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Sherrie Nguyen (she/her)
Director of Product Marketing at Indeed July 25

I love this question. I've done this in a really scrappy way at a start-up and then approached this with significant budgets at a larger company. The scrappy way was to identify a couple leads, reach out with a request to learn from them to influence your product roadmap, and bring them swag. This worked well for store managers, and I literally walked the mall and bought people coffee at the starbucks for my interviews. For a much higher level executive who can be harder to reach and medium budget, we ended up partnering with an organization who already produces thought leadership for this audience (think NRF conference to reach retail execs) to survey their members and publish learnings back to them with broader learnings. This was a great way to learn, produce content, and drive leads through sharing the results. Lastly, with larger budgets, you can work with research agencies to screen for specific people and compensate them. I've found all 3 methods to be effective for different needs!

Jeffrey Vocell
VP of Product Marketing at | Formerly Narvar, Iterable, HubSpot, IBMDecember 13

A few tips to get to the right decision makers:

  1. Look in your own database and reach out! Existing customers, as long as they're happy with you, are generally low-hanging fruit and fairly easy to reach.
  2. Look on LinkedIn for people who fit your ideal persona/customer, and reach out. Response rates are generally low, but the better your copy and CTA the more likelihood you get a good response.
  3. Use a research audience tool like SurveyMonkey, QuestionPro or others to target a specific audience beyond your network. This can be a great way to reach specific target buyers if you have some budget. You can also use tools like GLG as well to get 1:1 qualitative interviews with your target persona.

On compensation... generally speaking yes. Depending on the time-investment I find the response rate to always be better when compensating and valuing their time. 

Madison Leonard 🕶
Product Marketing & Growth Advisor at | Formerly ClickUp, Vanta, DreamWorks AnimationJanuary 16

Compensation will depend based on the size of the organization and their role. For example, a Director of Product at a 25 person company will be a lot easier to get a hold of and compensate than a Director of Product at Meta. There are some agencies you can use, but I recommend doing LinkedIn prospecting if you can.