As a followup to yesterday’s PR Student Chat, I share some ideas about what the best tools are for staying in tune with and in touch with your audience.
- Video chat
There’s no substitute for talking to the actual audience. As much as I wish technology could do that for us at scale, technology can’t ask great, insightful followup questions, nor can it determine bias well.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, some thoughts about some commentary from yesterday’s PR student chat I participated in the more I think it’s a monthly Twitter chat. And one of the questions was, what are some of the the best tools for staying tuned in sting dialed into your audience
and a lot of people feel it a lot of vendor names for all these different tools and stuff. But the one that was missing from a lot of people’s responses was, you know, good old
little coffee cup or or beer copper or beverage of your choice cup.
And the reason this is important is that staying tuned into your audience, staying tuned in people.
Believe me, as someone who doesn’t always love humanity requires you to talk to humanity requires you to talk to people. And that is the gold standard for staying in tune with your audience is to sit down with people who are in your audience who are representative of your audience and ask them questions, have conversation with them, and then take the information from that conversation many, many, many conversations and distill it down to a prospective point of view about your audience. There is no substitute for that. Now, there are ways to develop the materials to have a great focused conversation with your audience. Social media data, for example, is a great way to have a broad understanding of the topics and the the words the phrases and the language people start to use. But it’s not enough by itself
reason why social media data is not enough by itself is that it is not an interactive conversation that permits you to ask somebody why so
somebody expresses on on Facebook Hello, I really love
this coffees flavor
and you can make note of that and say, okay, all flavors in a dimension that you measure your copy by another person says, Oh, yeah, that copies really expensive. Okay. So and I have another little piece of information there. But none of that information will give you the answer to the question of, well, just how expensive does a coffee have to be before the price
dampens your willingness to buy it even if you like the flavor, right? So you can see how we’ve we’ve identified some data pieces but have not synthesize them into a question that we can ask the audience
now where a fair amount of market research goes wrong, particularly if it’s bargain basement research. There is such a thing and in research called reassuringly expensive, my friend Tom Webster Edison research says that real research should be reassuringly expensive, just like sushi and surgery should be sharing Lee expensive,
where if the research is not informed by a lot of this, this exploratory analysis, and then you could end up with some stuff that’s not terribly helpful. But that’s where that online data gathering is helpful. But at the end of the day, there is no substitute for talking to people interactively live and it doesn’t necessary have to be with coffee, you could video chat with people and things like that. But you do want as much information about the conversation as possible. Imagine this, you’re talking to somebody and say, Hey, what’s your opinion of politician X, Y, or Z if you if you get just a typed response, that’s one thing, if you get an audio responses say, well, gosh, that person I disagree with them, okay, you can hear the tone of voice. But if you have the data from someone’s expressions, like
I’m for those listening to the audio made a silly face,
that says a lot to say, the closer you can get to in person, with all the tools for having conversations with people, the better data you’ll have, because you’ll be able to make note of those reactions. This is an area where
until you get really fluent natural language generation, meaning machines that can have natural conversations
as flawlessly as people do that you’re not going to be able to automate it. You cannot automate
the completely unstructured flow of a conversation with today’s tools in mid 2013, the software is just not good enough to be able to pick up on something and say, oh, somebody there for a second. Why do you think that are or what things in your memory prompted you to have that perspective about
about the coffee’s flavor
or what tastes come out of that flavor? machines can do a lot and certainly machine should be being used aggressively on the automation front. Anything you can use to repeat to automate repetitive process. But a conversation isn’t and should not be a repetitive process. A conversation should be
a highly individualized unique process each time you’re talking to somebody to get their perspectives. If you’ve just got the lowest possible paid work are out there asking questions from a sheet of paper, then yeah, you could probably do that with the machine. Because then you’re not going to get great interpretation and not going to get great follow on questions from from somebody who’s Louis just checking boxes as they asked questions.
that cup of coffee, or that beer or the video chat or, or that whatever is the most important tool, the most expensive tool, the least scalable tool, but the most valuable tool for staying in tune with your audience and for having conversations with them. One of the easiest ways I think to scale into that to the extent that you can, is for you to go to conferences and events and schedule roundtable schedule, customer advisory boards schedule, this coffee chats with people get their permission to record it, and then record these things, and have them banked as a set of guiding lights for your business to say this is when we talk to customers. This is what they say about our industry about the problems they have about the solutions they wish existed. If you do that, you’ll have a much better based on what to draw your marketing, your messaging, your customer service, your customer experience, all those things, see, but you absolutely positively need to be able to sit down with somebody.
if you’re not a great interviewer,
you need to hire somebody who is
one of the areas I’ve seen go home terribly wrong with market research is someone from a company asking very leading questions when the purpose is to explore, not to guide the person in certain direction, which to explore to figure out which direction should the company go. So again, it’s one of those things that is a skill you build up over time. And there are trainings and things for it. It’s actually not that dissimilar from being a really good interrogator for police or intelligence agency is being able to elicit responses out of people without guiding them in one direction or the other. You want to be able to get as much information from them as they can. And you want to be the voluntary as possible. If you want, you can actually go and download the US government has some unclassified, free public domain materials on interrogation techniques
that were developed after World War Two, when, when the government realized it was not as effective to, you know, beat people in interrogations is much more effective effective to to befriend them to sit down over coffee with them and listen to what they have to say. So make sure that somewhere in your marketing and your market research and your your analytics infrastructure, there is room for human conversation and that is a structured part of your data intake to inform all the other stuff that you’re doing. It is the best way to answer the question of why something happened in your data. As always, thanks for watching. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel to the newsletter will talk to you soon. Take care
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