December 12, 2022
In Part Two of our podcast, Jenny Dinnen shares three real-world examples of brands that utilized data insights to reconfigure their strategies and best connect with their audiences. From a financial institution to a hardware store and a non-profit organization, here’s how data can be used to confirm or challenge your marketing strategy.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:00] This is The 19, a podcast that delivers marketing insights from Orange Label in 19 minutes or less. This year, the agency is celebrating 50 years of working with established brands that are driven by a fearless entrepreneurial mindset. What does this mean for you? It means enriched conversations and stories with marketing and leadership experts aimed at improving lives.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:28] Welcome back to The 19: Entrepreneur Edition! Let’s jump back into customer data and insights with MacKenzie Corporatation’s Jenny Dinnen.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:36] So we track the CMO surveys. They come out twice a year, and the latest one reports that brands tripled investments in marketing, research and intelligence since February of 2020.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:00:47] Wow, I love that.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:47] So that’s yeah, it was pre-pandemic, right?
Jenny Dinnen: [00:00:51] Yes.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:51] So in your experience, why do you think more and more brands are relying on research and intelligence after the pandemic?
Jenny Dinnen: [00:00:58] When the entire world just shifted upside down.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:01:01] Right.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:01:01] You know, it’s funny of being in this business for a long time. For a while, we were in the convincing business. We were trying to convince people like, hey, you should be using data.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:01:10] Right.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:01:10] We have information, you know, instead of making decisions based on gut feel or of what’s always worked in the past, like there is information that’s showing you trends and patterns of what’s happening. So we were in the convincing business we are now, which feels nice in the confirming business. Like everyone’s like, okay, we know that we need to. I mean, one, I think there’s a lot of buzz things out there right now. When we went through the big data buzzword there for a minute, which is good, but in theory most companies are drowning in information. And some of them it’s kind of like we need like small data or middle medium data, like just use what you’re have here. And there’s so much talk about being a customer centric companies, but I think that people don’t know exactly what that means or where that is. But why is the investment happening? There are so many tools out there that is making it easier to gather information, to collect information, to connect with. I mean, there’s so many tools out there. I was chatting with someone earlier this morning. I think last year maybe it was maybe in 2020. There are four billion surveys that were sent out, which is mind boggling. That’s just like mind boggling to me, the fact that everyone from the bagel shop to every single airline and hotel and rental car can send out their own surveys, I think is fantastic. The tools that are available that are coming online are there that companies can do it. I believe what’s missing, which we might get to a little bit, is then remembering just because you can collect all the information, we still need to say what does that information mean?
Rochelle Reiter: [00:02:46] Yes.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:02:46] So why do I think it’s doubling? I think that the technology is exponentially coming online for the tools that are available.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:02:53] Yeah.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:02:53] And they’re starting to see, hey, we need to be able to connect with our customers. I also think that a lot of things got expedited in the pandemic and realizing most companies realize we need to do something different. And so it like spurred, okay, we’ve wanted to do this for a while. We’ve wanted to do all these online and tracking and things. And so the pandemic pushed a lot of that forward, which I think will create some new opportunities out there. There is so much to dig into!
Rochelle Reiter: [00:03:27] Yeah, so there’s more tools, more brands have access to like free survey tools.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:03:32] Oh my gosh, yes!
Rochelle Reiter: [00:03:33] But what you do is different.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:03:34] Yes.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:03:34] So how do most of your clients apply the insights that you provide to them within their businesses? What are they using you for in terms of more intricate studies, more deep studies that are done by professionals that they can then turn around and make change in their business?
