Businesses practices have changed dramatically, and so has consumer behavior. Not only do the consumers have more awareness about their needs, but they have “countless” options to choose from. Furthermore, consumers continuously interact with brands almost throughout the day.
So, what should or what can a business do to stay in the game? Obviously, when a consumer has so many options, why should he/she choose your products or services? Or, as a brand, what should you do to stay “close” to your customers or potential customers? Well, one very effective way to do things nicely is using a Customer-Centric Marketing strategy.
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What is Customer-Centric Marketing?
A customer-centric marketing strategy is a marketing approach that primarily focuses on customer’s needs and interests in every single aspect, such as advertising, promoting, and selling any product or service. A company following this strategy tries to offer maximum value to the customer at every point of interaction.
The process starts with understanding your customer’s unique needs and what you are providing. Of course, every business intends to grow, but with a customer-centric marketing approach, a brand focuses on growing by offering a valuable product or service to the customers that can improve their lives.
Benefits of Customer-Centric Marketing
Better Customer Experience
Customer experience has become one of the most important aspects for customers. That is why customers nowadays want a delightful experience at every point of contact. Now, customer-centric marketing considers every decision important from the customers’ viewpoint. This means that every company employee will automatically consider every single detail that can have any impact on the customers/clients. Ultimately, a better customer experience will be the topmost priority of the brand.
Higher Customer Satisfaction
Unlike the product-centric approach, where businesses focus on cutting costs without considering the customer’s needs, the customer-centric marketing approach is all about the customer. The process starts with asking customers about their needs and how to address them. This approach ultimately helps the company to develop an accurate product or service right according to customers’ needs, yielding higher customer satisfaction.
Customer retention is much easier than customer acquisition. It is simple logic that when you give your customers what they want and offer them maximum assistance at every level, they will not switch to other options. That is why the customer-centric approach is highly effective when it comes to customer retention because it helps the brands to satisfy their customers at all levels.
Customer loyalty is a dream of every single brand, but it isn’t easy to get loyal customers. Loyal customers are the kind of customers that keep a business relationship with you even if your competitors are giving you a tough time. But is it easy to get loyal customers? The answer is NO; you don’t get loyal customers; you develop loyal customers by “pleasing” them at all fronts. Besides, how can we forget that loyal customers are your brand ambassadors? They offer you “free marketing” services (word of mouth) and bring more customers.
How to Create a Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy
The customer-centric marketing approach is not a “friendly neighborhood” like thing where you just start doing what you want. It requires ample research and other “must-dos.”
Here are some important steps that can help you develop an effective customer-centric approach.
Start with Top-Down Management
They say, “charity begins at home”; any cultural or significant change in an organization is impossible without complete support from the top management. Top management always plays an important role whenever a company tries something new. If the top management is supportive and appreciative, employees will feel more confident and determined.
Similarly, when the top management introduces the culture and demonstrates it, employees feel more confident in reflecting that culture during their interaction with customers. That is why getting the senior management onboard is necessary.
Know Your Customers
How can you build a brick wall without bricks? Similarly, it is simply impossible to develop a customer-centric strategy without knowing your customer. A brand can interact with its customers in different ways, such as:
- One-on-one interviews with current or former customers.
- Get mass feedback from customers by asking them questions related to different surveys.
- Use Google alerts and social media tools to know about people’s opinions about your brand.
- Collaborate with your customer support team and read customer emails and respond to them.
- Listen to the calls or call recordings of your sales team.
Provide Personalized Experience
Brands have realized that customers now prefer personalized experiences. They want to see things of their interest. That is the reason why a lot of companies offer their customers a personalized experience through personalized messaging such as targeted ads, custom-made emails, and recommendations according to their interests or past activities. You can get help from your CRM department because they are the ones who directly interact with your customers.
Publish Content That Your Customers Want
Your website, brochures, blog, and other promotional content are something that your customers interact with. When a brand follows a customer-centric approach, it develops the content in such a way that it turns out to be helpful for the customers even if that content doesn’t promote or sell the product directly.
While building content for your customers, here are 4 important questions you need to answer:
- Who are these customers you are targeting?
- What are their personas?
- Are there any other agonizing issues in their lives?
- How can your product or service solve the problem(s)?
Use Industry Influencers
Content creation is no doubt a very important part of customer-centric approaches. However, if you want to take one step further, you have to collaborate with industry-related influencers.
Getting help from influencers can be very helpful in different ways;
- Influencers can promote or advertise your content without making it look obvious. These people have the skills to do it naturally because this is what they do on a regular basis.
- A skillful influencer will represent your brand with engaging and value-added content. This way, people start associating your brand with that influencer as well that high-quality content, thought-provoking messages, and interesting stories.
However, it is also important that you choose the right person because things can go wrong very quickly. It is better to hire someone who enjoys respect in a specific community or industry.
Ask for Feedback
Hitting the right button would be an ideal situation in implementing customer-centric marketing approaches. Practically, there will be some shortcomings, and you need to keep listening, adapting, and responding to what your customer says.
A business following a customer-centric approach needs to build a closed-looped feedback system. That said, you need to collect, process, act on, and keep responding to the feedback from your customers.
Examples of Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy
McDonald’s – All-Day-Breakfast
McDonald’s, a global giant in the fast-food industry, has always been creative with its uniqueness in customer-centric experience. The company has always succeeded in keeping its customers “on their toes.”
For instance, “Happy Meal” is a perfect example of offering customers an experience beyond food. The symbolic clown Ronald McDonald sitting on an empty bench attracted a lot of customers to sit and take pictures with. Surely, it was a masterful move from the industry juggernaut.
However, with the rise of many other big names, Mcdonald’s was due to do something exceptional again. The company collected data from different sources to identify the pain points of its customers. McDonald’s concluded that customers wanted an all-day breakfast menu. That said, they wanted their favorite breakfast items available for lunch and dinner as well.
The company introduced an all-day breakfast menu with yummy additions in it and saw a massive rise in their fourth-quarter revenue in 2016, exceeding all the financial predictions.
Zappos- Customer Obsession
Zappos is Amazon-owned clothing and shoe retailer that follows a unique approach when it comes to customer service. The company boasts the idea of an Elite Customer Service team that offers maximum flexibility to the employees. There are no formal roles or duties for the team employees, and they work according to their “passion.” This keeps the team highly focused on providing maximum customer satisfaction.
Moreover, Zappos website homepage shows a telephone number at the topmost bar to make sure that customers don’t have to search hard. Also, there is a prominent “customer service” menu, specifically dedicated to customer information.
Workday- Innovative and Risk Takers
Secured the 10th spot in the list of great places to work in the world in 2019, Workday is a service provider that offers solutions for HR, finance, spend planning, and planning.
The company achieved this feat due to its upskilling programs, collaborative culture, and robust training. However, the question is, how is this a customer-centric approach?
The organizational culture in Workday allows its employees to be more innovative and take necessary risks to offer maximum satisfaction to the customers.
This customer-centric strategy has helped Workday to achieve an unbelievable 98 percent customer satisfaction score.