another channel. You will need an “always-on” re-engagement trigger and reminder programs coordinated across channels that can help keep people engaged based on logical business rules and your data. But it’s my viewpoint that CPG brands need a CRM-based communication program to identify and learn more about their customers, which allows them to be hyper-relevant, and when they go inactive, determine if they have defected or just taking a holiday.


Stay tuned for installment, where I will explore tips for financial and retail.

Part I of this article can be found here: Breakage in the Customer Journey




AuthorJeannette Kocsis

We all have expectations when we interact. We search and get advice. We may shop around from site to site, product to product, just as we go store to store. Ultimately, we expect to find what we are looking for, at a reasonable price, with as little fanfare as possible. And if during that process, we find something even better, we are happier still. Sounds simple, right?

Marketers can create customer journey maps that will help determine where and when they can continue to serve customers. But it’s important to know where breakage occurs; where the journey seemingly grinds to a halt as a competitor steps in, or the consumer has lost interest, or a bad experience puts the relationship in jeopardy. A few examples of where breakage can occur:

·        Each of us views 5,000+ brand exposures per day; this includes 362 ads, of which only 12 made an actual impression[1]. 2-1/2 times more brand exposures than 30 years ago. Placing media as part of your acquisition plan isn’t going to cut it without a strong omnichannel-based strategy, which can cut through the clutter.

·        I was watching TV and saw a commercial recently, that made me stop what I was doing and quickly search for the product. In minutes, I was being retargeted with ads, in a mobile app on my ipad. The timing and the message itself needed some work, but it was an opportunity to reinforce and remind. As of 2014, nearly 50% of brands were using retargeting in their media mix.[2] But is there a risk of being viewed as intrusive, and a good chance that ad impressions are wasted because it wasn’t a real prospect?

·        How many people change their mind during checkout? 82% of Smartphone users consult their phone while they are in-store[3]. And 76% of online shoppers change their mind after they do a search[4]. Access to mobile devices influences purchase decisions, at the very last minute, just when you think you’ve got the sale.

·        Marketers need to evaluate how email messages are connecting to mobile experiences? All too often, phones are interrupting the experience by offering apps to the user, when the planned experience is on the mobile web.

·        It is a myth that younger generations are more likely to engage with a brand through social. Only 19% of millennials will engage, as compared to 41% of baby boomers, according to Po.st. If experiences are heavily social, we need to be conscious of customer demographics and behavior by channel.

·        There is no question that social is a primary channel for current customers; customer service seems to be at the top of every social media trend list for 2016 and 2017 that I have seen. Factoring social experience into the customer journey all the way through will be critical – and making sure that the organization is setup to handle 1:1 in an often-challenging manner, when people are often unhappy.

As marketers think about the potential breakage, they need to think about messaging; do they begin an immediate winback campaign? Do they continue to message as though nothing has happened? Do they acknowledge the lost opportunity and stop investing in the consumer?  Of course, all of this depends on what is being sold, how often, value of the product, overall ROI, and the customer’s lifecycle.

Just as important is knowing the breakage happened, which is where technology comes in. Being relevant in the moment is a catch phrase. Being relevant requires infrastructure that can support it, along with strong analytics capabilities to identify the trends as they occur, supporting content and the ability to optimize the experience across channels.

Even internal structure can add roadblocks. Different teams managing communications by channel will make it difficult to leverage the hard work put into the customer journey. Consider changing structures to a different model; potentially by lifestage of the customer or as one single team. Or as a temporary fix, an internal advocate who can work across teams.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. We have so much to think about! Getting your customer journey in place is a good first step; but like so many things, it’s all in how you use it.


[1] Yankelovich, 2014

[2] Chango/Digiday Survey

[3] Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Google, 3/15

[4] A Marketer’s Guide to Holiday Shopping, Google 2016

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

I am readying for the latest round of “email is dead” articles that usually occur at the beginning of the year. Some are already appearing, with big pushes for marketers to start relying on retargeting/remarketing, mobile apps and app notifications. Along with social media, encouraging us to spend on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget the retargeting there too. And let’s not forget the other concerns over email and generations.

So, let’s take them one by one.

