Caffeinated ideas and views on marketing communications

importance of customer surveys

Checking out the customer experience

My last blog post was about how you have to “be open for business” if you are trying to market a destination.  In other words, marketers have to be aware of what the potential/actual customer experience looks and feels like.

Last night, I attended a happy hour at a newish bar in Penn Quarter in Washington, DC.  My friend and I each got a $5 beer and sat down. The place was crowded, not packed, and the din was tremendous. We could barely hear each other. Why? Well, the room was apparently designed to bounce all noise back. There were none of the usual noise absorbers like acoustic tile on the ceiling or carpet or drapes. Instead the floor was pure concrete, the ceiling had no insulation and the walls were also concrete.

It was so unpleasant that we left after one beer. I wonder how many other people also left after a short while. If this bar checked out its customer experience they could take corrective steps to cut down some of the noise. Otherwise, I predict that within six months the place will close because no one is going to want to hang out there.

Regardless of what field you are in, marketing is not simply pushing out a message and hoping it will stick. Marketers need to understand their customers and their experience with their product or service.

Savvy marketers will check out the customer experience. Whether you do it by surveys, secret shoppers, going on location, listening to customer input on social channels–there are many ways to understand what your customers like and dislike. If you ignore the customer experience, your marketing will ultimately fail.

How do you check out the customer experience? Have you had a marketing campaign fail (or succeed) because of customer feedback?


About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

What do your customers want?

Can you complete this line:

The main thing my customers/clients want from me is ….

You should, of course, be able to answer this. If you are a toy manufacturer, for example, your line could be “the main thing my customers want from me is safety…parents won’t buy unsafe toys for their kids.”

Once you can answer this question, you can proceed with marketing.

This week, Netflix made an announcement that it would spin off its DVD business under a new name (Qwikster).  This came at the heels of a subscriber loss due in part to the 60% increase in prices announced earlier. Not only that, but Netflix’ stock price has fallen.

Apparently, Netflix failed to ask itself what its customers wanted. Ignoring their loyal fan base (as this great article in the Harvard Business Review blog discusses) is probably why there has been such an uproar.

What do Netflix customers want? Do they want more streaming video or do they want to keep getting  DVDs in the mail? Do they want an easy, inexpensive way to get movies fast?

Netflix’ CEO wants to be in the streaming business, not in the DVD business. But perhaps that is not what his customers want.  Perhaps his customers do not like the name Qwikster. Perhaps he didn’t ASK his customers first. Sure, companies have to make decisions based on financials etc, but part of the input should include some market research, some customer feedback.  Netflix did not ask, and now they know–customers want convenience and price stability from Netflix.

What do your customers want? How will you find out?

About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.


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