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Five Ways to Gain Customer Insight: A Guide for Marketers

by Steve Hartert  |  
February 21, 2017
  |  6,812 views

Legendary Baseball Hall of Famer and Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by watching." The humor aside, there's a lot of truth in that statement.

As marketing professionals, we should always be observing our customers: Their habits, behavior, and feedback serve as a yardstick for measuring the strength of your company's relationship with its customers.

And if you're not watching your customers, someone else—probably your competition—is.

One way to understand customer metrics is to compare it to driving your car. When you're behind the wheel, there's a lot happening: You're constantly monitoring the vehicle's metrics, such as speed, engine temperature, and fuel levels, along with observing traffic and road conditions. There's no justification for not bringing the same level of monitoring to your customers.

So how can marketing professionals turn Mr. Berra's quip into an actionable plan?


The basic measurements most viewed are revenue and profitability. As long as those two are going up, why should anyone care? Simply put, as fast as these numbers go up... they can plummet. Customer preferences can change in a heartbeat... and if a company is caught flat-footed, next month's sales results won't look quite as rosy.

Having a strong understanding of your customers helps you spot warning signals before sales go completely south, as well as helping you to discover trends that can lead to new areas of growth and opportunity.

Here are five steps marketing professionals can take.


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Steve Hartert is CMO of JotForm, a San Francisco-based company providing online drag-and-drop form-building tools that require no coding knowledge. He has 25+ years of international B2B and B2C marketing experience.

LinkedIn: Steve Hartert

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  • by Denyse Wed Feb 22, 2017 via web

    Great post Steve!
    The only comment I have is that you're talking about customer knowledge and understanding rather than insight, at least from my perspective. Everything you mention includes great habits for marketers to adopt, but insight development needs an additional process.
    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration; I think I'll now write a post on insight development from the marketer's perspective for my own blog.

  • by Jerry Pompilio Fri Apr 21, 2017 via web

    Thanks Steve, found you post to be right on target. I.m working on producing a blog on customer service and would appreciate being able to repost this when my blog is up and running. In the mean time I'll be sharing on my linkedin page. Good work.

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