The Importance of Integrating Customer Feedback into Your Marketing Plan


Customer feedback should be an integral part of your marketing strategy from product or service development to direct placement into your marketing campaigns.

The overall experience of your customers should inspire your business to create better products and provide improved customer service, while supporting a marketing channel for obtaining new customers and maintaining trust and brand loyalty. It should fuel your whole operation.

Customer feedback can assist you in the following ways:

  • Helps measure product satisfaction to incorporate into merchandise development
  • Helps measure customer satisfaction to improve service
  • Helps retain customers by providing direct communication with them
  • Helps identify happy customers who can become advocates for your business

With so many options for shoppers, winning customers and then maintaining them is a growing dilemma, but customer feedback provides insight that you can use for actionable change. Actually listening to your customer's good AND bad experiences with your products and customer service is the only way to fine-tune your business's offerings to exactly what your customers really need. This creates efficiency, saving you both time and money in earning customers and cultivating their loyalty.

Positive feedback provides you customers who advocate for your business and, honestly, there is no better voice for a marketing campaign than a happy customer. However, the negative feedback is the most important commentary to consider, as Bill Gates once noted, "Your unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." By analyzing the negative feedback, you can learn where pain points in your products/services exist and how to fix them.

The way to get good, helpful feedback is to make it clear to your customers exactly where they can provide information about their experience – it helps when the customer knows that you’re open to, and want to hear, their feedback. The process should be easy, such as a simple survey that offers a simple reward for those customers who follow through. There are many ways to conduct feedback surveys: in-person, by phone, by email, through your website or on a mobile app.

Using the information you gather from these surveys, your marketing team can learn why a customer chose your store and your products over others, then you can adapt your marketing to the things that customers mention most often. By emphasizing those factors that your loyal customers enjoy the most about your products and service, you can entice new shoppers as well.

Using Online Reviews to Market Your Business

According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of Americans say they read online product and service reviews, on occasion, before making a purchase, while 40% of consumers say they usually or always read one to three online reviews before spending their hard-earned dollars. Even folks who rarely, or never, buy items online, check online reviews 38% of the time before heading to a brick-and-mortar location to make their purchase. Without the option available, your business risks losing a large segment of shoppers. Therefore, it is essential that online reviews become a sales and marketing tool for every retail organization - the information can help you advertise your product with little cost to you

A great example of how feedback can be incorporated into a marketing and advertising strategy comes from the car manufacturer KIA, which has a dedicated section on its website for sharing ratings and reviews from happy customers. Nissan does the same with their "Leaf" model by producing a Q&A page that is ripe with the responses of customers, who explain in the section the advantages of owning the car.

Another thing to consider is that responding directly to online feedback makes a significant impression; most review software has a feature that can alert businesses when customers add new reviews. Positive, light, helpful, and unique responses to customer comments trigger new sales and keep customers loyal. Responding is particularly useful when dealing with an unsatisfied customer, though. Providing a way to make their bad experience better in an open forum speaks volumes on a business's transparency and customer service.

One important thing to remember though, is that the integrity of those reviews is just as crucial as the reviews themselves. With sites like Fakespot, which analyzes company reviews and feedback for realism, credibility can deteriorate quickly if fabricated "perfect" reviews generated in a less than honest manner are discovered.

Incorporating customer feedback into your marketing plan is not only a sound strategy for tightening up your products or service experience – it also provides advertising and marketing options that cost very little to organize and implement and are very effective in the ever-changing digital world.

About Brick to Click!

With nearly 20 years of experience in retail marketing, Sean Baker, president of IMM, has immeasurable insights and strategies to bring to you. With the Brick to Click blog and newsletter, he is here to provide the tips, tools and resources you’re looking for to take your in-store and online retail traffic to the next level.

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