You can make the case on paper, but you can also spin up an MVP to affirm the value of a VOC program. 1. In my previous experience, I gained buy-in by outlining all the ways programs like this can drive product feedback, referral of new customers, retention of current customers, and upsell/cross-sell of products. 2. We ran an MVP at our yearly summit by inviting top spending/high potential customers to do a roundtable with our execs and heads of product. We learned what's top of mind in their world, what's working with our product, what's not, and what problems we AREN'T yet solving. This was a great MVP, and we continued these discussions at regional events throughout the year. Having a seat at the table helped the product team get buy-in, which is critical b/c they need to be accountable to listening and testing new ideas/solving for new problems.
At Indeed, we segment employers by small, mid-sized, and enterprise, and we also look at specific industries/verticals that make up a bulk of our users. We also do this for job seekers, so it's a very B2B2C approach. For launch, we should identify which persona we're targeting before we even build, so that our research along the way informs the approach to meet this persona's needs. We refresh our personas yearly but will use current customer data to understand adoption, spend, retention monthly and quarterly depending on the team and strategy. For example, our lifecycle team (who mostly does email and retargeting), is organized by audience streams with different personas, and we're looking at behavior and learnings monthly.
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!
Such a wonderful question. I'm a big proponent of doing this. First, identify your target market and job titles of your target buyer. Then interview them to get a good understanding of the problems they face, uses cases they may have, and how they search for solutions. Your goal is to get a robust perspective of the market problems, potential competition in the space, and what your buyer cares about in order to create a differentiated, value-driven experience.
Great question! You actually squeezed 3 topics in here, which are all inter-related and important to buyer journey maps. In my experience, I start with segmenting my audience (total addressable market by country, company, vertical/industry, etc), identifying personas within my target audience (buyer/user), mapping the journeys for each persona, and then testing which content formats/channels work best. This means if I'm selling to Enterprises vs. mid-sized companies, IT vs. Finance buyers, I should understand the different journeys, budgets, and decision making processes and plan my content accordingly. Be choosy about where to focus!
I would test and measure content starting from the top of the funnel for awareness (paid ads, SEO, partnerships, brand campaigns, podcast, etc.) - is your brand a consideration for your category? Move to the middle to drive consideration (web, case studies, white papers, demos, etc.) - is there preference for your brand vs. competitors or alternative offerings? And finally, bottom of the funnel to close the purchase (talk to sales, referrals, trial, etc.) - are you the right choice to meet their needs? Content at each of these stages has a different intent and measurement for success. The more specifically your content addresses a specific buyer's problem with the right level of information, the more likely you are to convert them to the next stage!
From a research perspective, I've found a few research frameworks to be helpful for journey maps: jobs to be done, diary/desk studies, and 1:1 interviews. That's why getting the right person from the beginning is important, and meet with as many as you can until trends become apparent.
Best of luck!
As a leader for Indeed's Parents and Caregivers Inclusion Resource Group, I have to talk about this topic! There are a couple ways to approach this.
1. Add self-identifying optional fields so you get a better picture of your audience's demographics. This can be useful for a survey and can be anonymized through graphs and charts that slice data by race, gender, veteran status, etc.
2. For more personal qualitative research such as focus groups, 1:1 interviews, etc. you may have to create specific screeners to look for XYZ attribute. Generally, most screeners look for base requirements and then screen out users by attribute. In this case, be clear on who you want to hear from.
3. Make sure your values of inclusion are clarified up front, internally and/or with partners. This way you can design research intentionally to be inclusive and to serve communities who may otherwise be left out of the conversation.
Think about past products that failed because they didn't account for accessibility needs, left vs. right-handed users, or alienated a group of people. Let's keep learning and hold ourselves accountable to doing better.
I first start with really solid positioning, which should clearly identify how your offering is differentiated from other competitors in the market and lean into that. Second, I listen and shadow sales to see how often/why competitors come up in conversation. Then I can create appropriate messaging. Depending on your position in the market and how competitive the space is, you may go head to head in a more visible brand campaign, or if you're a category leader, you may keep an eye out and handle objections in sales scripts or through battlecards.
Always aim for as many personas as you encounter, but see above for my explanation on identifying a target segment and then choosing the personas you want to go after. It's important to stay focused on key decision makers, budget holders, and influencers. Part of this may be trial and error with continuous learning as you enter sales cycles and learn more.
This is a great approach. It's best if you get as specific as possible to identify prospects (ie. country, company size, verticle/industry, job title) and get clear on where you want to focus.
I shared in another answer that we partnered with a leading thought leader for a specific vertical (retail) and conducted a survey with their audience, who was our target person (retail execs). We used the survey results to share industry trends and insights and used this asset for lead generation, which drove a ton of interest!
Always consider, what's in it for them? I'm always pleasantly surprised when prospects are just interested in sharing their opinion to inform/improve a product without feeling like they're engaging in a sale.
I'd say, start asking questions, especially of the leaders and sales team. Depending on the answers, you may have a really good start to building some personas already. Or you may validate that you don't really know your target audience, and in this case, it would be worthwhile to arm teams with better information. Report back your findings and collaborate with stakeholders to decide whether it's good enough or needs more.