Leveraging Customer Input Throughout the Creative Process

by Nate Fleming
Cracking the Code Part 2/3

Welcome back, folks. In part 1 of this series, we highlighted the big benefits of using customer perspective to inform integrated campaign strategies. We also shared a hefty list of ways to gather it.

In part 2, we’ll go into more detail as to how and when to harvest customer insights as you build an integrated campaign.

Harvesting customer perspective isn’t a one and done activity. Rather, it’s a commitment to empathize with the target audience you want to inspire and motivate with your messaging. With that in mind, here are some ways to think about when and how to elicit perspective from current and/or future customers at different phases of the campaign development process.

Phase 1: Research and Ideation

In this phase, we're talking brainstorm storms and light bulb moments. Think of it as the campaign's inception.

Surveys and Questionnaires

These are your roadmaps to customer insights. From multiple-choice to open-ended questions, it's a journey to uncover preferences, challenges, and success stories.

You could include:

  • Multiple-choice questions about product usage, preferences, and challenges.
  • Open-ended questions asking customers to share their experiences, stories, and suggestions.
  • Questions to gauge satisfaction levels and opinions on certain topics.

Focus Groups

Show them images, get them talking, and even have a bit of role-playing fun. It's all about sparking discussions and harvesting those golden nuggets of information.

  • Present images, videos, or prototypes to spark discussions.
  • Ask scenario-based questions that encourage participants to imagine using the product or facing certain challenges.
  • Introduce role-playing exercises to simulate customer interactions and gather feedback.

Phase 2: Creative Development

This is where we craft tales that'll make your audience go "Wow!"

Persona-Based Storytelling

Create your characters—AKA your customer personas. With vivid descriptions and mood boards, we'll  bring them to life. It's like casting the perfect actors for a feature film.

  • Develop customer personas with detailed descriptions, images, and background stories.
  • Create mood boards that capture the essence of each persona's lifestyle, preferences, and aspirations.
  • Write short narratives from the perspective of each persona, describing their needs and desires.

Co-Creation Workshops

A room full of creative minds doodling, brainstorming, and bringing ideas to life. No artistic skills required.

  • Provide visual inspiration boards with images related to the campaign theme.
  • Use interactive brainstorming tools to generate ideas collaboratively in real-time.
  • Encourage participants to sketch or doodle their concepts, even if they're not professional artists.

Phase 3: Testing and Refinement

Now, we're in the lab, tweaking and perfecting our ideas.

A/B Testing

It's like trying on different outfits before a big event. We test various campaign materials, observe what's clicking (literally), and crunch the numbers.

  • Show different versions of campaign materials, such as landing pages, emails, or advertisements.
  • Use heat maps to visualize where users are clicking, scrolling, or spending the most time on a webpage.
  • Gather quantitative data on metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates.

User Experience Testing

This is when we get to see how customers are reacting to what we’ve created. We record their moves, listen to their thoughts, and pay attention to their expressions as they navigate through our materials.

  • Record users' interactions with your campaign materials and observe their facial expressions and body language.
  • Conduct think-aloud sessions where users verbalize their thoughts and feelings as they navigate through your materials.
  • Provide scenarios for users to complete tasks while you observe their behavior and listen to their comments.

Phase 4: Post-Campaign Analysis

The party isn't over until we know how well we did.

Surveys and Feedback Forms

We ask for customers’ thoughts, feelings, and scale their emotional rollercoaster ride. Was it a thrilling adventure or a snooze-fest? We want to know.

  • Include both open-ended questions and scaled questions to capture a range of feedback.
  • Ask participants to rate the emotional impact of the campaign on a scale from negative to positive.
  • Use semantic differential scales to measure perceptions, such as "innovative vs. traditional" or "exciting vs. boring."

Social Listening

Eavesdrop on the social media chatter about the campaign. What's trending? What are people saying? Keeping your thumb on the social media pulse will give you a look at consumers’ honest opinions.

  • Analyze sentiment analysis tools to track how people are discussing your campaign on social media.
  • Identify keywords and hashtags associated with your campaign and monitor trends.
  • Look for patterns in user-generated content, such as photos, videos, or testimonials related to your campaign.

By using these diverse methods, you can effectively gather insights, emotions, and opinions from customers at different stages of the creative process, enhancing the development and success of your integrated marketing campaigns.

In part 3, we're going to dive into a treasure chest of real-life examples. We'll unveil the companies that turned customer insight into marketing gold, creating game-changing campaigns—and we might also throw in some bonus content.

A few cool things we've done

Strategic Consulting

Mars Petcare

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Brand Building

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

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Integrated Campaigns


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