Feedback is all about people’s reaction to products, pricing, placement and purpose. According the Webster’s dictionary, feedback is collected with the intent to improve the subject at hand. Feedback comes from details written on a comment card or the level of satisfaction expressed when asked by customer service about a recent visit. This information collected through different means, from in-person to computer-mediated, is only as valuable as the change it effects.
Marketing has always lived at the intersection of people and products (or services). Successful marketing means keeping the pulse of the audience, at hand. The best way to judge this pulse is not by making educated guesses, but by relying on fact-based indications of what exactly the customer needs and feels. Feedback provides exactly what a marketer needs to know. Feedback gives the ability to discover, engage, support and educate users and that is why it’s vital for any business and its marketers to take feedback into consideration.
Qrvey was interested in learning more about how marketers use feedback today, so we surveyed over 500 professionals to learn what feedback they’ve collected in the past two years, as well as what tools they’ve used to do so. We’ve gathered those responses and included them throughout this resource, as a way to better understand the current landscape.
Traditionally, the ideal marketing mix refers to putting the right product at the right price, at the right time in the right place; this matrix certainly hits all the aspects that a marketer should take into consideration when building a strategy, and subsequent campaigns. Far be it from us to question this magic formula; however, we couldn’t help but notice there’s one element that every marketer admits they need but it isn’t specifically mentioned in this mix. You guessed it: Feedback! And the great thing is that feedback is relevant to all four p’s. Feedback can bolster your product, its placement, the pricing and purpose and doesn’t do so on a shaky foundation of speculations. Feedback is fact-based and tangible data. Feedback makes sure your marketing mix is always in great health.
Feedback can come in different forms. Typically,feedback comes from customers verbally (or in writing) expressing their opinion or experience in direct response to a question. Face-to-face feedback collection has been a historic standard in feedback collection — whether via focus-groups or interviews; you don’t need to be a Mad Men fan to know that. These person-to-person methods are still used by the marketers today, but at a much lower rate—only 15% of our polled marketers said they used them in the last two years. Sorry Peggy!
The need for more responses and higher efficiency eventually forced face-to-face methods to be replaced by tool-mediated collection, and, thus, feedback tools were created. Historically, phone and mail surveys dominated the space. These method still hold steadfast, being used by 64% of marketers, but has been outranked by online surveys at 87%. It’s little surprise that the ease and efficiency of online feedback collection wins out against more costly phone and mail methods. In our study of more than 500 marketing professionals, the top four methods used to collect feedback the past two years included online surveys, online forms, social media/online communiction tools, and phone & mail.
If we were to bucket all the tools we surveyed to compare the online versus the offline, online methods win out, reportedly being used by 90% of marketers. The same marketers may rely on offline methods as well but it comprises a significantly smaller percentage — only 58%. Of the newer methods of collecting feedback, social media gains momentum, carving out its own niche, and comes in not far behind online forms (69% and 76%, respectively) for usage. However, it seems as though only a few brave marketers in our study have given mobile apps or text messages a try; about 1-in-3 (31%) reported leveraging mobile apps in their marketing and about 1-in-4 (26%) said they’ve incorporated SMS into their mix.
When we asked marketers which tools they used, just as there wasn’t a unified response, there also wasn’t much mention of any unified solution. Marketers are left to use different tools at once. For example, a virtual survey (created by a survey provider) sent via Hubspot email, is combined with comments collected via an online form, which are then brought together within an Excel sheet by the marketer. He or she may spend hours trying to make sense of unstructured data, despite preferring to spend time brainstorming a new campaign or writing content. Hopefully, after this arduous process, the marketer may get some results in order to impact better decisions in the future.
Individual marketing tools are each valuable, however they place the marketer in a tough position: the center of a web of feedback that they must manually analyze, match-up, compare and contrast through various platforms in a disjointed fashion. This is chaotic to say the least. It may lead to data slipping through the cracks, stress from not being able to reconcile different data types and, finally, the slowing of product improvements.
