Before there was an internet, brand planners had to leave their offices to find insights. Before Google and the social web, you couldn’t watch buyers engaging sellers from your desk. Even so, there were time-saving hacks. One of mine was trade journals. Business-to-business magazines that covered the beat. Magazines for the business side of the industry you were studying: Beverage Industry, Communications Week, Architectural Digest. Back then you could read a few issues, speak to some editors, track down big customers, find some SMEs (subject matter experts), gather market data and jump- start your learning and discovery. The trades aren’t so viable today.
Windshield time was another hack for planners. (Still is.) Sitting in a car with a sales person, tagging along on sales calls. The crucible for learning is where buyer meets seller. Interestingly, windshield time today can take place behind a desk. If your client uses “Live Chat” on the website, brand planners can monitor Care-abouts and Good-Ats with ease.
Agile business and efficiency are important values in American businesses consultants will tell you. Anything that makes business faster and cheaper is worth considering. But I’m still a fan of watching buyers meet sellers live. Smell the fear, taste the joy, experiencing the experience.
Get your bones and all of your senses out of the office.