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As a marketer, it can be incredibly challenging to identify the key product considerations consumers are looking for during the research and consideration phase of the buying process. This uncertainty makes it difficult to deliver the right product content at the right time, so they can make an informed purchase decision.
In this post, we’ll look at a few simple ways marketers can identify the right type of information prospects are looking for, and how to get information in front of them.
Starting with the sales team is a smart way to begin developing content to support a product launch. This is especially important for B2B suppliers, since your sales team already spends a majority of its time interacting with retail buyers. Find out what questions buyers ask about your products that the sales reps struggle to answer. Ask your sales reps think about competing products and the go-to-market approach of your competitors. Does the competition do a better job explaining the features and benefits? Do they have a more compelling value proposition or brand story?
Gathering background from your sales group not only helps you understand the types of questions and considerations customers have, but it helps strengthen the relationship between sales and marketing. Better cohesion between the two business units can reduce the risk of internal power struggles, help you develop marketing pieces will actually use, and create a more efficient sales funnel.
Your customer service team is another great internal resource. They can alert you to the common complaints they hear about product quality, the customer ordering experience, warranty issues, missing parts, difficulty making returns, or just general product questions.
Address these common customer questions in your marketing materials. This will help you produce more effective marketing and sales materials, and cut down on the number of customer service calls or costly product returns.
It’s a good idea to include your operations and IT team in these discussions too. They can address any internal problems or inefficiencies in the manufacturing, ordering or fulfillment processes your sales and customer service teams are hearing about from customers.
These conversations shouldn’t just be a one-time event, but a regular dialogue across business units. This will lead to continuous enhancements to your products, your marketing materials and the overall sales experience.
It’s important for product manufacturers and suppliers to communicate with retail customers regularly. When a consumer has a problem with a product purchased online or in-store, they generally go to the retailer first. Maybe it’s a trip to a brick and mortar location, or a phone call to the retailer’s customer service line. It might be an online interaction, like a negative product of review or a complaint on social media.
Consider using social listening tools to keep tabs on social media chatter related to your products. You’re likely missing a lot is you’re relying solely on your mentions. Unless you’re a major brand with a high profile on social media, most people won’t tag your brand when complaining about your product.
Monitor consumer reviews and Q&A on retailer ecommerce sites and Amazon. This will give you a ton of insight into how consumers are using your products, or if they need product specs you haven’t considered. If shoppers are asking similar questions, fold the relevant answers into your product detail page. And don’t just keep tabs on your products, look at competitor offerings too. What are shoppers saying about competing products? Are there common complaints or issues? If so, highlight the ways in which your product is superior.
If you’re selling to retailers, try to communicate directly with their marketing or customer service teams if possible. Use any and all touch points to glean feedback about how your products are performing. You don’t want to wait until your annual line review to find out you have a 50% return rate, or that product isn’t selling because the packaging doesn’t effectively explain the features and benefits.
This one may sound obvious, but one of the best ways to get user feedback it is to ask for it. Get your products into the hands of your target consumer and ask them what they think.
You can do this at trade shows, reviewing seeding, through focus groups, or by giving samples of your products to influencers and asking them what they think.
Ask people what they like/dislike about the product and how they see themselves using it. Ask them to describe what they see as the key features and benefits. How does it compare to similar products?
Getting a product into the hands of real-world users often leads to suggestions for uses you might not have considered. These suggestions can doors to new ways of marketing the product to a different vertical markets.
Once you’ve used all of this great feedback to enhance your product content, the next step is to get it in front of consumers. Herein lies the biggest benefit of Salsify. Salsify lets you make content changes in one place, and syndicate those updates across a variety of your digital marketing materials.
Deliver updated digital sell sheets and product catalogs for your sales team. Add new product photography or video content to product pages individually or in bulk. Refresh and enhance product copy in one place and push it to your website, ecommerce platform, or to a retailer portal.
Keyword research is topic that could fill up entire blog series by itself, so we won’t get too in depth here, but it’s important tool that should be part of your digital content strategy.
Basic tactics include identifying keywords and search terms you know your customers are using. You can do this by looking at your Google Analytics account to see which search terms are driving traffic to your website. Plug those keywords into a search engine and look at the related keyword information at the bottom of the search results page.
You can also use the Google Adwords planner to see estimates for search volumes and traffic using specific search terms. This can help you whittle your list of keywords down to a more targeted list and apply them to the most relevant products. Fold those keywords into your digital product content and syndicate it to your ecommerce site and to retailers.
For Salsify users, the analytics features can also help you benchmark and improve your product pages using data-driven conversion best practices and evaluate your content’s performance against organic SEO and conversion drivers like number of images, A+ content, and length of feature bullets. The SEO recommendation report surfaces unused search terms relevant to your product category so modern search algorithms rank your product higher in relevant searches.
The bottom line is that ecommerce strategy is constantly evolving and your digital content should be too. Understanding what your customers are looking for and tailoring your marketing strategy around that data is essential for getting your products in front of them.
Chris Vanasdalan has more than 20 years of experience in professional communications and marketing. Most recently, he was marketing manager at Deflecto LLC where we ran channel marketing for 5 product categories and used Salsify daily.
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