Make Marketing Suck Less

Voice of Customer: The Most Overlooked Piece of the Marketing Message


The foundation for all your messaging is something that is so often overlooked and skipped by many solo business owners.

This is an essential piece of messaging for ensuring that you're able to capture the attention of the people you want to serve. It helps you grow your audience.

This piece of messaging also makes sure that what you're saying resonates, that it makes sense and that it is persuasive to the people you most want to reach.

So what is this often overlooked and skipped-over piece of messaging?

Voice of customer research.

Let's dive in and explore what is and why it’s so important for your business.

(Click play or read the transcript below.)

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The missing piece business owners leave out of their messaging
  • Why client avatars aren’t the way to go and what to do instead
  • Learn exactly what the VOC is and what it will capture
  • How incredibly beneficial AI is in complimenting your VOC data
  • The best way to create marketing content 

Learn more about Michelle Mazur:

Resources mentioned:

Listen on your favorite podcast player or read the Transcript below:

Michelle Mazur [00:00:00]: The foundation for all your messaging is something that is so often overlooked and skipped by many solo business owners. This is an essential piece of messaging for ensuring that you're able to capture the attention of the people you want to serve. It helps you grow your audience.

This piece of messaging also makes sure that what you're saying resonates, that it makes sense, and that it is persuasive to the people you most want to reach.

So what is this often overlooked and skipped-over piece of messaging, and why is it so important for your business?

That's exactly what we're talking about today on the podcast.

So let's dive in.

Michelle Mazur [00:01:02]: Welcome to Make Marketing Suck Less. The podcast that knows marketing is freaking hard, especially when you're a solo business owner trying to juggle it all. I'm your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur, author of the 3 Word Rebellion and founder of the Expert Up Club. Forget the latest marketing fads and tactics promising social media stardom. I'm here with research-backed strategies to help you clarify your message and get twice as effective with your marketing. And while I can't promise you'll ever love marketing, I'm here to make you hate it a tiny bit less.

Michelle Mazur [00:01:42]: I'm excited today because we are continuing our deep dive into messaging. Last podcast[a], I introduced the idea of the minimum viable marketing message and said that we're really going to make this the focus of the next several podcasts. Because it's been a while since I've talked about messaging on the pod, which is really weird since I am primarily a messaging strategist. But this is such a crucial foundational piece that you need to have in place in order to make your lead generation efforts pay off.

The piece of messaging we're going to talk about today is the foundation of it all. If you want your message to resonate, you need to start here because, unfortunately, the way that we've been taught to do marketing in online business usually misses this piece.

The advice we get about how to create a marketing message tends to be misinformed at best or negligent at its worst. And one of the reasons your marketing message might not be working is because you were told to do something called an ideal client avatar.

Michelle Mazur [00:03:11]: Now how many of those have you created since you started your business? If you're like me, probably seventeen of them. I feel like every program out there starts you with this ideal client avatar. Now what they get right is, yeah, you should be starting your offer, your messaging, your marketing with the person you wanna reach in mind. However, the ideal client avatar is not the way to go. So a typical ideal client guitar sounds something like this.

Meet Shelley.

Shelley is 47 years old, and she is the mom to 3 cats. She's currently an empty nester, and her 2 kids are at college. Shelley loves eighties music, and she's really into prestige TV shows like Succession that she loves to watch with her husband. And she avidly listens to podcasts and read books, and that's Shelley.

And here's the deal with Shelley. She has two problems. Number 1, she is a figment of your imagination. And you know what kind of people do not buy from businesses? People who do not exist, people who are figments of your imagination.

The other problem with Shelley as your ideal client avatar, is there's nothing useful in there that you can market to. Maybe that she listens to podcasts. Right? Because maybe you can get on a podcast that Shelley listens to. But other than that, we don't know jack about Shelley or why she would even be considering hiring you. Right? So ideal client avatars are a pretty useless way to create your message. So that's is what doesn't work. What does work?

