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How To Do Customer Research (Audience Intelligence W/ Rand Fishkin)

Brand Master Podcast logo

How To Do Customer Research (Audience Intelligence W/ Rand Fishkin)

In this episode of The Brand Master Podcast, I’m speaking with SEO and customer research pioneer, Mr. Rand Fishkin.

Now, for those of you who don’t know him, Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, a hugely popular SEO software. He’s also the founder and current CEO of Sparktoro, a groundbreaking customer research software used by 1400 agencies and teams.

Rand is also the author of the Amazon five-star rated book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide To The Startup World.

Rand shares his high-level tech and marketing insights on

How to fuse modern and traditional forms of customer research.

How to dig deeper beyond demographics and psychographics to find nuggets of gold

How to reverse engineer the problem. Build a more effective and practical buyer persona

Rand also lifts the hood and takes us for a spin on his customer research software Sparktoro, shown us how thousands of brand strategists and agencies use it for their clients.

So if you want to learn how to enhance your customer research processes to find unique insights and opportunities you can use to build brands from a top marketing and software pioneer, then stick around for this article

How To Do Market Research (Audience Intelligence w/ Rand Fishkin)

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Rand Fishkin (From Moz To Sparktoro)

Stephen Houraghan

Can you give us a bit of a background as to that journey from creating Moz and to then creating Sparktoro an audience research tool.

Give us a bit of background as to that journey and why you ended up creating such a tool.


Rand Fishkin

Sure, I started Moz back in 2003, to its been around for a while. Initially, as a consulting firm and then got into software, obviously it was in the SEO software space.

I kept encountering this challenge where SEO couldn’t solve their problems.

Ranking in the Google search engine was not good enough to solve their marketing problems.

A lot of the time that is because the product that they offer didn’t have existing demand through search.

So they had to create that demand and search are terrible at going out and creating demand for you. 

Simultaneously I was working with some really smart agency folks actually, and saw this interesting application of a technical and creative process that I thought was just genius.

These agencies would get lists of their client’s email addresses and customer databases and they would take that and they’d run a giant overlap. 

So of the 20,000 people on your email list, we found 2,500 who had social media addresses that we could match up and we went and crawled all of those.

Of that 16% subscribed to this YouTube channel that’s where we’re gonna do our marketing. 

That’s where we’re gonna run our YouTube ads and that’s who’s channel that we’re gonna try and get you on as a host or presenter or, as a guest of that kind of thing.

You would do this across advertising, you do it across PR, pitches, I thought this was genius, absolutely genius. 

I also thought that it was God damn insane that they’re paying $150,000 and building their own private crawlers and doing all this identity resolution.

I thought why can’t we just do that for the whole internet?

So that’s how we built Sparktoro.

We basically said, okay, that is incredibly smart, being able to identify the public social profiles of your audience, 

“What a gift, that data is invaluable to every kind of marketing”

Let’s go do it for the whole web. 

What we’ve done so far is really just the English language web but it’s already become pretty invaluable for a lot of marketers.

The Importance Of Customer Research & Audience Intelligence

Stephen Houraghan

I love the way you kind of give insights as to the amount of groundwork being done in the background, just to get this kind of customer research.

It has been up until this point for depending on what exactly you’re searching for quite a tedious job, but obviously, it’s worth the effort to go to that, those kinds of lengths to find that information.

Can you give us your insight as to why detailed customer research or audience research is so important for brands?