“M’incantò la rima fiore amore/la più antica difficile del mondo” - “I was enchanted by the rhyme fiore amore (flower love), / the oldest and most difficult in the world.”
In this way, taken with love for over-used words, poet Umberto Saba filled them with new meaning.
In the same way, following the loss of social legitimacy in traditional marketing, now considered an empty, self-referential monologue, brands must reassess their customer relationship models with both existing and potential customers.
In fact, the Internet has disintermediated relations with the markets and has taken away from companies the privilege of manipulating information flows towards their audiences: in this new “even” relationship where the customer knows how to form their own opinions independently, attention shifts from the product to the human factor.
The more communication is transferred online, the more listening and relationships become important for people. We are entering a new humanistic paradigm: before providing answers and solutions, any company must find out – and therefore listen to – what the real needs are that must be fulfilled for their audience.
Without listening, there can be no communication. Therefore, brands need digital ears if they want to be able to “intercept” what their customers want. And an engaged user is a user who comes back (and buys). The easiest way to attract them to your channels is to use a good content marketing strategy. At this point, starting out from the analysis of consumed content, understanding who we have in front of us is really easy.
The best solution is to turn to an Intelligent DAM system (THRON is one of these): its AI engines catalog all company content; they manage it in an orderly manner, on a large scale, for its entire life cycle, up to the point of publishing it univocally across all channels of communication. This tool’s fundamental characteristic, however, is that it allows for intelligent listening.
In fact, this platform integrates metrics that enable each piece of published content to be measured effectively, obtaining user preferences in real time, even from anonymous users. This set of information may be used to great satisfaction in order to personalize marketing campaigns in a tailored way. No more targets, leads or prospects, but people, who are increasingly pampered and satisfied.
Listening is precisely one of the six best practices of C.A.R.D.I.O (which, in Italian, stands for Engage, Listen, Tell, Delight, Learn and Guide) marketing. It is a pragmatic managerial philosophy theorized by Patrizia Menchiari to turn customer approaches into happy and long-lasting genuine love stories.
Let’s find out more about the topic with Patrizia!
D: Why is listening strategically important for companies?
R: Listening to customers (and, indeed, also to other stakeholders) is essential in order to:
- understand their problems and interests;
- tune in to their needs and desires;
- provide them with what they consider to be truly valid or useful;
- improve relationships and dialogue.
In theory, all companies claim to be customer oriented, and yet, very few listen to customers before constructing their offers: often, the customer only starts being considered to understand how to sell and empty the warehouse. And often, this is too late. No miraculous sales technique will be able to help you sell a product that the market doesn’t want (or that the competition does better than you).
A valid marketing strategy starts with listening to the audience that interests us. The aim is to understand what lies behind certain behaviors and how to fulfil expressed, unspoken, functional or emotional requirements.
Listening requires meticulous research, suitable tools and a great deal of humility: in a constantly changing context, there is a high price to pay for being presumptuous in terms of knowing exactly what the market wants.
Psychiatrists have proved that attention is the strongest need human beings have, especially in a context that is full of shouted messages and monologues. Therefore, a listening attitude is sure to be successful and make you stand out; all of us would like to deal with suppliers who are aware of our needs, but this only happens rarely.
D: Listening online requires technological support. Do you believe that implementing AI to measure the effectiveness of your communication strategies can make a difference?
R: Once upon a time, listening could be limited to sporadic market analyses and one-off questionnaires. But today, it is a continuous process; it is an activity that every company must carry out consistently to always have the situation under control, to understand the mood of their audiences, and to seize new opportunities straight away.
The web and social networks offer enormous listening opportunities, especially if they help you to intercept complaints, manage crises, protect your reputation and, in general, help you to adapt quickly to changes in the market.
In the CardioMarketing book, I only touched on the tools aspect. Instead, I concentrated on aptitude, the attitude that lies at the base of different relationship strategies applied by the most popular companies in the world (which are also the ones with the best financial results!).
But, without a doubt, the next step is getting equipped with the most suitable tools to collect and analyze the information with which to make informed and rational decisions. Therefore, AI will certainly be increasingly crucial in assisting managers.
Tools are making huge steps forward, and there is no time to lose: the skills and knowledge of those who lead companies need to be increased. So, any development and training project (such as this website!) that helps managers and entrepreneurs to broaden their horizons is more than welcome.