Being customer-centric doesn’t at all mean that you’ll be losing business at the expense of making your customers happy.
Nowadays, most companies tell us that they are fully aware of treating customers with the utmost care and always put their customers first.
However, too often, this is not the case. And businesses that do not put enough emphasis on customers aren’t too likely to survive, at least judging by the latest research in this field.
According to a study, customer experience may become an even more important brand differentiator than price and product. In other words, if you’re not truly customer-centric, having a great product and good prices might not be enough.
And if you take into account that 86 per cent of consumers are ready to pay more for better customer experience, it’s no wonder that customer-centric businesses are as much as 60 per cent more profitable.
This further means that being devoted to your customers means great things for your sales as well.
In a way, choosing between being sales-oriented or customer-oriented is not even a dilemma, since taking good care of your buyers will also have a positive impact on your profits in the long run.
The way digital marketing works fits very well into the idea of customer-centricity. It’s never been easier to know exactly what your customers or prospects want, and it’s never been easier to deliver them the right ad, offer or recommendation.
In addition, the entire retail world is shifting towards online shopping, giving you another reason to focus on digital marketing. In 2020, the number of digital buyers will surpass 2 billion, compared to 1.34 billion five years ago.
So what can you do? How do you become (or stay) customer-centric? And why would you do that?
It’s probably best to go through a few of the most common digital strategies that essentially focus on the customer and explain which gains you will have if you implement them properly.
Being customer-centric means, above all, providing true value for your customers. It means you should go over and above small salesy tricks that will bring you short-term profit and do something solely for your customers’ sake, without obvious financial interest.
Quality content-marketing does exactly that. Of course, you have to make sure that the content you post is not purely promotional.
Most of the content should address your customers and prospects, be useful to them and answer their questions. Obviously, you shouldn’t publish just any type of content but instead focus on topics that are related to your industry, your business or your product.
This way, you’re ensuring that you attract the right type of audience. There’s a good chance that the particular audience that finds these stories and topics interesting will also find your product interesting. In this case, being helpful to your audience also means increasing your conversions and sales and helping yourself.
There are many convenient channels you can use to distribute this content, especially given the rise of social media. Determine your target group and employ the channels that they tend to use.
Moreover, a website is still a must for every serious business. And if you decide to start a company blog have in mind that a slow, confusing and visually unpleasant site will surely undo all the positive effects of good content.
Websites that take more than 3 seconds to load risk losing up to 40 per cent of their visitors right away. Your site is the heart of all your online activities, and if you consider your company to be customer-centric, its performance and looks have to be top-notch, especially if you use it for content marketing activities.
Power of influencers
In essence, influencer marketing may not be the newest thing in the world of advertising. For decades, brands have used the popularity of certain actors, sports players, models or artists to convince the general public to buy their product.
However, the emergence of social networks has changed the game dramatically. Today, influencer marketing is an incredibly diverse form of advertising that opens plenty of opportunities for brands.
So why should leveraging influencers be considered a customer-centric strategy? The reasons go over and above the fact that your customers simply like this influencer person. More importantly, they trust them and like their content.
In a way, influencer marketing is not too different from traditional content marketing, but here you use someone else’s platform. In the audience’s eyes, your brand is simply an integral part of the influencer’s content that they would watch or read anyway. It could even be said that you’re not just connected to a show or blog they like, you’re also helping it survive.
Naturally, all this works only if you carefully choose who you work with. The influencers should also be able to make the story about your product smoothly fit into their content. It mustn’t stick out or seem to salesy.
Furthermore, this person should be someone with expertise and credibility in your branch. Finally, there should be an overlap between your target group and the influencer’s audience. Hiring an influencer that doesn’t fit this description to help you with your marketing activities could actually have a negative effect, so pay special attention to this part of the process.
Personalisation is one of the most important buzzwords in digital marketing nowadays. With some types of content or promotional material, you have to go beyond your average buyer. You even have to go beyond different segments of your target group. You have to address every customer individually.
We haven’t always lived in times when that was possible. But in this era, if you’re able to collect the right type of info about your customers and analyse them properly, it’s quite simple to create banner ads, emails, special offers, recommendations or push notifications that fit one particular user.
Of course, for that, you’ll need a reliable CRM software to help you with obtaining and processing a large amount of data. Inaccuracy or lack of data can pose a big problem for your personalisation efforts, so choose your CRM software wisely.
Anyway, once you get that straight, the possibilities are endless. With enough relevant info about your customer’s details, as well as their purchase and browsing history, you can time your ads and messages perfectly.
You can identify the very moment in the customer journey in which you will address the right person with the right kind of message.
Your customers will have a feeling as if the message is tailor-made particularly for them. They will get only (or at least mostly) ads and offers that they find interesting.
This way, you show that you care about their experience. You’ll have your benefits as well. Namely, 88 per cent of marketers report that they’ve had a measurable lift in business results thanks to their personalisation programs.
Building a community
A business that prides itself on being customer-centric should strive to develop a dynamic and productive online community.
Try making your social media accounts less about you promoting your products and more about making a connection with your audience and customers. Use these channels to help them solve their problems and encourage them to discuss industry-related topics. Let your website and social networks be places where they meet, exchange ideas and ask questions about your field and your brand.
Apart from doing great things for your reputation, an active online community has other advantages as well. It will motivate people to engage more actively in rating, reviewing and commenting on your business and products.
This is especially important given that 87 per cent of shoppers begin their product search online, and 91 per cent of them read online reviews. An active community will help you get a good starting position in this respect and certainly won’t do you any harm. That is, unless your product is bad, in which case you have bigger problems than the digital marketing strategy.
Mind the feedback
No matter how carefully you plan and execute your digital strategy, there’s always room for mistakes and uncertainties. Use some of the social listening tools at your disposal and watch closely how people react to products, campaigns, and posts. Be detail-oriented and open to criticism.
After all, they’re the ones who ultimately judge you – your clever charts and diagrams don’t know what people want better than the people themselves.
Sometimes, you don’t have to make any particular mistakes; it’s just that people’s interests and desires change over time and things that worked for them don’t work anymore. Get used to making adjustments on the go so that your content and your approach fit your audience better.
On the other hand, you’ll have to take care that you don’t make adjustments so big that you lose your brand identity. People expect consistency and continuity from a brand if they’re to consider it trustworthy.
But this doesn’t mean you should stubbornly refuse to change anything in your perfect strategy if it gets bad feedback. You should take people’s reactions seriously, roll up your sleeves and figure out what you can do about it.
All in all, being customer-centric doesn’t at all mean that you’ll be losing business at the expense of making your customers happy. Focusing on the customer is how business should be done.
Every now and then you ought to do something for your customers, that’s not exactly immediately profitable. Your customers will recognise that, and at the end of the day, your business will be rewarded for it.
Finally, it’s safe to say that if you wish to become genuinely customer-centric, you’ll have to make that a part of your overall company culture.
That’s how every department and every individual in your company should think to make it work. Naturally, this will be mirrored in your digital marketing activities as well.
If you don’t care, it’s difficult for your customers to take you seriously. But if you do care, use the whole new world of possibilities that digital marketing has to offer and show in practice that you really put your customers first.