As expressed below and in other research studies, dissecting and leveraging consumer insight and learning about their audience through every click is now a priority for CEO’s and CMO’s. As more businesses try to attract and retain their most valuable customers, understanding customer sentiment and improving customer experience major drivers for the success and bottom line of these companies.

For industries such as healthcare, who are being aggressively pushed into the consumer retail shopping model, it will be imperative for leadership within these organizations to have a real-time view of their customers,  to help them remain competitive and achieve their business goals.

In recent studies by IBM and other research studies on CEO sentiments, customer insight and understanding are identified as a top focus for CEOs. A majority of surveys also find a growing concern for both establishing and retaining customer loyalty in today’s digital marketplaces.

There are two additional concerns CEOs are finding of increasing importance to the growth, as well as, survival in competitive environs. These two are:

CEOs and CMOs have a growing concern about the relevancy of their products and services in the digital economy

CEOs and their organizations are finding it hard to keep pace with new digital technologies

Redefining The Meaning Of Buyer Understanding

These three pressing concerns are causing CEOs and CMOs to reevaluate how to understand their buyers and their abilities to help buyers achieve their goals. Traditional survey methods and conventional win/loss analysis are proving to be dead end approaches. The promises of Big Data and analytics are limited in their ability to detect changes and cannot offer deeper assessments related to behaviors.

In today’s robust evolution of digital technologies, CEOs and CMOs seek buyer understanding to address these three concerns. Resulting in a 3D view of buyers, which can help inform strategies related to each.

Many organizations are still relying on a win/loss perspective when it comes to understanding buyers. CEOs and CMOs today should not be confused with newer terminologies surrounding this traditional perspective. A case in point is the term “buyer’s journey.” This is still a narrow buying process perspective designed to view the buy/sales cycle to a “win” as opposed to a “loss”.

Buyer Research Intent Requires Change

From a research point of view, not much has changed or moved beyond buyer profiling in the last couple of decades. Even more so, buyer profiling is still confined within the context of win/loss despite changes in terminology. As mentioned in previous articles, CMOs in particular, will now have to succinctly discern between buyer profiling and buyer personas. (This discernment is needed for it is unfortunate that conventional buyer profiling and win/loss analysis is being repackaged, if you will, as buyer personas by agencies and individual consultants. Which, then leads to organizations staying in the status quo of buyer profiling, as well as, win/loss analysis.)

A case in point is we see a glut of content on what to find out about buyers, especially related to buyer profiling “repackaged” as buyer personas. Content, which suggests finding out basic demographics, pain points, personalities, and buying criteria. This is then combined with win/loss questioning focused on the buying process (or buyer’s journey). Questions related to asking buyers to tell you what they did when they started researching and proceeding with a “then what” approach. This is classic win/loss interviewing technique as opposed to qualitative buyer research. Yet, not very helpful for addressing the three concerns mentioned earlier nor to true goal-directed behavioral research related to buyer personas.

The intent of buyer research, as related to buyer persona development, should be to address understanding the goals of buyers and whether the organizations is relevant to these goals. And, whether the organization is keeping pace with technologies, which enable buyers to accomplish their goals. Read the entire story here