Michelle Mazur [00:05:15]: It's something called voice of customer research. And, yeah, I know. I said research. Please do not be scared of this. Do not stop listening. I swear that this can be a lighter lift than you think, because I know doing voice of customer research or I like call it VOC, it sounds like a lot of hard work, especially if you're not a researcher, because I am well aware of the fact that research runs in my veins. I did it when I was professor. I did it for Fortune 500 companies. Like, research is something I'm really good at, and so I understand for you, it could be this really hard thing, but it doesn't have to be, and it can actually be easy, and enjoyable. So what is the purpose of voice of customer research? What it does is capture your client's experience.

Michelle Mazur [00:06:19]: You want to get their language to describe their world, to describe what they're struggling with, to describe their experience, their misconceptions, what have they tried before. So, clearly, we're basing this on real people. Most of the time, it's real people you have worked with or who are part of your email community, and we're getting their experience in capturing their language for how they talk about their struggles and issues.

You want to be able to capture as much of their language as possible and then use that as the foundation of your messaging because this is the starting point. When people don't know you at all, so they are unaware of you, what they tend to think about is themselves. Right?

They're thinking about their problems, their experience. They don't care about you yet. So your job is to become an expert in who your client is, before they ever work with you, if you want to reach them. So you have to access what they're thinking, doing, seeing, feeling, and how they're talking about it. And then you can use their words in your marketing end copy, and more about that in a moment.

Michelle Mazur [00:07:59]: Now there's multiple ways of doing voice of customer research. There are client interviews. You can do survey research. You can mine comments on a blog post. You can look at Amazon reviews. Your intake forms are gold for voice of customer research. So there are many different ways to do this type of research, and how you wanna approach it is going to be up to you to decide. And I'm not able to go into all the nuance and the how to's of how to do customer research on this podcast and how to apply it in your marketing, in your copy.

But if you're interested, the best place to do that is in the Expert Up Club. I go deep into how to collect voice of customer research. I give you the emails to send to people. I give you the questions to ask, and then I take you through a process of how to analyze the language, the data that you're capturing using AI because, oh my goodness, AI is really great at pulling out themes, helping you find quotes that support those themes so it makes it faster for you to be able to use it in your marketing and your copy. So if you are interested in getting this, in nailing this foundational piece of all your messaging. Go to ExpertUp.Club, apply to become a member, and then you and I can have a conversation about what the club is all about and if it's a good fit for you. So that's ExpertUp.Club go and apply.

Michelle Mazur [00:09:53]: So we've talked about what doesn't work. We've talked about voice of customer and what it is and how you collect that data that type different type ways you can collect the data. Now you might be asking yourself like, okay, Michelle. Why does this really matter for my business, can I just skip this? Alright. There are 3 big reasons this matters for your business. The first one is a completely selfish business reason. It's going to make writing copy and creating the content for your marketing easier and faster. The best way in the world to create marketing content or marketing assets or write copy for landing pages is to use the words of your clients.

You want people to feel seen and heard, then use their words on your website. Right? So here's an example of how I'm doing that in my own business right now. In February, I am hosting a virtual event called Make Marketing Suck Less[b], just like this podcast, where I am gathering 10 experts to talk about their number one marketing method that works to book business or grow their audience beyond likes and shares. And then that way, people can decide what marketing strategies could work for their business. For this event, I am doing so much writing, you all. Like, there's so much that needs to be written. One of the things that have made it easier is having voice of customer research. So I had to write a landing page because, obviously, you need people to sign up to get in on the event.

So a few months ago, I had asked my email community, Hey, what makes marketing suck for you? They gave me some really great answers. So when I sat down to write this landing page, the first thing I did was go into my voice of customer, and I was able to pull out direct quotes of what people said, zsu it up a little bit, sometimes not at all, and then use it as the copy on the landing page. It saved me hours of time writing the, like, why does this need to exist, and why should you care section of the landing page. So it's going to save you a lot of time, and make your marketing more effective in the long run. So that's reason number 1.