Jenny Dinnen: [00:03:51] We help on multiple pieces of it. One developing an overall research strategy. Some people will come in and they do like one survey, Hey, we want to find out about our customers. And so they do one big survey. They survey all their customers one time a year. And if we’re thinking about a journey, then we’re probably hitting people are connecting with people that might have purchased, you know, a week ago, a year ago, two years ago. So the questions are not making sense of where we do, right. So we help people come up with an overall research strategy so that they can be connecting with people all along the journey. How they’re using that then is to be able to say, hey, into the customer experience of knowing on the front end how to better connect with. So we example, we just I just got back from St. Louis last week. We’re working with First Bank and they’ve got a center for family owned businesses and they want to know how do we better connect with and provide services to our customers, What is it that they need? So they came to us and said we did a research project with them on the front end to say, What are your biggest challenges as a family businesses? But what are the segments that we’re talking to? So instead of talking to family businesses as a whole and having one marketing message, we came in of who’s G1, G2. And not even G1 right they’re the entrepreneurs in the beginning of starting their business, maybe husband and wife, or are they a G1 where they’re looking in the succession planning piece of it and they’re looking to turn it over to a G2. What are their issues? What are their challenges? What’s going on? So now First Bank is able to come in and they’re able to communicate and talk with their customers and prospects in the way that they want to be talked to, and they’re able to target them and connect with them and offer services that make the most sense to them.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:05:38] Right.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:05:38] That was part of a getting to know you survey and initiative on the front end. We also work with our clients that if we go along the journey in the customer experience space. So in saying, you know, where are we potentially losing customers? We had a client come and they said, hey, we need we need help with marketing. We need to find out what our customers want so we can get more of them. We came in and we started looking at all the information and we said, quite honestly, you don’t have a marketing problem, you have a retention problem. They were bringing in so many customers on their front end and losing them through the process. I said, listen, we need to plug the holes and look at your customer experience before we just keep bringing in more on the front end. Let’s look at the data and let’s say, what is it that’s actually happening? So we came in and we looked at their customer experience and we said, listen, you guys are promising on sales and marketing XYZ experience when they come in. That’s not the experience that they actually are having and they’re upset about it and you’re losing them.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:06:36] Right.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:06:36] So one, we adjusted what the actual experience was on the front end and then went back because quite honestly there are certain things that they couldn’t fix then we shouldn’t be promising that on the front end in sales and marketing. Most of the time there’s a disconnect between what sales and marketing is talking about and then what the actual experience is that the customers are having. And we can’t then be upset with our customers for being frustrated. So back to the question of how are brands using the data? They’re coming back to say this is what our customers thought, the front end, this is what their perception was, this is what their expectation is and this is what the actual experience is. And we can start adjusting along the way of what our marketing messaging should be, what our experience should be, so that then loyalty is up higher on the back end.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:07:23] Well and I can imagine it would lead to inefficiencies overall if that’s not happening and could be detrimental to the brand value in the long run.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:07:30] It’s amazing to me of opening the doors. You know, I talked to a lot of brands and I’m surprised sometimes when brands kind of even on the front end of the data. But some brands and folks will shy away from asking customers, you know, it’s kind of like we want to be customer centric. I’m like, let’s go out and actually talk to the customers and they’ll shy away from actually talking to customers. Could either be, we’re too busy for that. We already know the answer to that, or maybe we don’t want to hear negative things, you know, that’s out there. I mean, all of the above. It’s happening one way or the other.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:08:03] Might as well know about it.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:08:04] And when you just said, like efficiency of losing money, losing pieces, you’ve got employees trying really hard to do amazing work. If there’s inefficiencies of what’s going on, you know, we are all consumers sometimes eye opening for people when I chat with them. But if I have a bad experience, if I buy something from a brand and they promise XYZ and it wasn’t delivered on time or it didn’t work the way that it was promised, I sure as heck am going to go out and be telling my friends and family about that.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:08:31] Yeah.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:08:32] So the ones the people that take the time to either fill out your surveys or connect with call into customer service, those are the few because there’s nine out of ten are not calling in to talk about it. They’re just out telling somebody else about a not fantastic experience. These are opportunities to say, hey, thank you so much for reaching out. What can we do about it? How do we change next time and or how do we explain what happened there? So the next time either that expectation is not out of line, if they thought it was going to be next day delivered, but it’s actually three day, why don’t we explain what’s happening out there?
Rochelle Reiter: [00:09:10] Sure.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:09:10] Why don’t we talk about what was going on? Like opening the line of communication shouldn’t be as scary as it seems to be.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:09:18] No, no. So can you think of a specific success story that stands out to you on how your data transformed a client’s brand strategy?
Jenny Dinnen: [00:09:27] We recently worked with, so we do a bit in the nonprofit space as well. We are working with a client and they were going through a brand refresh. So a lot of times then we’ll work with amazing creative agencies like yourself. And so they were going through it and they’re in the homelessness space and we’re going through a brand refresh. They brought us in and said, Hey, before we go out and do a brand refresh and based on internally what we’re thinking, why don’t we go out and do a brand perception, brand awareness study of the community at large, which we’re going to be out in there. So we went out and did a blind study, one of meeting who in the space is helping in the homelessness space, right? So blind, we didn’t say who the client was. So at least we know of where they where this company sits in relation to others. Some things came out of and it was things like Salvation Army or churches or things came out and it was like, Wait a second, that’s not who helps, but that’s what the general population believes. To them, we came in and started saying, and what is your overall thoughts on this, right? And so we were able to get some very interesting insights from the community of their thoughts and opinions about the topic or the issue at large, and then came in and really started talking about the nonprofit specifically about what they thought about it. So out of the data that they have and the insights that we gathered, they were able to come up with a new and refresh that’s coming; I think just recently came out. And able to do their brand refresh and brand positioning based on the actual input from the community so that they know. And so they put together their entire kind of branding strategy going forward now based on reality and not based on and I love when we’re presenting research like, man, I didn’t even realize this is what people thought. I didn’t even realize that people thought that this was a solution. And now we know how we can position ourselves against others. And there are some white spaces available in order to help and position them.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:11:31] That’s great. It almost seems, because this is your business, probably really silly to go through a brand refresh or starting a brand without doing the the groundwork for the research, because you could just be throwing a dart at a board, right?
