Thank you to Lighter Capital for co-hosting our recent webinar. Dustin Bruzenak, Modern Logic CEO, served as a moderator for a panel of marketing experts: Carrie Waite, Assistant VP of Strategic Partnerships for Pets Best, with previous experience as a senior marketing manager; Eileen Hansen, Director in Digital Experience at Valera, with extensive experience in B2B technology marketing; and Nate Champion, Chief Growth Officer at Banner Commerce and the founder of LookBack. They provided their feedback on how to better understand your user’s journey.
Bring Data to Life with Feedback
Carrie Waite: Once somebody becomes a customer, you can actually have conversations with them about the buyer journey. They’ll provide incredible insights, which can then help you then optimize future buyer journeys.
Try to pair as much technical data as you can with heat maps looking at user sessions. Any tracking you have on pages can provide really valuable insights.
Eileen Hansen: Marry some data with real verbatim. There’s no substitute for actually going out there. You don’t necessarily identify yourself as your company; you just say you’re doing research on this space and looking to understand people who have made a purchase in your category. Start with a generic question. “Hey, take me back to when you decided to buy XYZ widget.” They’ll talk through what they like, when they first realized they needed it, what problem they were trying to solve for, what steps they took, what they felt was important. You’re going to learn a lot about how people are discovering you and how they’re evaluating that kind of decision.
You can also get great data about the buyer’s journey out of your keyword data, because it’ll tell you what topics are relevant, and what people search. That includes what they search, but also what metrics they use to evaluate (i.e., cheapest XYZ), and their brand awareness or category awareness. All of those things together can paint a really solid picture of your buyer journey.
Nate Champion: In an ideal world, everyone’s journey would be unique and tailored to them, but that’s not possible. The worst case is just “batch and blast”: everyone gets the same experience.
We try to keep thinking about what kind of messaging we want to test, or even the simplest segmentation of a new user. The closer you can get to that more personalized journey, the better.
Keep It Simple
Eileen Hansen: I’m a big advocate for user testing services. It’s fairly affordable, and if you set up your screening questions and your prompts right, you can get really good and thoughtful feedback of people talking through their reactions.
It may seem obvious, but if people have already opted into trying the product, you can put messaging in front of them – direct outreach. We’ve had pretty good luck with that.
Carrie Waite: I’ve recruited people simply by asking our client success sales account managers for one or two customers we can talk with. It’s amazing how many people will actually respond to you. They’re using your product for a reason. If they’re loving it, they’ll want to talk about that; if they’re not loving it, they’ll want to talk about that. Years ago, I heard this tip at a B2B marketing conference with someone from Lenovo: don’t overcomplicate this. Just start with five conversations.
You’ll be amazed how much you learn. And it’ll open up that space for them to become test users when you roll out something new, or to be part of a customer advisory panel.
Thicken Your Skin, Improve Your Product
Dustin Bruzenak: Something I learned while launching new products at Adobe, which I’ve carried through my career, is that the person who seems to hate you the most can be your best advocate because they’re actually passionate about the product.
We might avoid those conversations and think they can be pretty hard, but often, you’ll find that the issue they articulated is something that requires only a simple fix or change.
Someone who isn’t going to just tell you what you want to hear will benefit you most. Watching people use your product through prototypes can help you get there much, much sooner.
I was behind the glass when we were launching Lightroom. People were swearing at it, and that was valuable information, as hard as it was to hear.
Nate Champion: When I first thought of LookBack, translating the idea of capturing the story alongside your photos into the product, could be done in a million different ways.
When we were designing what the experience looks like, I was doing a ton of user research and sitting down with people and showing them and seeing how they interact with it.
Some people just hated it. It’s brutal to hear that and it hurts, but you also hear something there that you can extract and move in the right direction. Not everyone’s going to love your product. It’s useful to evaluate what your existing customer base looks for, what you’re not solving for them, and how to add value. Just asking can make life easier than believing you have the answer.