Michelle Mazur [00:12:28]: Reason number 2, people need to see themselves in your work, and it needs to be specific. As experts, we love talking about our solution, the thing we do, our approach, how we do it, some of the nuance.

And if your marketing is being overlooked and passed over by the people who should be interested in hiring you, even though your work is phenomenal and you get clients great results, the big reason for that, they don't understand what's in it for them. Right? It's not clear. Like, Oh, that sounds really interesting, but how does that apply to me? So they don't understand why it's important to them. Because in order to get people ready to work with you, to nurture them, you have to show why what you're saying is relevant. You have to show them why it's for them. Otherwise, they're not gonna care. Like I said, you gotta care about them first before they can care about you. So that's another reason.

What I also like about this it allows you to be hyper-specific about the situation they're facing, what their day to day life looks like because I see a lot of copy. I'm just gonna pick on overwhelm. Like, people say, like, you feel overwhelmed, but overwhelmed can mean a lot of different things. Overwhelmed to me looks like, oh, I wake up a half an hour before my alarm goes off, and I'm running through my to do list thinking about all the things I have get done in the day, and, oh my gosh, and that feeling of dread just comes over me. That's a really specific experience of overwhelm.

But If I was a mom of 2 young kids, overwhelm would look a lot different. Like, before I can even get my eyes open. I hear, mommy, we're hungry. I have to go to the bathroom. I need this, and my eyes pop open and, immediately, I feel like the world is closing in on me, that my life is being lived for someone else. Right? Like, that's a really different experience of overwhelm, and you need to be that specific. Right? Because my overwhelm looks different than a mom with 2 young children's overwhelm, so creating that experience.

Michelle Mazur [00:15:10]: And the final reason to do voice of customer research. I will say there is a lot of research out there that talks about how voice of customer helps you retain your clients, helps with loyalty, helps you increase your revenue. But I think for us, solo business owners, one of the more important reasons is voice of customer lets you see how your market is evolving. Because your clients are human beings and they change.

And how they're thinking about the problem you solve, the work you do today could be very different 3 years from now. So for instance, when I think back on my business, in 2018, when I was talking about messaging, people were very aspirational in their goals. They were like, oh, I want a TED Talk. I wanna land a book deal. I want Oprah to notice me. Like, those were the things they were thinking about. And then as we were moving into 2020 with the pandemic, people became less aspirational and more practical. They were talking about things like, I need to get my messaging dialed in because I want to start is group program. I don't have the audience to support it. That is a very different way of talking about things.

And now in 2024, the message is still evolving. It's still very practical, but now people are thinking about how their messaging and marketing could get them off of social media. Like, how can they make the best argument in order to reach people and not have to create content all the time. So your audience, your clients evolve, and so your messaging needs to change in order to resonate with them. If you're collecting voice of customer, you're going to notice these market changes, and you'll be able to react accordingly.

Michelle Mazur [00:17:17]: The bottom line is your customers are always talking. Your job is to listen to what they're saying, to capture their words, to see the themes, then this becomes the foundation of all of your messaging, and then you can use it in your copy and your marketing, and you're going to find that those 2 things become easier and more effective when you deeply understand and become an expert in who your client is before they ever worked with you.

Michelle Mazur [00:17:57]: If the Make Marketing Suck Less pod is making your marketing more effective so that your clients can find and hire you, please share the show with a friend. The easiest way to do that is through pod link. You can find the show at, and that page will allow anyone you share the show with to subscribe and start listening in their favorite podcast player.


The Make Marketing Suck Less podcast is a production of Communication Rebel. Our production coordinator is Jessica Gulley-Ward. The podcast is edited by Steven Mills, our executive producer is me, Dr. Michelle Mazur.

The make marketing suck less podcast is recorded on the unseated traditional lands of the coast salish peoples, specifically the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish people, original stewards of the land, past, and present.

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