3 strategies for communicating with your audience (hint: start with mutual truths)

"I thought I would start by talking to you a little about myself," begins the presenter.

"It's there that I grew up. Beautiful, small, charming. "

She shares details about her personal life and career. The introduction of Liz High's presentation, Social Truth: Revealing What Matters to Your Customers at Content Marketing World, covers four minutes and fifteen photos.

The vice president responsible for knowledge of customer experience and delivery at Metia Group has one point to make. "OK, so what did you learn from me? What do you think you know about me? She asks the audience.

To answer the question, the participants recount facts shared by Liz (for example, she founded a company). In addition, they render judgments. They take what they observed and provide an assessment or opinion (eg, "You are ambitious." "You are funny.").

The response of one person is different from that of another. And the observations may conflict with what Liz believes herself.

To get the message across, Liz shares this quote from film producer Robert Evans:

"Every story has three facets: yours, mine and the truth. And no one lies. Shared memories serve each one differently. "

Marketing: Finding Mutual Truth With Customers

Liz says that the three sides of the content marketing discipline are:

The brand.
The truth.
3 sides in #contentmarketing – the brand, the customer and the truth via Liz High @metia. Click to tweet

The intersection of what matters to brands and the public is the mutual truth, which Liz calls "mutual resonance":

"You can never know the truth about a customer or potential customer," says Liz. "It's your job as marketers to see this from all sides. To make sure everything you produce is really interesting and relevant to them.

In the rest of this article, I share Liz's strategies on how content marketers can discover this mutual truth with customers.

Challenging Hypotheses and Exploring the Unexpected

Liz details a campaign she worked on for Mazda, which wanted to be recognized as an upscale and attractive brand for the wealthy millennial generation.

Conventional thinking – based on hypotheses – could use this feeling (I paraphrase):

Some millennia having money, they wish to live an upscale experience. Let's exploit their wealth to create exclusivity and prestige.

Liz and her team set up a series of focus groups with their target audience of the millennial generation. They sought to answer, "What does it mean to have a premium experience with a car and with a car company?"

In the first group, the conventional assumptions of the team were immediately challenged. One participant stood up and said, "I think that tell anyone that they can have a high-end experience based on how much they earn, that's bullshit."

Other focus group participants reinforced this idea. "What we have learned is that when you consider these millennials affluent as a tribe, they all rejected this notion of premium," Liz said.

Based on the beginning of the millennium, the shared sentiment was changed, according to Liz, in:

Everyone deserves a premium experience. It does not matter who you are.

Liz and her team have rotated. They focused on "everyone" (for example, every millennium) as the most important customer. By delving deeper into the millennium discussion groups, Liz discovered the importance of "those little moments when you really loved your car. These little moments of your life where your car made something easier. "

Generation Y talked about finding someone for a first date. They talked about giving a first kiss on their dates when they drove them home. They talked about moments of joy.

Liz thought, "How can we be marketers in these moments of joy? How can we recognize them? How can we replay them at these millennials? Because it is so that we can communicate with them. "

Here is a slide that summarizes the campaign:

The lesson? To find the common truth with customers, dig deep, question assumptions and explore the unexpected.

Find the common truth, deepen, question assumptions, explore unexpectedly, explains Liz High @metia. Click to tweet

Be intelligent in data and not data driven

"I love the data. But the important thing is not to be guided by the data. The data is smart, "says Liz.

Data can help guide decisions, but they do not need control. You should not be a slave to the data. To understand people and see the whole story, look beyond the data.

To illustrate this point, Liz shares the fable of the blind and an elephant. A group of blind meets an elephant and everyone touches a different part.

A man holds his tail and concludes that elephants are like a rope. Another touches his legs and concludes that elephants are like columns. Each blind man, touching a different part of the elephant, draws a different conclusion.

Each blind person relies on "data" to draw a conclusion. The flaw is that men are looking at isolated segments of data without having an overview. A marketing campaign that assumes that elephants are like a rope would be a colossal failure.

Do not isolate the data for not having an overview, advises Liz High @metia. Click to tweet

"In order for relationships with clients and their experiences to be effective, you need to understand every element of the elephant and the elephant as a whole," says Liz.

Liz details a campaign she has been working on for an exclusive luxury travel brand for affluent millennials.

She put on her anthropologist hat and went to private restaurants, exclusive shows and luxury hotels. Liz watched the expected – the Millennials were attached to their phone and photographed everything.

Liz wanted to discover the unexpected. "Do not just look for what's obvious. Do not assume that an elephant is a piece of rope. Listen to the silences, "she says.

She discovered that millennia captured the visual aspects of their experiences to express their gratitude. "They used words like" gratitude "," honored "," feeling special ". They showed themselves as people who appreciated the world they lived in and the things they saw, "says Liz.

This idea changed the way the brand communicated with this tribe. It was no longer about beauty and luxury. It was to show unique images that would connect them.

The lesson? "When you look at data to support your marketing, always explore the unexpected and get rid of your own perceptions and assumptions," says Liz.

RELATED ORDERED CONTENT: How to use your analytics to make smarter content decisions

Evaluate several types of data to obtain the image

"To think about understanding this elephant, it is important that you have multiple data sources and that you have the tools and methodologies to analyze each one," says Liz.

She likes to watch this triumvirate:

Linguistic data.
Visual data.
Digital data.
For an overview, analyze linguistic, visual and digital data, explains Liz High @metia. Click to tweet

Numerical and linguistic data are useful and commonly used. Marketers are constantly working with digital data – social media engagement statistics, Google Analytics, marketing dashboards, and more.

Liz often reviews linguistic data on social media platforms. She does not analyze feelings, but uses publications to search for information and hearings.

Visual data is less used but powerful.

As you recall, Liz shared 15 photos during her four-minute introduction. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words", these images reinforcing his story more powerfully than spoken words can not do it alone.

Return this equation. What if Liz asked the public to share images to express their feelings, thoughts and views?

This is what she did in a study of nearly 4,000 American consumers, who were asked to post a photo or give an image that represented a truth that brands should know. Each response associated visual data (that is, the photo) with linguistic data (ie words that the participant used to explain the meaning of the photo).

"The idea behind this study is to move to something different using a different data set and thinking differently," Liz said.

Here is an example:

The essence of linguistic data is: "I am creative. Your brand should do the same. But consider how much better we understand when we see the picture of the painted coconut. The only linguistic data (that is, "I painted a coconut") only goes so far.

The picture shows the spotted head, the eyes, the mouth, the whiskers.

The lesson? Use a triumvirate of data for a complete understanding of the customers. Ask customers to share their perspectives using new formats (for example, visual data).

Are you ready to seek mutual truth?

Two people can watch the same two-minute video and draw different conclusions. The brand that produced the video may trigger reactions or interpretations contrary to it.

The key is to find mutual truths with your customers.

Think about the truths you share with your customers. How do you communicate with them in everything you do and say?

Perhaps you have not identified the nature of these common truths – that's acceptable – many brands are in this position and even more have not even considered the concept of mutual truth. If you are in this position, re-read Liz's strategies to find this mutual truth. May the truth be with you (and your customers).

I would love to hear from you – use the comments to indicate where you are on the path of mutual truth.


Here is an excerpt from Liz's presentation:

Want a linguistic and visual data experience in content marketing education? (And we will also be adding digital data.) Sign up today for Content Marketing World from September 2 to 6 in Cleveland, Ohio. Use the code CMIBLOG100 to save $ 100.

Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute

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