Marketing today offers no shortage of strategies and approaches towards achieving business growth. Over the years, we at Trigger have authored numerous articles around various aspects within the advertising, marketing, communication and sales disciplines. We have always stated that the role of marketing is to bridge the gap and reduce the friction between what companies have to sell and what customers want to buy. But how does this translate when companies formulate a customer-first approach that is recession-proof? How do businesses future-proof themselves during times of socio-economic uncertainty, existential crises, labor shortages, layoffs, supply chain issues, and rising costs of doing business? How do businesses create and build a customer centric and sustainable marketing plan?
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Ways to Unlock Irresistible Customer Value With Your Brands Archetype
What is Customer Centric Marketing?
Customer Centric Marketing is an approach designed around the customer (i.e. their wants, needs, desires, interests, etc). Its purpose is to build long-term trust and loyalty towards a brand. It requires marketers to:
See the world through the eyes of their customer and from a customer’s point of view
(Sometimes, businesses can be blinded by their own knowledge of their solutions, typical behaviours of their industry and extensive experiences from their past that create biases and assumptions.)
Not agitate customers
(Businesses sometimes go overboard with the marketing automation for example - robocalls, tele-callers, etc. Yes, businesses need new customer to survive but at what cost? Would automated calling services to random people actually convert into a sale? Arguably not.)
Understand your ideal customer via Data driven marketing, aided and unaided brand recall, Customer Sentiments, Net Promoter Score.
Create meaningful and memorable Customer Value Journeys.
Related Reading: How to drive outcomes not outputs, The Art of Selling, Net Promoter Score, Getting from a NO to YES with Prospects, Building Customer Trust, Promises Kept Makes Customers for Life, New Business Prospecting
Why customer centric marketing is the way of the future.
Creating a customer centric strategy requires that marketers acknowledge that customers do not necessarily go through the marketing funnel from a top-down approach but rather experience the brand like connecting stars in the sky. Customers today can not only interact with brands starting at any point (e.g. Search, PPC, Website, Social Channel, TVC, Radio, etc.) and equally ending the interaction as abruptly. If this is the case, then marketing needs to offer customers tangible value at every interaction basis customer needs and interests at that point of time. Every star in the sky has its very own and complete customer value experience and when put together with other stars - paints a bigger picture. When customers experience positive brand interactions that also create value, brands earn customer trust. The more customers trust a brand, the greater the chance brands have in converting them into paying customers and turning them into advocates for the brand.
How to create a Customer Centric strategy for your business?
A truth is that businesses have survived and even thrived during disruptive times. As a business, irrespective of its life-stage, your company probably already implements marketing funnels in order to generate sales. Where customer centricity marketing redefines and outshines traditional marketing funnels is that its focus and approach is not on what’s best for the company - but on what’s best for your customer. Market leaders have accomplished this by implementing customer centric strategies by re-imagining ‘value’.
Economic Value - Helping save money for customers
Functional Value - Increasing reliability and usefulness of the solutions
Experiential Value - Ensuring helpful interactions and experiences
Symbolic Value - Creating meaningful customer relationships in relation to others
Customer Centricity cannot be created in isolation or on automatic pilot especially during times of volatility or uncertainty using complexity and ambiguity. Successful customer centric marketing requires understanding of WHY your customers need what your company provides. How does your company’s solutions improve certain aspects in the customer’s life? Customer centricity becomes not just a growth catalyst but a powerful competitive differentiator for your business and brand. It requires that business and marketing act with purpose and therefore need these…
Start at the Top; with Leadership
Business sometimes can be unpredictable and even volatile. Being at the helm of an organisation or even in leadership roles requires that leaders be in a state of mind that remains calm even in stressful situations and times. Leaders who empathize with their customers, listen to their teams and remain present, reinforce the belief of customer centricity and guide the behaviours of their teams towards delivering customer centricity. Leadership that does not buy into customer centricity will never let the idea percolate downstream.
Know your Customer
Customer wants, needs, desires, preferences and biases change; some more rapidly and others more radically. Customer support teams and sales teams usually hold a wealth of knowledge about what customers want, what they are asking for, their biases, risk appetites, etc. Asking for their inputs, going for sales meeting, conducting customer interviews and surveys, reading and responding to emails, leveraging technology, data and analytics are just a few ways businesses and marketers can better understand their customer.
Build and reinforce infrastructure around the customer
Customer Centricity requires business to invest in resources that enable hyper-personalized experience and at scale. The more information and greater the granularity of that information, the better your customer centric approach and marketing strategy will be. Design or build tools that will accomplish customer goals so that business success can flow from that Vs. building tools to accomplish a business goal.
Create content that customers want and need to read
Not all communication content is required to sell. Understand where the customer is in his mind, what is his problem, what is his immediate need, etc. first. Then create communication content that is most appropriate to that need state, thereby creating value for the customer and the desire to seek additional information or move forward with that sale.
Collect feedback and iterate
Customer centricity marketing is not about quickening the sale. It is about continuing to listen, adapt, respond to ever changing customer feedback and cues. It is about understanding the customer’s point of view, respecting the current level of customer interest, fixing the problem, handling the complaint, and remembering the customer preference.
How to succeed with Customer Centric Marketing?
The success of any customer centric marketing approach consists of 3 tenets:
To ensure customer success requires businesses to let go of the controls and put the power in the hands of their customers. Enabling them to achieve and realize their true potential or become their best selves; even if they don’t buy your solution.
To achieve customer advocacy requires that business go out of their comfort zones and truly work hard to discover what customers want from their relationship. It sometimes means that businesses fight internally and externally for their customers; sharing a customer’s success story or providing useful information and resources in order for customers to get better at what they do or how they live their lives. In doing so, customers reciprocate and advocate for your business.
Customer centric marketing is not a seasonal activity. It is not a quick-fix solution to get new customers through the front door. Customer centric marketing is about creating long-term value, building long-term relationships and building integrity for the business.
Customer Centricity requires that business assume nothing and collect data to understand their customers. It requires that business invest in long-term metrics to understand and fine-tune how prospects and customers experience your brand. It requires that every medium, tactic and every point within the marketing & sales funnel offer real value to the customer. Customer Centricity requires businesses to create advocates/ promoters, not just paying customers. Becoming customer centric as a business can sometime feel like going back ten paces. What was filling up initial leads in the marketing and sales funnel has now become meeting the needs of customer, but the payoffs are higher and much more sustainable. With each passing day, it is becoming more difficult to catch and maintain the attention of customers. Being successful comes down to your customers. Nothing else matters if your audience is not connected with your brand. A strategy is good and only lasts as longs as your customer’s interests and behaviors do. By offering customers a seamless omni-channel, mobile-first value experience, businesses can generate sales, build trust and earn loyalty, no matter where in the journey a customer may be.
Trigger Worldwide is a Brand Marketing Agency, built specifically for businesses to create Sustainable Growth. Our proprietary tools and process methodologies harness Technology, Creativity & Innovation, leverage Economic Drivers and Consumer Beliefs to help businesses overcome marketing inefficiencies and achieve their Growth Agendas.
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~ Trigger Worldwide