You walk into a coffee shop and a smiling barista greets you by name. She remembers your usual order and asks you how your family is doing. You pay for your coffee and you tell her you'll see her tomorrow morning.
There is something about these personal touches that inspires a sense of loyalty in us. It feels good to be recognised and remembered.
According to John Tschohl, Founder and President of Service Quality Institute, your customers are more likely to form an attachment to your business if you do something as simple as remember their name. Yet less than 5 per cent of companies actually use their customer's names during business interactions.
A friendly and personalised greeting goes a long way with customers.
This kind of personalised customer interaction has a lot of value for businesses. It helps improve retention rates, it builds customer loyalty and it attracts customers to your brand.
In marketing these techniques have come to be known as 'customer-centric marketing.'
What is customer-centric marketing?
This is essentially a strategy for content creation that is driven completely by consumers. It's more than simple personalisation. It's listening to your customers and applying their preferences, needs and feedback into your content.
This kind of marketing puts a complete focus on continued and valuable communication with customers. A study by Teradata found that 90 percent of marketers believe that customer-centric strategies are the future of marketing.
"It is clear from these survey results that the future of marketing is all about meeting the expectations of the individual consumer. Today, more than anything else, marketers want access to trustworthy, individualised insights based on credible data, so the expectations of every customer can be known, respected and met on a personal level," explains President of Teradata Darryl McDonald.
Why does it matter?
Clearly marketing is heading in a customer-centric direction, but why should you be hopping on the bandwagon? You have good content, your customers are responsive and your sales are steady. It's like upgrading from a 2016 model to a 2017 model – marketing has evolved and improved so why wouldn't you buy into the most effective version?
According to MarketingProfs contributor Jordan Elkind, before customer-centric techniques there were two main approaches to marketing: product-centric and channel-centric. Product-centric, as the name suggests, centers around promoting a superior product or service offering. Channel-centric is about selecting one or two channels for marketing and commanding them.
While both approaches have their merits, customer-centric strategies encompass the strengths of each option while putting the majority of your marketing focus on the most important thing: your audience.
"Ultimately, customer-centricity is both an opportunity and an imperative for retailers wanting to thrive in the 21st-century marketplace," explains Elkind.
"By orienting their business around customers rather than products or channels, retailers can ensure that their marketing strategy is aligned around their single most valuable long-term investment."
How do you do it?
Okay, so, we've argued our case and we have you on board for customer-centric marketing. That leaves one question: How do you get started? Fortunately, the switch to this kind of strategy isn't all that monumental. You just need to make all your decisions with your customers in mind. Here are some tips for making sure you deliver on this customer focused approach.
Take a look at your current efforts: What content or strategies are showing the most active customer engagement? How can you expand on these efforts to interact with your customers more intimately? Asking these kinds of questions will help dictate the building blocks for your new strategy.
Organise your data: In a separate article for Marketing Land, Elkind explains that the first step to achieving a customer-centric strategy is taking your data and organising it in a way that allows you to unlock information about individual customers. This data will help you unlock important insights to what customers want and what they don't.
Organising your data to focus on customer interactions over sales figures helps move your marketing strategy in the right direction.
Create the right KPIs: In order to determine if you are successful or not you need to have key performance indicators (KPIs) in place. According to Elkind, when it comes to customer-centric marketing, there are two main questions used to gauge success (and create measurements based off of):
How valuable are our newly acquired customers?
Are we getting the most out of every customer relationship?
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