You should hear what your customers are saying about you

Chief Creative Officer

“I think something’s wrong with dad.”

That was the alarm sounded by my then six-year-old son, Wylie, as I wobbled to the nearest bench like a 3 a.m. drunk, fearing I would broadcast the contents of my stomach across the fairground lawn.

Retching on your home turf is unpleasant enough. Performing in front of a horrified audience adds a layer of shame that lingers long after the teenagers lower their phones.

If anything, my undoing was all Wylie’s fault. 

He’s the one who said the Tilt-A-Whirl didn’t “look very tilty.” Then, to drive his point home … 

“Or whirly.”

In his defense, the Tilt-A-Whirl isn’t a ride designed to satisfy one’s inner daredevil. 

There’s no promise of plunging, careening, or decapitating. 

Just whirling. 

But whirling in the hands of a father trying to be a hero to his boy can be more ferocious than you might imagine.

It was for this guy.

Once the ride began, Wylie and I leaned into each turn until our cabin was spinning with enough force to void my life insurance policy.

(And the Tilt-a-Hurl was born)

Shrieks of pleasure or squeals of pain depended on who you asked. (Yeah, I know it’s “WHOM.”)

Later, on the bench, I realized my relationship with the Tilt-A-Whirl had ended. The ride I enjoyed as recently as the previous summer had betrayed me. And my lunch.

From now on, instead of being a part of the action, I’d be holding the purses and windbreakers for the aged six and up crowd.

* * *

A lot can change in a year.

So, if you haven’t checked in on your audience’s buying behaviors in a while, you’re missing opportunities to sell them.

“But we don’t have the time or budget for formal research, Matt.”

Having been on the client side for more than 20 years, I get that.

Still, there are loads of simple, no-cost ways to get yourself up to speed on how your audience thinks. 

Like these:

🎤 Customer interviews

Long-standing customers can tell you how you’ve changed their lives. Their experience will help you paint the picture of a similar—and proven—outcome to your prospects. 

New customers might reveal frustrations that led them to you. Use any common pain points to speak to your prospects’ current state of dissatisfaction and how you can help. Common anxieties work to drain objections..

⛏️ Review mining

Online reviews help you understand the motives behind buying—not just what customers need, but why. In just a couple hours of digging, you’ll be able to identify themes and insights you can translate into messaging that uses your customers’ own language to pull them in.

🎧 Social listening

OK, there’s a cost to most social listening tools, but here’s a freebie I got from fellow wordmonger, Shlomo GenchinGigaBrain scans billions of discussions on Reddit and other online communities to give you the most relevant posts to your search. 

(I use it even when I already have comprehensive audience research.)

* * *

Of course, if you have the freedom to launch a broader customer research study, that’s your best move.

But having a few pulse-taking tricks in your back pocket will help keep your communications relevant, even when time and money are tight. 

Because even a little knowledge is always better than guessing 

Whew, that was a hike. Thanks for sticking with me.

Here’s a song to play you out >>> 

See you next time. – Matt

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Chief Creative Officer
Matt is a professional storyteller. That used to be a thinly veiled way to say you still lived with your parents. But the truth is stories have existed since the dawn of humanity and they still have the power to move people, even if it’s no longer from the path of a charging mammoth. Throughout his career on both the agency and client sides, Matt’s work has been known to compel audiences to indulge in higher thread counts, abandon Lenten sacrifice, or move to the suburbs. He’ll even conjugate a noun if he has to. The bottom line: Matt is our agency twofer. Strategy and Creative. The Big Idea and Stealth Deployment. He’s a single expense yielding a dual return. And who doesn’t love a bargain?

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