By Drew Neisser
FocusVision, essentially makes research tools, so I imagine you’re a fan of doing research?
I’ve always been in software; and in software, people often believe that we’re going too fast to wait for the research. So, they just go for it. The problem is, when you just go for it, you move fast, but then change directions 10 times. It’s ultimately pretty unproductive and inefficient. Starting with big research projects has been an absolute godsend, everyone should always start with research.
Can you talk about how you’ve used research to inform your marketing?
We started with a customer study to understand what our customers were doing, who owned the budget, who was involved where. We went on to a bigger market study next, on things like who’s doing what type of research? Where is it most valuable? We also do brand on every single product, and much more, often with our own tools. I have never had so much research at my disposal, it’s been really helpful in aligning marketing with the board, and other executives, and with sales. This is because, with research, it’s not my opinion, it’s not what I think, it’s not what I feel—it’s what the research, our customers, and the market have told us. On top of all that, we’re researching employee satisfaction to ensure that things are going well internally, and that we have a happy, engaged workforce.
In terms of target-audience discovery, what is state of the art right now?
First and foremost, you need to understand who’s buying your product, whose problem are you trying to solve, what is that pain point, where is the budget coming from—and you need to understand where the market’s going. Is that through an agency, or an end user, is it B2B or B2C. You can’t guess, because otherwise everything in the organization is splintered. To start getting this info, surveys are definitely the most prevalent methodology. They’re easy. But just doing surveys and leaning on a more quantitative side won’t give you the full picture. That’s where most fall down, you need some qualitative. You need to ask more open-ended questions as well.
Do you have two dos and a don’t for new CMOs out there?
Absolutely. First, do the research. It could be as simple as a survey with an open-ended question, something to base your initial actions on. Next, follow up later with a bigger, more intensive research project. The lifecycle of CMO is less than four years and everybody’s in a rush, so you need to move quickly, but you need to start with some quick research, but make sure to follow it up. The don’t? Don’t skip it.