So, last week I touched on the need to create habits in order to prepare for what technology is bringing us. As I was writing that, Apple was releasing the iPhone 4s, or more specifically, Siri. If anything exemplifies the need to start creating new habits, it is Siri.
Up to this point, when we talked about listening to consumers, it really meant reading their search queries, or monitoring social media or analyzing their purchase data. In short “listening” was just a euphemism for data analysis.
Now, marketers are going to have to do what people, generally, don’t do well. Really Listen.
For the past ten years, focus groups have taken a hit… I was one of the detractors. And in their prior form, they were not too useful to me (brand marketers will likely differ here). Going forward, focus groups may see a resurgence, but not in their previous form. Perhaps they’ll be renamed “taking groups” or “listening groups”, because you won’t be as concerned about their opinions as much as their terminology, how they phrase their points, and talk about the product; not just their feelings about it, but the true semantics of how they express those thoughts and feelings.
Field research typically means going out and observing what people do, or asking pointed questions. This is helpful, but in the new era, research is going to have to capture undirected conversations. How are people really talking about and referring to products and services?
Can we get so far as to pick up on accents and create experiences that cater to the user based on that? We all type the same word the same way (if we can spell it). But add accents, and we may have a whole new flavor of experience to deliver. What other audio queues might we be able to pick up?
Combine location data with audio queues and think about the potential. Price checking in a competitors store?
Or more seriously, road side assistance calls, with rushing traffic or crying kids in the background: If your are one of the companies in this service, how might you direct or handle these calls differently?
How do people talk when the interact with your call centers, customer service reps, or sale people? It is time to listen… really listen. Siri is the first in what is going to be a surge of semantics-based technology. Begin listening now to know how to leverage this technology as it rolls out later.
If you are not familiar with the way Siri works, take a look: