How To Turn Research Into Results With Video

Growing up, I was never great at math. I wouldn’t get terrible grades, but I just never seemed to pick it up. So, I figured it was simply that I didn’t have a mind for numbers, and I never would.

Then came Mr. Huber, my 8th grade math teacher. Suddenly, it was like a new world opened up to me — one where I was actually good at math!

His teaching style was visual and he used metaphors that were perfect for me. Mr. Huber’s class was a total game changer.

Here’s what he did differently: he asked questions and worked to understand all of his students. He connected the concepts with each student in a way we could understand and internalize.

In business, we can do the same thing with our customers — and we should.

Like a great teacher who connects with a student's learning style, businesses can connect with their audience for messaging that resonates with them. Click To Tweet

Because the better we understand who they are, what makes them tick, and what they’ll respond to, the more impactful our marketing will be. This will mean more sales and more helpful messaging from the start.

In this post, we’ll share exactly how customer research fueled a recent project for Office Sign Company, and how you can do the same for your brand.

While they sell products online, the methods are portable, and can be used in any vertical, from real estate to non-profit work.

The Value of Customer Research

We’ve worked on dozens of video projects. But I don’t think we’ve ever tackled one quite like Office Sign Company’s.

Office Sign Company does exactly what you think they do — they make signs. But what you don’t expect is how much personality this brand has.

And seriously, this was one of the most fun projects we’ve gotten to work on.

But the best part wasn’t making an entertaining ad. It was using the superpower of customer research to craft messaging that would resonate with their customers.

Here’s a snapshot of our simple process for conducting customer research and then using it to supercharge content. To start, just answer three questions:

  • Where do your customers spend time?
  • What do they say about other products or services like yours?
  • What have they said about your products or services?

See The Ad We Produced!

Now, here’s the ad. Watch the video, and then we’ll break down how our team created the positioning, script, and visuals.

Now, you may not think it after watching this ad…

…but many hours of research took place before writing a word on the script.

This is key because, as one study found, brands who regularly conduct audience research are 242 percent more likely to report success than those who don’t.

Question 1: Where Do Your Customers Spend Time?

First, simply find where your customers spend time, then spend time there yourself to listen and observe. And the best news is that it’s not only conferences and trade shows. In many cases, you can find quick wins online.

Depending on your audience, you can find them:

  • On forums,
  • In Facebook groups,
  • In LinkedIn groups,
  • Or even on Reddit

How much would you pay to be listening in on your target audience’s conversations around your products and services?

Well, by answering (and acting on) this question, you can do it for free in about 15 minutes.

Action step: find three places your customers spend time talking about topics related to your product or service.

Where are three places your customers spend time talking about topics related to your product or service online? Click To Tweet

Question 2: What Do They Say About Products Or Services Like Yours?

Next, it’s time to use one of the golden keys to every relationship: listen. You’ve already found where they’re at. Now simply read, listen, and document their words.

You can learn so much from:

  • Reading comments on review sites like Amazon,
  • Reading comments on related industry blogs or articles,
  • Or even reading industry surveys, studies, or benchmark data.

You’re looking for insight into at least a couple things here.

First, and most obviously, what are they saying?

  • Do they like your competitor’s products and services?
  • Are they interested in alternatives?
  • What questions do they have that you can answer?
  • What frustrations do they have?
  • What do they absolutely love about products or services like yours?

The angles are endless — and so is the value.

Action step: listen, learn, and then leverage these new insights in your marketing.

What frustrations do your customer's have about your competitor's products or services? Are you leveraging those in your #marketing messaging? Click To Tweet

Question 3: What Have They Said About Your Products Or Services?

Last, we come to my favorite question and tactic: 

What have your customers already said about your products or services?

This is where the Office Sign Company project really took off.

You see, they have more than 300 genuine customer reviews — which is a goldmine of value.

So often these get overlooked. But when you’re approaching any sales or marketing project like video, ads, brochures, sales decks, or even website copy, never forget about this tremendous resource.

You can learn so much about your customers by:

  • Reading customer reviews submitted directly to your company or online,
  • Reviewing Net Promoter Score data,
  • Talking to your front-line sales team about common threads,
  • Asking your customer support team what questions people ask, or frustrations they have, over and over again.
  • Learn how your customers are talking and use the same verbiage they do.

Action step: listen directly to your customers and note the common threads across multiple channels.

When was the last time you compared your online reviews, NPS data, and what your front-line support team talks about? What common threads exist? Click To Tweet

How To Use Your Research

After spending some serious time doing our homework, we were ready to begin writing the script for this project. And when you work through this process, you will be shocked at how efficiently your messaging comes together.

Now, let’s take a look at how to put your research into practice just like we did.

Leverage the Power of Before-After

First, leverage the power of before-after. This simple framework is tremendously persuasive. And you’ve seen this tactic used in ads a million times.

They’re used for selling weight loss programs. They’re used to showcase stunning home makeovers. And they’re even used to show how tough it is to be the President of the United States.

This tactic works so well because it showcases transformation — which is key to great storytelling.

In less than a second, the power of images help viewers make a visceral connection between current reality and the future.

For instance, in the Office Sign Company ad, we begin with a series of before and afters.

The viewer sees a sad conference room sign, associated with a bleak and boring meeting.

Before…

Then, through the power of an amazing sign, the meeting and culture turn into a festive celebration!

Obviously, this is fun hyperbole — but the impact remains.

When you highlight the pain your audience feels before using your product or service, you can amplify the benefit they receive after.

This utilizes the power of an old marketing warhorse called PAS, which stands for Pain, Agitation, Solution.

The idea is you focus your audience on their pain. Then agitate that pain by further rubbing salt into the wound. And finally, you offer the solution to that pain — your product or service!

If you watch carefully, you’ll notice this framework used throughout the ad.

Use Your Audience’s Own Language

Last, resonant messaging doesn’t always have to be the most clever. In fact, sometimes it’s as simple as using verbatim statements in the form of testimonials or phrases happy customers have used.

There are multiple customer testimonials that show up in Office Sign Company’s ad.

For instance, one customer wrote:

I approved the design on Wednesday and had it in my hands by Friday.

This showcased speed, which we learned is a huge concern for their customers.

Another happy customer wrote,

They are easy to deal with, professional and on time. The prices are terrific.

Honestly, no matter how clever we were, we could never write statements as concise and powerful as these.

Bringing It All Together

To bring it all together, start your customer research by answering these three questions:

  • Where do your customers spend time?
  • What do they say about other products or services like yours?
  • What have they said about your products or services?

Now, let’s all take a page from Mr. Huber’s teaching notes and let our audience drive the what, how, and why of our communication.

Then follow the threads to learn your customer’s needs, wants, and pain inside and out. Not only will this enhance your messaging, it will further build the most valuable relationship your brand has: the one with your customers.