Customer-centric marketing: What, why and how?

Customer-centric marketing: What, why and how?Customers like to feel as though they are being seen and heard. It’s a simple concept that holds a lot of weight. As of late, this kind of marketing has been termed ‘customer-centric.’ This highly-literal label identifies marketing strategies where customers are the motive behind every step of content creation.

The goal with customer-centric marketing is to retain more high-value patrons.

From there, businesses should get maximum value out of each of their existing audience members, explained MarketingProfs contributor Jordan Elkind. This technique puts a premium on consistent and meaningful communication. Leaders who are adapting this approach recognize that while no two customers are the same, there is a major opportunity in modern marketing to build loyal and profitable relationships through the right engagement channels.

Customer-centric marketing is all about, well, the customer. SMBs looking to adopt this
strategy should shift their focus away from flashy value props or channel-specific targeting and start looking at what consumers today look for in good brand marketing. The answer is relationships. Consumers want to feel like they are friends with your brand – they want more than just a business transaction. Customer-centric strategies respond to these needs.

Marketers across industries are taking notice. According to Business 2 Community guest blogger Peter Schmitt, 90 percent of marketers see customer-centric strategies like individualization as the future of marketing content.

Why should you care?

Alright, so, customer-centric tactics are becoming the norm. But why should you care? Your marketing efforts have been successful and your customers seem pleased.

Customer-centric strategies deserve your attention for the same reason a new high-speed pizza oven would: It is just SO MUCH more efficient. If that’s not enough to sell you, consider this: Other commonly used strategies just aren’t cutting it anymore.

Traditionally, marketers took one of the more common approaches to marketing: product-centric or channel-centric. Product-centric occurred when marketers pushed the idea of a superior product or service and channel-centric being when a business focused on commanding one or two channels.

However, the state of the modern market has made both of these approaches more and more outdated. For starters, generally speaking, there are millions of businesses in any given industry. Thus, the product approach can frequently fall flat due to the sheer volume of competition.

Channel-centric marketing has done a better job evolving with the times but it is still not as effective as customer-centric equivalents. Clicks, likes, retweets – these are all ways to track success through a channel-centric lens. However, as social media booms, this has become increasingly complicated. Not to mention, these metrics don’t allow for much deeper insight about the purchasing process.

A customer-centric marketing strategy just makes sense. Elkind explained that switching over to this tactic allows businesses to align their marketing efforts with the single-most valuable investment: your customers.

Let’s get started

Sold? We sure hope so. Now comes the fun part: putting your plan into action. For most SMBs, moving to a customer-centric marketing tactic won’t be too difficult – it all stems from doing everything with your customers in mind.

Sit down as a team and figure out where you are seeing the most customer engagement, have an active discussion about how to improve response rates. Take some tips from other businesses that seem to have already made the official move. How do they more consciously engage their audience? What is there to be done to build loyalty? All these answers will add up to help create your ideal customer-centric marketing map.

Of course, no transition comes without hiccups. According to Forbes contributor Daniel Newman, there are three major tips to keep in mind when crafting your new marketing technique:

  • It goes beyond marketing: Marketing is never limited to the marketing department. A customer-centric mindset must be adopted across the whole business. Ask yourself how you can make this customer-focused approach reach beyond your content.
  • Big data is your BEST friend: The more you know, the better off you will be. There are SO many ways to collect deep insight into customer movements, habits and preferences, so use these resources to your advantage. Nothing is more helpful when it comes to centering your efforts on customers than better understanding your customers. Thank god for the era of big data.
  • Always keep the customer in mind: Whenever you approach a new round of marketing content, stop and ask yourself: Was this created with the customer in mind? It sounds like a no-brainer, but taking the time to actually ask the question can ensure that none of your new marketing materials fall flat.

Customers have always been the backbone of a business. Making the move to a marketing strategy that focuses intensely on them is a surefire way to make sure your content hits the right target every time.

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