Gone are the days in which corporations can simply develop a product, throw a bunch of advertising budget behind it, sit back and watch the sales figures soar. Today’s consumer is fiercely independent, inundated with choices and wired to the internet. This gives them infinitely greater control over what and how they consume advertising, rather than being led by companies with large marketing coffers. Coke Life is the perfect example of this. A generation ago, it almost certainly would have been a rollicking success. Today. . . Not so much. It’s no wonder, then, that smart companies are investing wisely in ways to tap into the minds of their target customers to understand their wants and needs in a fast-changing market.

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Make It Mobile

The meteoric rise of mobile technology provides unprecedented opportunities to stay in close contact with consumers. Numerous technologies have emerged that highlight the importance of customer feedback and provide innovative ways of obtaining it. The great advantage of utilizing mobile platforms is that once a user has downloaded a company’s app, they are already highly engaged with their brand and represent the most captive of audiences. By using the feedback that they gain through clever marketing in-app customer surveys, app developers and managers are able to continuously improve their user experience and ensure that their users are consistently engaged.

You’ve Got Mail

While you can always hear people groaning about the level of spam and other marketing in their inboxes, the fact remains that email marketing still works. The speed and low cost of email mean that even with relatively low response rates, companies can obtain sufficient data from customer feedback surveys to make informed decisions about their products, service or online experience. The proliferation of services offering email marketing is testament to this fact.

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Focus, Young Padawan

While not in the budget of every company, focus groups provide exceptional opportunities to gauge target consumer’s response to a product, service or digital presence. By interacting with real people in real-time, you can most closely replicate the environment in which people will interact with your product or brand. The responses received in such an environment are usually far more honest and accurate when compared to impersonal methods, in which people are more likely to respond without thinking deeply.

Going Social

An active social media presence is imperative for most businesses in today’s world. When done right, the interaction with and between potential consumers on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can provide priceless insights into what people like or dislike about your company. Most importantly, social media also creates a way to establish a more personal connection with your consumer base so that you can respond to concerns, clarify misconceptions and consolidate on positive feedback. Beware, however; it’s not as simple as establishing a Facebook page and posting cat videos a couple of times per week. Making social media work for you takes time and expertise to ensure that you’re getting the messaging and tone right. There are plenty of online and offline resources out there that can get you on the right track.

However you choose to do it, the importance of customer feedback will only continue to rise. The most connected and savvy companies stand to reap the benefits of creative marketing techniques that tap into client’s minds and allow them to deliver the kind of results that they want and need.

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