Is Your Data and Content Lacking Context?


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The Story Thus FarThe Story Thus Far (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently met with the marketing head of a fairly large consumer goods company. We had an interesting discussion about how to interpret data and research. As we talked, I could see frustration building.

What he found frustrating was the mountain of data and research still was not telling him what he needed to know about his customers and buyers. The market is changing and the data is telling him so. However, it is not telling a story of how it is changing and why it is changing.

It is not telling him how buying habits and patterns are changing and why now. Equally frustrating was although the organization had a sense of who their buyers were, they could not pinpoint much else about the buyer.

What my friend was missing was context, which would give data meaning. Buyer personas can help provide the context for data to tell a story. Performing qualitative and contextual inquiry based fieldwork helps to identify the context in which buying decisions are made. To find out why buying patterns were changing, he was going to need to get in the “field” and have the heart-to-heart with buyers
on why.

Since buying processes were changing within the customer base, he was in need of insight on how and why. In cases like this, it is important to recognize the limitations of data in terms of context. The qualitative research-based creation of buyer personas and buying scenarios gives context and meaning to what the data may be saying.

This leads me to a critical point. As buyer behaviors change at a rapid pace, conversations about context should be in the forefront. What we may not realize is that if our data lacks context then there will be an impact downstream.

The impact will be this: content will lack the context needed to engage buyers fully.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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