Your Ideal Buyer
Just this week I was involved in a conversation on LinkedIn that was started by my good friend James Carbary. His post was as follows:
❌ “Create for your ideal buyer”
✅ “Create with your ideal buyer”
The point here is that if you are going to create content, go beyond the step of creating it for your ideal buyer, but do it in collaboration with them. I agree with his sentiment.
In response to his post, I wrote the following:
“I agree with this, but far too many skip the all-important step of developing customer insights so they know what to create. Hence a lot of time and investment spent creating that just misses the mark entirely.”
My reply led to some further dialogue, but the overarching point is that if you are going to create content that is both relevant and contextual to your customers, you have to know who they are, what they need, and what their motivations are, at every stage of their journey.
And this reason is why your customer’s digital exhaust is so important.
Before I get into why digital exhaust is important to your customer engagement efforts, let me first explain what digital exhaust is.
In short, digital exhaust is the data that your customers generate through their digital interactions and activities.
All of us who have a digital presence leave a trail of digital exhaust and that data can be used to generate insights about your customers that will lead to better engagement across the full customer lifecycle. However, the majority of organizations are not using this data effectively.
The concept of digital exhaust is not new as evidenced by this 2016 article in this Harvard Business Review article about how digital exhaust can be used to enhance sales. However, the ability to tap into the digital exhaust of your customers is now easier given the advancement of AI.
Rather than delve into the various AI tools, that we use for our clients, to harvest digital exhaust, I will speak about what can be done with your customer’s digital exhaust that will truly make you a data-driven organization.
The foundation of any good customer engagement or marketing strategy is customer insight. As I mentioned in my LinkedIn comment, far too many organizations plow ahead with campaigns, content creation, and BDR activation without understanding their customers.
And, it is important to understand that as customers go about their journey, they change. You most likely will have new roles involved, different needs arise, shifts in the relationships, and different motivations for purchasing.
While Carbary is right that collaboration with your customers is far better, this collaboration can be accomplished in large part by analyzing the data of your customers that can be found in their digital exhaust. What sites are they visiting, what content do they engage with, and what language and words do they use when they post? All of this data is there, it just needs to be activated, and to not do so is to not take advantage of one of the most valuable assets of your organization . . . data.
Before you invest another dollar in any kind of engagement channel or content, analyze your customer’s digital exhaust to get the insights that will inform your strategy.
On more than one occasion I have met with a CMO who has told me about their personalization efforts only to find out that their definition of personalization is putting the person’s first name at the greeting of an email and inserting their company name on the body.
While this is better than a generic email, it is still not what I would refer to as personalization. When you use the insights that you can collect from digital exhaust you are able to hyper-personalize and speak directly to a customer’s problem, what is most important to them, and their role. You can align your message contextually to an individual and their cognitive style. This is hyper-personalization and will go further in building a relationship with your customers at every stage of their journey.
Sales & Customer Success Enablement
Most sales enablement consists of sales playbooks that once completed and presented to sales sit on a digital shelf and get lost in the black hole of Sharepoint.
However, when organizations harness the intelligence that is provided by their customer’s digital exhaust, they can truly enable sales to have better conversations with their customers no matter what stage of their journey they are in.
Digital exhaust enables sales and customer success teams to understand the communication preferences of their customers, their personalities, the way they think, and how they like to interact. Additionally, you can provide insight that reveals what is important to them based on their digital interactions.
Having this information will make any sales and customer success interaction more meaningful and help build a human connection with your customers.
Companies that experience consistent growth have one thing in common, they are data data-driven. Your customer’s digital exhaust is full of data and insights that will enable any organization to drive better engagement which will lead to consistent and sustainable growth.