While the need and will to pull data together is there, only 46% actually do so through a combination of integrations and manual work, and 27% plan to do so in the future. It’s easy to infer that the reason that the majority of marketers are not actually managing their feedback in a unified way is not because they don’t want to, but because they simply haven’t found an easy way to do so.
52% of marketers rely on manual work of exporting data from multiple tools and then using spreadsheets to combine or share data. Manual work means exporting data from different sources, say from a polling tool and comment forms, and then importing it all into a spreadsheet (yay!) to somehow find a way to match up fields to conduct analysis. Finally, once they can glean insights from this combination of feedback, they start planning to take action on it.
26% of marketers use the integration of 2-3 different tools to manage their feedback. If the low percentage doesn’t give it away, this is an inconvenience. Marketers are dependent on their softwares supporting integrations with each other. If they use smaller players, then it’s unlikely the integrations are supported out-of-the-box. Zapier is a great utility for linking tools together, but again, the power is often limited to just one or two events or actions if the tools’ APIs are lacking.
What supremely surprised us was that these same individuals who do integrate 2-3 tools, claim they rely on manual work and spreadsheets to pull their data together. Integrations do not mean unified solution. Marketers are still searching when it comes to finding a full cycle feedback platform that can unify the whole experience, from multi-source feedback collection to its analysis.
As we’ve uncovered, there are lots of challenges marketers encounter when they try to incorporate feedback into their efforts. Marketers know how valuable feedback data is, yet there are barriers to adopting new approaches to collecting feedback. And even with the discovery and adoption of solid feedback tools, marketers (the ones that don’t have data science degrees) struggle to find an easy-to-use analytical tool to make sense of it all.
To help, we’ve pulled together some tips to help your marketing team get over these hurdles, and start to reap the benefits of incorporating feedback into your efforts.
Many valuable methods for learning more about your markets and customers are being under-utilized, meaning that adopting them may give you a leg up on the competition.
If you’re looking to get in front of consumers, email used to be the go-to. The rationale was, and still is, that everyone has an email address, and a lot of people access their inbox daily. When smartphones debuted on the market, people checked their mail even more frequently, making emailed NPS or surveys an effective way to gather feedback.
But relying on email to reach customers limits your reach to just individuals with smart phones, which today is about 72% of Americans. Interestingly enough, marketers seem to overlook SMS as a means to contact consumers despite being supported by nearly 100% of devices out. SMS also has 5x higher open rate as compared to email (22%), and a 5x higher click-thru rate (19%). In our study, 30% marketers reported using SMS in the past two years.
In most cases, you most likely see SMS being used to inform individuals about giveaways, deals or contests, but it’s a perfectly viable channel for reaching customers to learn more about them, too. Some ideas include:
Adding SMS to your marketing efforts can give you that extra little bit of information to build better individual lead profiles, track customer satisfaction and outperform last year’s metrics.
Mobile apps typically serve as a way to extend a brand or product to “on-the-go” customers. Sometimes, when a mobile app is truly just a stripped down version of a product, marketing might not think of it as another channel to gather feedback — but it is!
Marketing should work with the product team to see how questions can be peppered throughout the mobile product in thoughtful ways; think of how you might embed questions, forms, quizzes and the like into a website or landing page, and apply that logic for the app.
For those companies that have a mobile app for its rewards program, marketing most likely already has input into what is included or displayed in that experience. But, these app users are most likely your most loyal fans — and should be tapped even more. Their feedback can give you incredibly useful insight on how to best target like-minded prospects. Look at the app as a feedback channel as much as it is a tactic to build brand loyalty. Explore asking questions after, or during, key behaviors like a purchase or visit, as well as leveraging push notifications to encourage engagement.
It seems like Marketing doesn’t need to be an education on why a holistic view of the business is important. As we mentioned earlier, 95% of marketers see the value in having data together in one place for a comprehensive picture of the business.
