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5 steps to a customer-centric marketing strategy

5 steps to a customer-centric marketing strategy Anna Hutson

It's no secret that marketers and business owners alike have been forced to move beyond simply selling a product or service to a customer. Nowadays, marketers are in the business of selling an experience in addition to the product. A sale that was once a transactional process via an exchange in value (dollars in return for a product or service) has evolved into much more than that. As a result, marketers have been required to adapt and provide an elevated customer experience that truly delights, or run the risk of becoming obsolete in their respective industry.

Beyond that, the consumer landscape is demanding more than just a one-time transaction with a business or a brand and is expecting to receive an experience worthy of their time. Customers have the ability and the right to shut off communication or future purchases with a company completely with the mere touch of a button or a sequence of clicks. To avoid this in your organization, this article will share five insights about the most effective ways to put your customers at the heart of your marketing efforts, incorporate a customer-centric mindset into every department team, and leverage customer insights and feedback for intelligence to inform your marketing strategy.

Use data and analytics to uncover opportunities and measure success

Do you know the value of a long-term customer of your organization? If not, read on. It is important to understand how to organize data around your customers, establish the right metrics to measure success, and deploy the right tools and processes to execute an effective marketing program. To truly understand your customer's needs, it's important to listen and observe how they are engaging with your brand, what channels they are present on, and what things they are talking about. Listening, measuring, and analyzing customer metrics can lead to opportunities to further engage them, speak to a new audience, and determine the efficacy of your current marketing programs. Establish these metrics upfront, benchmark them, and measure your success on an ongoing basis.

Garner customer intelligence in places your customers already are

An easy way to gain steadfast customer insights, knowledge, and engagement is to show up and listen to them in the places they are already regularly spending time. This includes social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Are your customers or potential customers looking for answers to questions, or do they need fast customer service? By optimizing your social presence and consistently engaging in conversation and providing useful and timely information and content to your customers, you will become a welcome addition in their day-to-day world and have a leg up in encouraging them to share authentic feedback that you can incorporate back into your marketing strategy.

Always be testing

If you're not testing, you're not learning, which is an important part of being able to increase your marketing effectiveness over time. After you have established the key metrics and KPIs for your business (and are using that data to measure success), the next step is to iterate, rinse, and repeat.

Involve your customers in the conversation and decision-making process

One of the best things you can do to truly create a customer-centric organization, one in which your customers truly feel invested in its success, is to solicit their feedback, perspective, stories, and advice. Ask your customers questions in the form of a quarterly or bi-annual survey to garner feedback, and encourage employees to be engaging in dialogue with your customers about their experience with your product, service, and organization as a whole. Then, most importantly, factor those insights into your decision-making process, product and service-level improvements, and organization-wide changes to reap the rewards. Finally, ensure you share these changes back to your customers and let them know how much they played a role in bringing them to life.

Instill customer-centricity into every level of your organization

This is paramount to the success of your marketing efforts. A shift in focus towards a customer-centric approach to marketing efforts that touches every department in the organization will help set your business apart. The purpose of a customer-centric marketing strategy is to place the individual customer at the center of your company's marketing plan and its execution. Customer-centric organizations truly believe that the customer is their greatest long-term investment. As a result, the way each employee, department manager, and executive leader thinks and reframes their daily interactions with the customer, directly translates to the way in which the organization is able to execute a customer-centric marketing strategy. Make sure every employee of the company is bought into the vision and is aligned with the strategy needed to make it all happen.

By incorporating these five steps into your organization's marketing strategy and approaching your marketing efforts with a customer first mindset, you will keep your business ahead of the curve and ensure the long-term health of your organization.

Anna Hutson has spent the last 10 years building companies and driving agency growth. As an agency and client leader with experience spanning agencies in the digital, traditional, full-service and creative spaces, Hutson has helped companies ranging...

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