Is Better Listening the Key to Marketing Success?

Is Better Listening the Key to Marketing Success?

As a marketer, you naturally like to control the conversation and push things in the direction that you see fit. But sometimes the best thing you can do is sit back and listen to what’s happening around you. The more you can do this, the better prepared you’ll be.

The Power of Listening

If you’re a parent of young kids, then you know that one of the biggest challenges you face is getting your kids to listen. Not only do they need to hear the words that are coming out of your mouth, but they also have to follow through with what you’re telling them.

Listening isn’t something that comes naturally to us – and it’s not a problem that’s exclusive to kids. Everyone struggles with listening and there’s always room for improvement. From a business perspective, honing your listening skills as it pertains to customer feedback will take you a long way.

3 Practical Things You Can Do

What does it look like, in practical terms, to hone your listening skills as a marketer? There are many different approaches, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Set Up Alerts

Are you familiar with the different social listening tools that exist online? If you aren’t already using these tools, you’re missing out on an awesome opportunity to find out what people are saying about your brand and products.

Depending on the platform you use, social listening tools can do a number of things. For one, they allow you to tag different keywords, phrases, and topics. Each time one of these words is used, you receive a notification.

2. Conduct Surveys and Polls

Sometimes the best thing you can do is ask customers very specific questions so that you can listen to what they have to say. Traditionally, marketers have had to conduct case studies or focus groups in order to get valuable feedback, but the internet has, once again, made things easier for you.

Using a simple tool like Twitter, you can send out a poll or survey question and get thousands of responses in a matter of hours. While you have to account for the possibility of erroneous feedback, listening to what customers say in these surveys can give you an idea of how you’re doing in a certain area.

Along these same lines, make sure you’re treating social media as a two-way conversation, not just a platform for you to get your point across. If you share a post and someone asks a question, provide an answer. Communicating back and forth with people shows that you’re actively listening.

3. Apply Feedback

Finally, part of listening involves applying the feedback you receive. It’s not enough to sit there and hear what people are saying. If you don’t act on what they’re saying, did you really listen?

For example, let’s say you hear a bunch of your customers talking about your poor website’s design. In order to truly listen, you’d need to apply the feedback and do something about the design. This application step is the part a lot of marketers, unfortunately, forget about.

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

If you’re honest with yourself, how are you doing on the listening front? Are you hearing your customers out, or are you quick to speak in every situation? There’s an age-old principle that says you should be quick to listen and slow to speak, and this wisdom certainly holds true in marketing. Spend the next few days honing your listening skills in an effort to improve how you communicate.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.