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EPISODE 6

Are You Doing Enough Research?

The TL;DR

Today, we’re all about research—audiences, customers, markets, you name it. No fluff, just the raw truth.

Amanda Natividad (SparkToro), MJ Smith (CoLab), and Evan Huck (UserEvidence) talk about research (or lack thereof) for many B2B companies.

What’s working in B2B marketing

CREATIVITY + CUSTOMER INSIGHT

Research needs to validate creative ideas. Hear how these three avoid marketing myopia.

What’s not working in B2B marketing

INCONSISTENT RESEARCH

Research isn’t a one-off activity. Don’t fall victim to the trap of institutional knowledge.

The key takeaways

  • Understand the full scope of audience influences: B2B marketers should move beyond simple demography and firmographics to include the broader context of what influences their audience, including peers, competitors, and societal trends.
  • Blend creativity with customer insight: Although creativity is vital for differentiating your brand and marketing efforts, it needs to be backed by solid customer insights. B2B marketers should leverage research to validate creative ideas, ensuring they are addressing the real needs and challenges of their customers.
  • Utilize a mix of research methods: A combination of quantitative data and qualitative insights is crucial for a well-rounded understanding of your customers. Advances in technology are enabling richer qualitative insights at scale, but marketers must also look for the non-obvious insights that come from in-depth, tailored research conversations.
  • Consistent research is key: Research is a continuous process. B2B marketers need to stay on top of changes in customer behavior, industry trends, and underlying motivations by making research an ongoing practice.
  • Democratize access to customer feedback: In many organizations, customer feedback becomes siloed within certain departments. B2B marketers should advocate for democratized access to customer feedback across the organization to allow for diverse perspectives and to gain a broader understanding of customer needs and challenges.

The things to listen for

00:00 Intro

05:27 Frequent research ensures institutional knowledge remains accurate

09:11 Audience research: interviews, surveys, content consumption

10:38 Balancing creative risk-taking in marketing

16:07 Be specific

19:22 B2B marketing relies on assumptions, which are often boring

20:15 Identify the correct target for potential sales

26:12 Use cross-functional customer engagement for better insights

27:14 Scarcity of customer feedback presents challenges for companies

34:20 AI-driven insights

37:35 Summarizing caller data to identify recurring pain points

42:10 Acquisition brought strategic MBAs, but lacked practicality

43:00 Closing

The recap

Ever feel like you’re making a spaghetti pitch? You know, throwing every marketing idea against the wall and hoping something sticks. Well, here’s a newsflash: guesswork is for gamblers, not growth-driven marketers.

On this episode of The Proof Point, we’re delving into the craft of customer research—the kind that gives you a real edge and not just data dumpster diving. With insights from MJ Smith, Amanda Natividad, and Evan Huck on how to really get to know your buyers, this is your cheat code to making informed, intuitive marketing moves.

No fluff, just the stuff that aspiring B2B SaaS moguls need.

Sure, you could go like a jackrabbit after every trend and caprice, or you could double-down and understand the motivations and habits of those you want to impact. Like that little gem from Amanda on how HR managers gravitate towards “Psychology Today.” Bingo, that’s audience research with a purpose.

Evan may be a surfer from San Diego comfortable in a western jacket, but he knows the importance of balancing research with intuition, especially in startups where every move is experimental. MJ talks strategic narrative; it’s the art of forging a brand identity that’s crafted from validated learnings meshed with a CEO’s vision.

And let’s talk gifts, real gifts—like the kind Mark Huber and his team felt compelled to send top customers for their invaluable feedback. That’s investing in relationships based on actual value, not just email blasts and disposable touchpoints.

Attention: we’ve got cheat codes.

Join MJ, Evan, and a slightly hungover Amanda (don’t worry, she battled through it) as we reveal the secrets of landing striking customer insights—and maybe even disrupt a few marketing myths along the way.

We’re not here to do marketing by the old schoolbook; we’re here to turn assumptions into confirmed strategies.

Stand by for hot takes, unforgettable anecdotes, and the kind of insider knowledge you won’t get just anywhere—including your significant other’s latest social media posts. (Yeah, we know, they never like our work stuff either.)

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