Want to really learn about your business?

At Armstrong, we meet new people every week – some large corporate businesses, some smaller businesses. We spend most of our time learning about the business from the marketing director, sales director or managing director. Figures, product ranges, what sells, what customers want, what brings customers back, what’s unique about their business. Nobody knows a business as well as the people working in it, right?




Every time we want to really learn about a business, we try to talk to the customers. The end users, the distributors, the brand owners.


As a sales director, you know your customers well, don’t you? So, how often do you see them? Hmmmm. OK, let’s admit it, none of us visit our customers as often as we should. It’s normally an annual visit, or maybe a meeting only when something’s gone wrong, or when they’ve placed a big order and you want to show face…


We can all hold our hands up and say that we rarely visit customers to walk the floors, to keep an ear to what’s new, such as their new advances and investments. And, hand on heart, do all of your customers know everything that you offer as a business?


There’s a simple answer to all of this: audit.


Before embarking on any marketing strategy, branding or repositioning of your business, Armstrong like to talk to your customers.


Awkward, you might think. But you needn’t worry; they don’t know us yet, so we often get a fair, honest view. One that maybe, if you were to have asked the questions, you wouldn’t have got.


Armstrong research through IDIs (In-depth Interviews), either face-to-face or over the telephone. Usually 20-40 minutes in length (depending of course on how much good stuff your client has for us), with a spread of client type e.g. 1 x new customer, 1x long standing customer, 1 x customer who you think you could grow, 1 x customer that you have had difficulty with.


We like to ask: “How would you describe what XXX do?” (This is usually HALF of what you actually do…)


And “Are you aware of all the services/products that XXX offer?” (The answer here is almost always “No, I’m sure are there’s a lot more that they do that we’re not aware of…”)


So, what are we getting at?


That you should always include an auditing phase of research before you start a marketing project. Even if it is just a handful of customers, they will tell an external source like Armstrong some really beneficial info that you are unlikely to get otherwise.


After all, the customer is always right… right?