Customers today are smart, savvy and armed with technology to take control of their buyer's journey. They demand consistent and personalized experiences.
It is our jobs as marketers, communicators, photographers, designers and branders to create that experience for our customers, clients and clients' customers.
In Salesforces' 2017 State of Marketing Report, research suggests that companies today are no longer competing on the basis of pricing, features or benefits, but on the basis of customer experience. And with the perpetual compression of NewsFeeds, continued integration of data and explosion of content, this experience will only become more important.
Customer-centricity hinges on this principle: the more you know about your audience, the better, more magical experience you will create for them.
This approach is more than your customer service. It's more than your product or service. It's more than your marketing tactics. It's the holistic experience your customer has with your brand, at every possible operational, tactical and marketing touchpoint. Whether the experience happens online on your social channels or website, offline with your customer service department or even with your physical product or process, it has to be consistent, but personal.
A customer-centric business will keep the customer not only at the front, but at the core, of every single stage of their buyer’s journey. This approach allows you to get to know your current and prospective customers including who they are (age range, education level, income level, location, gender), what they do (job title, company, industry) and what challenges and pain points they have in such an intimate way that you can create products and services specifically for them.
A real life example…
For example, we recently launched an online magazine called Bloom Co., which was created using this customer-centric approach. We realized that there wasn't an online resource specifically for women entrepreneurs to help them build incredible businesses.
How did we find that out?
We knew where our audience was, so we went there and began listening. We heard that most business advice out there is for men, and since women approach business differently, this advice didn’t really resonate. Also, as entrepreneurs, we know how busy and overwhelming it can get running a business, so we knew that our audience wouldn't likely have the time or energy to scour the Internet, read a myriad of blog posts and articles and figure out the practical application to their individual business.
So we decided to call upon our community to contribute their advice, experience and wisdom to one resource made specifically for women entrepreneurs to inspire, encourage and support each one of them to build businesses that matter.
And this approach has paid off.
Bloom Co. has garnered over 3,000 views and nearly 200 subscribers in just a few short months without a significant marketing effort.
While there is much work to do, including a concerted effort to market the magazine, this product was developed only after we knew exactly who our audience was, what they needed and how they wanted to get it.
Becoming more customer-centric…
Customer-centricity is also more than a marketing approach. It is a mission, a philosophy. Here are a few ways to make your business more customer-centric:
Create a customer-centric culture in your business. All aspects of your business - human resources, marketing, product development, social media, customer service - need to be focused on your customer. Train your employees, contractors, associates and even your suppliers on who your customer is and what they need.
Invest time and money into developing audience profiles, mapping customer journeys, researching audience trends and listening to your audience.
Be picky about the tactics you use to reach your audience. Your customer is not on every social media platform, so you shouldn’t be either.
Ask your current, or even your ideal, customer what they need. Ask them what challenges they have, what pain points they are experiencing, how they want to get information.
Develop products and services that solve your customers need.
Applying even just one of these customer-centric principles will allow you to understand your audience a lot more and empower you to connect with them in a truly magical and authentic way.
How does customer-centricity work in marketing? Head over to our Creative Solutions page to find out exactly how we use this approach in our work.