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Sharpening the lens for marketing execution

Mike Rabin January 26, 2021
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Bringing a deeper human understanding to consumers’ experiences

Beneath the lofty pursuits of brand differentiation is the daily execution of a multi-faceted marketing plan. It’s here where everyday decisions drive successful engagement in a dynamic marketplace. A lot rides on marketing leaders to be on the pulse of their consumers.

Through investments in consumer research, marketing leaders are seeking new and deeper insights into the consumer experience. The challenge is that the prominent research methods (e.g. surveys, interviews, focus groups, and ethnography) force significant trade-off decisions. A wide lens risks being too costly and anecdotal. A narrow lens risks confirming what is already known.

There is now a sharper lens for marketing leaders to turn to. Utilizing recent advancements in natural language processing (NLP) technology, we can now discern clearer and more actionable data from consumers’ experiences by studying their written stories. Our solution is called SEEQ, and this is how it works:

  1. Session design. We start with understanding what our client wants to learn and what decisions they are hoping to inform. This allows us to identify the right audience and craft story prompts.
  2. Storytelling workshops. We recruit participants for either an in-person or online session. In both, participants are given tools to help them think about, develop and write their stories. After their stories are written, we often leave time for a few volunteers to share their story aloud.
  3. Story submission and analysis. Participants submit their stories through a simple cut and paste form submission. We then use IBM Watson and our proprietary machine learning technology to identify and quantify the emotions, personality traits, needs and values expressed within the stories.
  4. Reporting insights. With data in hand, we begin an iterative process of insight development. We read each of the stories and review the data together. Ultimately, our clients get a report summarizing the insights, sharing data and examples from the stories, with initial recommendations.
  5. Solution ideation. Since insights are only as helpful as the actions they inspire, we finish our process by helping clients understand the newly revealed insights and put them into action with newfound confidence.

For the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), we helped them develop ways to better engage Black travelers, improve communications and enhance experiences. We used our storytelling workshops to hear and collect stories about travel in Virginia from Black travelers both inside and outside of the state. Our analytical study resulted in the discovery of four emotionally-defined segments of Black travelers. We then helped VTC think through both consumer and industry engagement, resulting in more authentic and resonant messaging, and better experiences for Black travelers — especially when experiencing historical sites and destinations. Our Phase One full report can be accessed here.

If you’d like to explore how our SEEQ solution can sharpen your lens for marketing execution, let’s set up a demo or discovery call. I can be reached at mike@sharemorestories.com.

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