Imagine you’re on the marketing team for, oh, say, a computer hardware manufacturer, and you’re pitching your vision for selling the company’s latest line of computers. Which campaign do you think will sound more appealing: one mimicking your firm’s efforts during the same time last year, or one that takes recent consumer trends into account, and builds on them?
Vancouver-based customer intelligence software firm Vision Critical wants to make it easier for companies to use the latter approach when creating their business plans, by releasing Stories, a new feature for its signature Sparq platform this week.
“Over time we’ve developed deeper and deeper insights into our communities, and the individuals within those communities, so we’re building up memories over time,” Divesh Sisodraker, Vision Critical’s executive vice-president of product, explains to ITBusiness.ca.
“Being able to go into a community and see the kinds of information the community has offered in the past… to be able to pull all of those elements together into a story that can be shared with business stakeholders so they can see how a decision was arrived at is a very compelling value proposition, one that our clients have been requesting for a long time,” he says.
Like Vision Critical’s other services, the Stories feature is driven by the company’s approach to what it calls “insight communities”: research conducted on behalf of brands such as Dewalt and Adobe through discussions, surveys, and other activities that it converts into searchable information – and, with Stories, a narrative.
By integrating historical data with newly gathered customer feedback, it becomes easier for companies to identify new research or marketing opportunities, Sisodraker says, which then leads to clearer decisions.
“With Stories, I can go back and respectfully ask my customers a question that I really, really need an answer to instead of repeatedly asking them redundant questions that it turns out I’ve covered before,” he says. “There have always been a lot of insights being created with our communities. This is a great way to take them and make them more accessible for the rest of the company.”
Case studies involving firms such as Maple Leaf Foods and the University of British Columbia have repeatedly proven that building communities of customers who can be contacted on an ongoing basis results in better insights than traditional research methods, Sisodraker says. And as the Sparq platform allows companies to organize and retain any information collected, those insights become more substantive over time.
Stories is available now for both current and new subscribers to Vision Critical’s Sparq customer intelligence platform.