Jennifer Kay Corridon

AMA: Yelp Product Marketing Leader, Jennifer Kay on Customer Research

September 7 @ 10:00AM PST
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Yelp Product Marketing Leader, Jennifer Kay on Customer Research
Top Questions
How have you historically sourced people to interview while developing personas?
Especially if you don't have any customers that fit the bill my current plan is to assemble a list of possible titles and have my virtual assistant company prospect for and find contact details for them then probably send out a survey to validate if they're the right people to talk to and reach out individually to the ones that fit the bill.
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 7
Here's how I've done it, even when there weren't existing customers that perfectly matched the persona criteria: 1. Internal Teams and Stakeholders: I start by collaborating closely with internal teams, such as Sales, Customer Support, Product, other marketers. They often have valuable insights and interactions with potential persona candidates. 2. Market Research: I conduct market research to identify potential candidates who fit the desired persona. This research can involve industry reports, forums, social media groups, and online communities where professionals in the target segment are active. I'll also circulate my linkedin or personal network for introductions and connections. It's often three degrees of separation and not six. 3. Surveys and Screening: I've used surveys as a pre-screening tool. Survey responses help identify individuals who closely align with the persona definition. I'll then prioritize among those respondents for one-on-one interviews. Likewise, sites like user testing can be helpful to recruit individuals to talk to that fit your specific criteria. An incentive helps here. 4. User Groups and Communities: If applicable, I engage with user groups and online communities related to the product or industry. These forums often contain enthusiastic and knowledgeable individuals who can provide insights.
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What are your favorite platforms/vendors for facilitating customer research?
Quickly, accurately, reliably (particularly for smaller organizations and PMM teams)
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 7
I love this question. Customer research is one of the most commonly underfunded areas of a pmm/marketing team yet the one that can yield the biggest insights. A number of companies I've worked for have been willing to invest in pricing research (with expensive external vendors) as guidance on pricing and packaging- but seldom the same investment is made for messaging, GTM, or specialized projects like onboarding, or closed loss interviews. To get into specifics of vendors and products you can use (with either free or very modest costs and also very user-friendly). As far as incentivizing participants, varies by industry but for SMB $25-$50 is the range amount that reliably gets participants (cash or gift cards), I've also been experimenting with larger incentives such as an opportunity to win $250. Here are a few that I've used recently, 1. Typeform: It's particularly useful for capturing qualitative data. Pretty intuitive to set up a survey, 2. Google Forms: Straightforward tool and easy to share surveys and collect responses. Because it's part of google workspace, tends to be my go to when I'm collecting info or feedback from internal teams. 3. UserTesting: UserTesting specializes in user experience research- but can be really helpful and Inexpensive to source a panel of users who can provide feedback on your product or website. 4. QuickTapSurvey: QuickTapSurvey is designed for collecting data in the field, making it handy for in-person surveys and data collection at events or retail locations.
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Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 7
Start with goals and align your intel accordingly. Then map your materials to a narrative that is highly relevant and is focused on what your sales team really cares about (let me guess, closing more deals). Create resources in formats that are bite size, easy to use, simple to read and navigate. If your sales team has an aversion to reading decks, consider a one sheet FAQ style that highlights key points and takeaways. And use simple "everyday" language.
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Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 7
Qualitative research and UX (User Experience) research have overlapping elements, but they serve different purposes and focus on different aspects, even in the context of product marketing. Here's how I think they differ and how they intersect: Qualitative Research: 1. Purpose: Qualitative research in product marketing primarily aims to understand the needs, motivations, pain points, and behaviors of customers and prospects. It's about diving deep into the "why" behind customer actions and opinions. 2. Methods: Qualitative research methods often include in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys with open-ended questions, and observational studies. These methods provide rich, nuanced insights into customer perspectives. 3. Applications: Qualitative research helps in developing detailed buyer personas, uncovering customer pain points, refining messaging, and gaining insights into the emotional aspects of customer decision-making. It's valuable for product positioning and messaging strategies. 4. Outputs: Outputs from qualitative research might include persona profiles, customer journey maps, and detailed narratives about customer experiences and challenges. UX Research: 1. Purpose: UX research, on the other hand, is primarily focused on evaluating the usability and user-friendliness of a product or service. It aims to identify user interface issues, optimize workflows, and enhance the overall user experience. 2. Methods: UX research methods include usability testing, user interviews, card sorting, and surveys. These methods assess the ease of use, navigation, and overall satisfaction with a product's design and functionality. 3. Applications: UX research is instrumental in improving product design, identifying usability bottlenecks, and enhancing the user interface. It contributes to the creation of user-centered products. 4. Outputs: Outputs from UX research typically include usability reports, usability recommendations, wireframes, and design prototypes. Intersection: While qualitative research and UX research serve different primary purposes, they intersect several ways: 1. Persona Development: Qualitative research often contributes to the creation of buyer personas. UX research can provide insights into the user personas who interact with the product, helping to align marketing messaging with the user experience. 2. Messaging Refinement: UX research might uncover user pain points related to product usability. Qualitative research can help understand the emotional impact of these issues, which can inform messaging strategies. 3. Product Improvement: Insights from UX research can lead to product enhancements. Product marketers can use these improvements as selling points in their messaging and positioning. 4. Feedback Loops: Both qualitative and UX research involve direct interactions with users. The feedback collected can be shared across teams, fostering collaboration between product development, UX, and marketing.
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Which research activities does your product marketing team do internally, and which research activities do you outsource?
I'm trying to figure out how to structure my team, and what to use external resources for.
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 7
Research is top priority for my team so we are responsible for driving it from start to finish. While we certainly get input from sales and help from teams like customer success or service to source candidates but I strongly push for as much ownership and tactical execution being done by my team. This starts with creating the detailed research scope, a clear outline of approach and methodology, as well as the question or conversation guide. We also conduct all the research and provide a wrap up documenting the outcomes and any shareouts. The once exception to owning this in house is when my teams have engaged in pricing and packaging research. Those are larger studies that tend to be owned by multiple stakeholders and often involve an external or expert research firm. In those cases, PMM serves as the point of contact and primary project manager.
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Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 7
Simply put, it's a big commitment of time, effort, and energy to both build and maintain. My advice here is before diving in to build or if your assuming the responsibility for a program that has become outdated, that you get stakeholder and partner alignment on what the goals are, what the key pieces of information that it useful and usable for functional areas, frequency of updates, and get clarity on how teams will utilize. If you've got a big field of competitors your tracking, get agreement on primary folks to track versus secondary. I also like to walk everyone through what's involved in aggregating the information. It's very common to see a list of 10 "essentials' get knocked down to 5 when there is realization of the investment to gather. Tactically, once you've got that here is how to approach and best practicies: 1. Establish a Centralized Repository: Create a centralized and easily accessible repository for all relevant information. This could be a cloud-based document management system, a shared drive, or a dedicated folder within your organization's intranet. Make sure it's organized logically, with clear categories for competitive data, personas, and market research. Share access with teams and stakeholders. 2. Regularly Scheduled Updates: Set up a schedule for updating and reviewing these materials. Consider quarterly to half year reviews , but adjust the frequency based on the pace of change in your industry. 3. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Foster collaboration between product marketing, sales, customer support, and other relevant teams. Encourage them to contribute updates and insights based on their interactions with customers and the market. Assign owners and keep them accountable, 4. Automated Alerts: Leverage tools or software that can send automated alerts or reminders for content updates. Google alerts pop in your email inbox daily. 5. Competitive Monitoring Tools: It's an investment that many companies won't make but if you are lucky enough to have budget.... 6. Persona Interviews and Surveys: Regularly conduct interviews or surveys with your target personas to validate and update their profiles. Their needs and pain points may evolve over time. Small investment to keep your ear on the ground. 7. Market Research: Stay engaged with market research firms or conduct your own market research to gather current data and insights. I subscribe and follow a core group that is direct to my industry and then a secondary ancillary group that are relevant from a related or micro-economic perspective. 8. Audit Trail: Maintain an audit trail of changes made to sales materials, including who made the changes and when. This can help in identifying errors or tracking the evolution of content. 9. Regular Sales Enablement Sessions: Host regular sales enablement sessions where product marketing provides updates on competitive intelligence, personas, and market trends.
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