Jenny Dinnen: [00:11:44] Yeah. I mean, the thing is that we all come in this space and I think I was so blessed. I said I had worked at Home Depot back in the day, but my very first boss there, Cherish. So I used to work, I worked in San Diego and I was in charge of two to four page fliers. It’s kind of silly and certain product lines. I did a hurricane preparedness, huge initiative and we did ice melt. Actually being in St. Louis, we were just talking about this being from Southern California and creating hurricane preparedness and ice melt. And we were doing some pool supply type of things and our clients were the maintenance guys. So we were on the B2B side. So the maintenance guys are working at hotels, apartment complexes, whatnot, and dealing with issues that I had never dealt with. You know, I was working in my cubicle down in San Diego and I was creating fliers that I thought were beautiful of what they were. But, you know, Cherish my old boss had said, Jenny, have you ever actually gone in and went into their offices, which is really like supply closets of where they had all their supplies for the pool supplies and these different pieces? I said, no, you know, And so she would send us out to go actually talk to our end consumers, which to your point, seemed mind boggling at the time. But I could see what they were dealing with, what they were up against, what it actually meant to be. I mean, I didn’t even know what ice melt was and I’m creating fliers for it. So she would send us out in the field and actually go talk to these people. And even on the pool supply one, we created these big, beautiful posters that we thought could go on the wall. We went in and we went in their supply closet and there was not even an inch on the wall for these, like big, beautiful posters. We’re like, okay, now we know what we are working with. Now we realize the types of space that they need, the language that they’re using, what they’re doing. And then we could also say, What else are you doing to solve this problem? And we didn’t even know that they were solving certain problems with XYZ solution as we’re selling ours back to the indirect competitors instead of just we just knew these were our direct competitors, but they’re like, oh, we’re also doing all of these things over here. So getting out, talking to people, use the data, but go beyond it.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:13:48] Go beyond, Yeah. So where do you see research, data and insights in the next five years?
Jenny Dinnen: [00:13:53] Taking over the world! I am hopeful and I’m seeing it more and more that it has a bigger seat at the table. A lot of times people are only looking at technology when they’re thinking about the future of like, oh man, we’re going to have like these future robots and we’re going to have all these future AI and all of this kind of stuff. That is a big part of it. I mean, the technology will not slow down, but we need to make sure as we’re looking at kind of futures, we’re looking at the entire sweep of social, political, economic, environmental and technology. So there’s a lot of things in the future here. So what I hope the future is, data insights research, is that we put a stronger focus on the human beings and what we can do with it. And so with the rise of CX and customer experience and having a customer experience person at the seat of the table, they should be reporting to the CEO using data and research. I would love more. And we’re seeing more and more of it of everyone within a company coming and saying, hey, what is it that the customers want? Where are the customers at? What is the future of this? So we’re going to leverage technology and gathering this information, but we have to humanize what’s happening there. We cannot ignore the why behind what’s happening. You know, I was speaking to some students just recently. At the end I did all presentation and it was lovely. At the end, one of the students said, So now that we can just track everything that people are doing, are you even relevant? I said 100%. Like we have to not ignore that there are human beings. And the why behind we cannot get to and I hope that we advocate more. We cannot get to a point where we’re just tracking what people are doing and only using data and not understanding and connecting with human beings. People want to be part of a community. People want to be heard. They want to be connecting with other human beings like this is who we are. And so I am hopeful that it has a larger seat at the table. They were able to dig in deeper, to understand in order to create product services and experiences that people actually want. Like, I don’t want to just keep turning out things that don’t matter.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:16:06] Yeah. Jenny, such great insights today with you and always thank you so much for being on The 19.
Jenny Dinnen: [00:16:13] Oh, thank you so much for having me.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:16:21] Thank you for listening to Part Two of The 19: Entrepreneur Edition with Certified Foresight Practitioner Jenny Dinnenn. You can learn more about the MacKenzie Corporation at MacKenzie Corp dot com. If you have additional insights on the topics we discuss today, send us an email. You can send questions, comments and more to R-R-E-I-T-E-R at Orange Label Advertising dot com.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:16:48] A special thank you goes out to our contributors Ryan Nagel, Micah Panzich, who edits our show, and Senior Content Writer Ashley Ruiz. Be sure to subscribe to The 19 on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify. And if you like what you heard today, leave us a review!