Location: It’s a Two-Way Street

What your customers say gives you valuable information. But it’s where they say it that can be the missing part of the puzzle.

The rise of social media, apps and other online tools has finally persuaded many businesses that marketing can be as much about listening as it is broadcasting. While some view the phrase “join the conversation” as a token effort, others comprehend the dual benefits of being open to customer communications.

The first benefit is that listening to customers gives a company added intelligence. Certainly you have to be careful to make sure that your sources are genuinely representative, rather than simply coming from customers with strong feelings. But while hard sales figures can tell you what is happening, customer comments can tell you why it’s happening. Their insights might reveal the difference between a struggling product line that could be revived with a marketing tweak, and one that is simply not viable.

The second benefit of this approach to marketing is that engaging in genuine conversations with customers promotes brand loyalty. As well as obvious benefits such as increased positive word of mouth — (Nielsen reports that social media posts affect the decisions of 81% of online customers) — don’t overlook the simple fact that this encourages customers to keep providing feedback.

Are you initiating contact with customers through outbound marketing, or responding to their enquiries, suggestions and complaints? Then don’t overlook the importance of local data. Of course, whether it’s selecting a TV region or picking a bus stop for a poster, location data about your audience can inform both the choice of site and the message.

Location is also imperative to inbound messages and responses. For example, tracking the location of complaints may reveal a problem with a supply chain or an outlet that hasn’t been identified at source. In turn, this can let you provide more relevant responses: a broadband firm would use this when distinguishing between users who can be told a local fault is under investigation and users whose equipment needs troubleshooting.