Customer-centric marketing is the objective of successful, world-class organizations because it works – empowering marketing teams to target the right customer with the right message in the right channel at the right time. This strategy allows organizations to acquire the high-value customers that everyone wants – because they’re the key to profitability – and to keep them coming back.
A worthwhile customer-centric marketing strategy should plan for the future while not sacrificing short term results. In order to be successful, it requires that all areas of the business – even those not traditionally customer-facing – commit to prioritizing the customer.
Is your marketing currently customer-centric?
Are your customers at the center of your marketing strategy? While we’d all like to believe this is the case, sometimes marketers get caught up in the day-to-day complexities of channel or product strategies and end up losing focus on the real reason the business exists: customers.
To help clarify, let’s start by explaining what customer-centric marketing is not. If your marketing team is currently optimizing individual channels based on channel-specific metrics, like email click-throughs or social media followers, that’s not customer-centric marketing. If your team is optimizing sales of individual product categories or an overall portfolio of products, that’s not customer-centric marketing either. Nor is making marketing decisions based on optimizing events like on-site conversions.
What customer-centric marketing is is recognizing that each customer is unique and has different behaviors and preferences. It means focusing on the needs and wants of customers when planning and executing every marketing campaign. It means connecting with customers and building long-lasting relationships based on everything you know about them.
So, how do you actually go about achieving true customer-centric marketing? In our recent research study on customer centricity, we found that successful organizations focused on four organizational cornerstones – data, people, technology, and culture – in order to bring about a customer-centric approach.
Customer-centric marketing requires four foundational cornerstones
These cornerstones should be key considerations when crafting and then executing your customer-centric strategy:
- Start with the data.
Getting to know your customers means collecting relevant data and producing actionable, reliable analytics. Through detailed segmentation and analytics, you’ll gain data-driven insights that offer a clear picture of who your customers are as individuals, and how they fit together as a larger group. By analyzing existing data, you can also predict future trends and outcomes and make better long-term business decisions. Technology, such as a customer data platform (CDP), can make this data analysis simple and effective.
- Focus on people.
Determine who should control the strategy within your organization. Instead of the historical (and often uncoordinated) method of splitting customer knowledge and action between disparate departments, consider appointing a single person or persons to lead coordinated, cross-team efforts. And note that in order for this person to be successful, they need to be allocated the proper authority, budget, and resources to make significant changes if necessary.
- Use the right technology.
Start by determining the systems needed to analyze the data and to be able to fully and flexibly act upon it. And know that as you move from legacy processes, it’s likely you’ll have legacy technology systems in place that will need to operate in tandem with newer systems, like CDPs. As you assess what new technology you’ll need, ask hard questions, prioritize innovations based on outcomes, and agree on common measurement.
- Shift organizational culture.
Get organizational buy-in and evangelize a customer-centric culture across your organization. Each team within a retail organization has differing goals and metrics by which it measures success, so adjusting them to fit an organization-wide goal is critical.
The bottom line
Shifting to a customer-centric marketing approach is not a simple task that can be accomplished overnight, but persist, and you’ll be rewarded by differentiating your business from a crowded marketplace and gaining loyal customers who keep coming back to buy more. Customer centricity is attainable if you are willing to commit the necessary time, effort, and resources to put it at the core of your business operations.
Are you struggling to shift your organization to a customer-centric approach? Reach out to us today to learn how QuickPivot’s customer data platform and services team can set you down the right path.