Retargeting and remarketing are awesome reminders ads that can help continue a conversation or draw someone back into a purchase they had started. They also can be used to reach out to segments in your database, but the messaging there needs to be thought through, and in many cases, you need to have enough volume to make an impact. It’s surely not a replacement for email, but rather a supplementary medium that used wisely, can help close a deal.

Mobile apps can be wonderful, and it would be hard to find anyone that loves them more than I do. But the reality is that very few consumers are downloading them; the MMA stated recently that the average downloads of an app is 0%. And it’s a huge investment to create a great app. If you are tempted to use a template or a cheap option, think again. Consumer expectations are very high and if you get it wrong, it will hurt your brand. It should be AMAZING, and you must market it heavily to gain enough usage to get the ratings you need. Plus, you must update it frequently. App notifications fall into the mobile app discussion. Consumers must install the app and enable the notifications for you to send them. Magical moments can occur then, and app notifications can and should be a part of your communication strategy.

Social is a great publishing tool. We can tweet and publish on Facebook, and we can communicate quickly to our fans. But your Facebook audience is not quite the same as an opted in list of people who want to hear from you, and a significant portion of your messages go unseen. Twitter is also a great publishing medium, but the volume can be so great, that most messages will be missed.

While it’s true that millennials and Gen Z users are less likely to use email, they do have email addresses if for nothing else than to sign up for accounts. But there are reports out there showing that these two generations will use email for offers; millennials already do.

Email is the one channel where consumers are asking you to message them and you have permission to contact them. They may even be anticipating your content, and if it is relevant, they will continue to engage. Will they open every message? Probably not. Will they click on every link? Probably not. But when they need something, they are likely to go back to their inbox, and find your email to get what they need. Leveraging best practices and great email strategies, you can drive a great deal of revenue from the email channel.

If you are optimizing your emails for mobile and leveraging your customer data to make sure your messages are relevant, you are staying ahead of the game. Long live email!

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

Search engine marketing continues to perform, both as part of the consumer’s path to purchase and as a continual way for customers to find you.  But there is more to it than driving traffic. We can learn a great deal about a consumer by the terms they use, and smart marketers should be thinking about how to leverage that data.

When a consumer searches for something, they are expecting a relevant result. And consumers have learned all by themselves that the more specific they are, the more relevant those results become. This is called the long tail of search. The more words we add, the more specific results we find. 

You will need to have focused content, containing keywords, phrases and maybe even frequent questions and answers – and not just a few sentences or even pages. We invest in search engine optimization to drive traffic.

The search terms themselves, however, unlock information. Valuable information that tells us some things about what the consumer or customer is looking for, what they care about and might tell you some surprising things you didn’t know.

Consumers ask questions while searching. You have the answers, or you may not. But those consumers are looking for an answer. This is more than making sure your answers are on your Web site. The answers might be great thought starters for direct mail pieces, emails, advertising campaigns, TV commercials and more. If enough consumers are asking questions that are relevant to your product, maybe you should be addressing it in your next campaign. This source of rich data is very similar to social listening.

Search data is nearly real-time. Like social monitoring, tools can tell us what people are searching for pretty quickly. Watching search terms is keeping a finger on the pulse of the consumer. When product issues start, a search engine may be the first stop for a user, looking to see if anyone else has the problem. This will allow you to address those issues, in your product packaging, your FAQ's or your call center.

Keywords are powerful data. Consumers use their own words when they search. Copywriters are always looking for ways to connect with the audience, to create an emotional connection with customers. Looking at how consumers use search engines and the words they use can provide a glimpse into the consumer’s mind. We don’t have to guess if it’s the right word; we can use search data, along with social conversations, to know exactly how to describe something. Looking for a new tag line? Look at what consumers say about you, and how they look for your products.

Tools can help you do this. Looking at your own web analytics data shows you people who found your site with their terms, but to be proactive, you need to look at the bigger picture. A whole variety of tools are available that help marketers uncover search trends. Some will give you a sense of volume of searches over a period of time to help you prioritize. Others have taxonomy that allows you to see similar terms, so that you don’t have to think of everything.

When talking about customer insights with marketers, it seems there is never enough market research data. But this data is available to you, and can help you have relevant and personal connections with your customers. It’s up to you on how you leverage it

AuthorJeannette Kocsis