But 54% of marketers don’t have that holistic view, and of the 46% of marketers that are trying their best to create that holistic view of the business, they do so by doing manual work with spreadsheets to combine and share data.
But it’s hard to find one unified marketing tool that covers all needs (only 6% reported finding that *perfect*, all-in-one solution), so often teams go with a collection (2-3 tools) that exchange (limited) data using integrations. The sum these integrated tools may “feel” like a holistic marketing tool, but it’s just a bluff. You’ve lost the prized analytical view in the integration process, since there isn’t a mechanism displaying all of that shared data in one view. We’re using fancy tools, yet still depending on spreadsheets.
A lot of marketers tend to adopt an array of individual marketing tools to meet their specific needs, like lead generation and email automation. Some of the most successful tools on the market abstract the nitty-gritty (coding, design) to give non-technical marketers the ability to easily make beautiful, automated campaigns in a flash. This means marketing can do more, with a smaller team; the problem is not many of those same tools do analytics very well.
Compare the reporting features and analytics among your tools, and nominate one of them to serve a dual purpose: its intended use case and an acting data repository & report-generator for your business. If integrations don’t let you pass the necessary data from your tools to your designated reporting nominee, consider adding an analytics-specific tool to your collection.
If you have yet to build out your marketing tool arsenal (or it’s a work in progress), think about analytics from the start. Ideally, you should find a tool that can help contribute to your marketing efforts and also provide you with the analytic engine to generate a holistic view of your business.
About 1 in 5 marketers don’t have plans to implement a holistic view of its marketing data, despite knowing the value of it. For about 26% of marketers, they do have set plans to create that comprehensive view, but haven’t done so yet. It seems like either the task seems too challenging, or it’s just too low of a priority when compared to other initiatives within the business.
If your team is struggling to get the plan into action, or maybe even just making decision-makers aware of the value, you’ll need to do some work on making the case and proposing (or expediting) a solution.
Marketers have been posing questions to focus groups and their customers from the beginning, yet other parts of the business may just be starting to see how feedback fits in and can contribute to current & future success.
It may be a daunting task to sell the executive team on a whole new direction for the business, but there should be examples available to prove the business benefits for collecting feedback. Just take the new wave of customer-focused approaches to business, with the emergence of user-driven development (UDD) and the explosion of customer experience (CX) tools and services. Offer marketing as the first department to embrace a focus on feedback. Pitch that any lessons learned about collection, tools and implementation can be used to extend full-cycle feedback to the rest of the business, when the time is right.
Now you’ve gotten the green light to make feedback a core component of your marketing efforts, but now what? Let’s set you up for success, so you can easily infuse feedback into your workflows and campaigns.
Do you have a multi-channel or omni-channel approach to marketing? If you said, omni-channel, you can skip this section, but if you said, multi-channel, read on. For those who are unsure, a multi-channel approach to marketing typically has a dedicated tool for each channel — think Marketo for email, SurveyMonkey for surveys, Pollfish for polls, Hootsuite for social media, and so on. This approach often creates siloed strategies, even though customers most likely interact with your brand across many channels. Sometimes it can lead to a disjointed customer experience (e.g. seeing one tone on social media and another vibe in digital ads) as well as a fragmented counted or profiles for leads.
Omni-channel marketing is different because you put the customer at the heart of it, not your tools. You begin to think about your customer’s needs instead of what limitations you’re bound to using a specific tool, for a given channel.
The core requirement for omni-channel marketing is adopting, or creating, a solution that allows you to deliver content and gather insights in a unified way. Now this might seem daunting considering on 6% of marketers say that they are using a unified solution that meets their needs, but this may be because many organizations implement a multi-channel approach.
Shifting to an omni-channel approach makes the jump to finding a solution much more achievable. Look for a feedback or engagement platform that allows you to collect data in one place — regardless of what channel is used to deliver the request — and, again, has great analytics to match. You will not only improve your data on your customers and leads, but you’ll also deliver a much more seamless brand experience that feels more personal and attentive.