People in marketing and advertising and in the business of communication tend to talk more or and listen less. Further, they are more prone to seeing stars and having grand visions and may be even looking the other way, rather than noticing and observing.
My suggestion to marketing and advertising people is to listen more and to observe more.
Let us tackle the first element of listening. Everyone knows that there is a major difference between hearing and listening. How is this relevant in marketing? The importance and relevance shouts at us when we realise that a sound and prudent marketing strategy is based on understanding the needs and desires of customers. If we would like to a clear understanding of the needs to emerge, we can do that through listening to our customers. However, most sales, marketing and advertising communication people spend 90 per cent of their time talking to their customers rather than listening to them. There is a myth that talking is the major part of communication whereas listening in its stead could be a very potent tool. Sometimes, sales, marketing and advertising people not only talk to their customers but talk down to them. This could be quite dangerous.
Further, in the area of customer service and problem handling, many a customer calms down if he is attended to and listened to. Listening gives us great insights into why a particular customer consumes a product or service thereby further refining our knowledge of customers and helping us build an effective marketing strategy.
The other element, which is equally powerful in appreciating consumer behaviour and thus going ahead with relevant marketing strategies is the aspect of observing. Observations studies clearly bring out the fact that different consumers behave differently. Observations give us great insights into the area of how and when customers consume particular products and services.
Observation also brings out clear indications of non-verbal communication through gestures and postures which may help build an appropriate sales, marketing and advertising approach. Thus, it becomes important to observe and notice customer behaviour for a more purposeful marketing exercise rather than let your gaze wander. Observation helps you focus and thus get closer to the customer in terms of satisfying his needs and wants.
Market research agencies do a wonderful job by using listening and observation as important elements in their activity. If sales marketing and advertising communication people do the same, there is a greater chance of resources being well spent in marketing and a greater probability of results coming out of the plan speedily and effectively.