While customers were already beginning to research and find their own answers when buying, rather than talking to salespeople, the pandemic only accelerated this trend, even for B2B businesses. Now, when someone wants to buy a product or service, they are increasingly relying on what content and answers they can find online. They look at FAQs, product information, reviews, and more to help them make a decision, much of this taking place before speaking to a salesperson. Where before, businesses could perhaps have gotten away with company-centric marketing, built around what they want and what impression they want to create, now it really is the turn of customer-centric marketing.
Businesses increasingly need to focus not on themselves, but on what the customer wants if they want to bring in qualified leads and make sales.
But what is customer-centric marketing and how do you make it work for your business? Read on for our top customer-centric marketing tips that can help your small business build brand equity and attract more local customers online.
What is customer-centric marketing?
According to adQuadrant, there are four main reasons why customers buy from a particular company and keep coming back:
“A personalized experience where they feel part of something important. Friendly employees and customer service reps that truly care for their experience. Having the chance to be associated with a brand holding an excellent reputation. Transparency and ease-of-access whether for information or help.”
Note how little of that has to do with the company itself. Customers aren’t looking for companies that are thinking about how they can get what they want. They’re looking for a great customer experience from the companies they choose.
Of course, you have goals and you want to achieve them. Of course, you have things you want for your company. And it might sound counterintuitive to focus on your customers instead, but doing so is far more likely to bring you success.
That’s what customer-centric marketing is. It’s paying attention to who your customers are, what they want, and how they want it and providing it for them. It’s thinking about how you can create an amazing customer experience and wow your customers. It’s about prioritizing your customers.
How do you do that? Keep reading!
Tips for Creating a Dynamic Customer-Centric Marketing Plan
1) Get your company and leadership team involved
Customer-centric marketing, just like any marketing plan, has to come from the top down. You need buy-in from your management team so that the rest of the company will be encouraged to get involved.
Here’s the thing. When dealing with your company, your customers don’t stop to think that they’re dealing with different departments. To them, everyone they speak to, whether it’s tech support, customer service, or sales, is representing your company. They increasingly expect that they’ll get smooth, joined-up service from start to finish and that each person they speak to knows who they are and what interactions they’ve already had.
“Customers expect connected journeys, and 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments.” – from Martech Alliance.
You can’t create that kind of experience if you only involve sales and marketing. You need everyone from the Owner / CEO down onboard.
Luckily, if you’re the one that needs to convince the CEO or the board, here are some of the latest stats from Martech Alliance on customer experience that more than speak for themselves:
- “59% of companies with a CEO who is involved in customer experience report higher revenue growth, compared to just 40% of companies without a customer-focused CEO reporting growth.”
- “Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than less customer-focused companies. In turn, companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.”
- “Offering a high-quality customer experience can lower the cost of serving customers by up to 33%.”
With numbers like that, even the most hardened CFO is likely to be swayed.
2) Learn everything you can about your customers
Before you can create any kind of customer-centric marketing plan, you need to know everything you possibly can about your current and potential customers. You can’t simply assume that you know who your customers are or make a guess about what they think of your business.
Start with your buyer personas before you look at planning. Create different buyer personas for the main types of people that are likely to buy from you. For example, if you sell home services, such as contracting, plumbing, or pool maintenance, you may sell to domestic customers, but you may also sell to commercial businesses. You may even need a third buyer persona for larger contractors who will use your services. Each of these personas will have different demographics and needs.
To ensure you have all the facts for each persona, do your research and dig into your data. Look at your website statistics, Google analytics, and statistics from your marketing platform, if you have one. That last one can be a real eye-opener. If you have an all-in-one marketing platform, such as Surefire Local’s, you’ll be able to collate statistics and research from every aspect of your marketing to create a much fuller picture of your customers.
It’s really important to use social listening to find out what your customers are saying on social media. You’ll be able to see what they like and what they don’t like about your company, pick up ideas for new products and services, and find out how your customers want you to talk to them. You’ll hear the phrases and keywords they use regularly so that you can create more tailored content. You can also follow your competitors to learn what people are saying about them and how you can improve on what they are doing.
You can’t skimp on this step. It’s vital to learn everything you can about your customers so that you can wow them with an amazing customer experience.
Also from Martech Alliance’s customer experience statistics:
- “84% of people say that the experience provided by a business is equally important to the product or service they’re using.”
- “65% of US customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising.”
3) Add value to every customer interaction
Customers want to feel that they matter to the businesses they shop with. They don’t just want a minimum effort with the focus on the business bottom line. Make them feel special and they’ll reward you with customer loyalty and brand advocacy, which could bring in more leads than you might expect.
To create an exceptional customer experience, you need to do that at every stage of the customer journey, not just when you’re getting ready to close the sale.
Provide great content at every stage of the customer journey
As we said right at the beginning, customers are increasingly doing their own research and making their own decisions, often without the help of your sales department.
Your research into your customers should have given you great insights into the questions they are asking, how they think, and how they communicate. This gives you the best possible start when creating content at every stage of your sales funnel.
You need to create blogs that engage and attract customers at the top of the funnel. These are designed to show customers who you are as a company, and that you do provide the service or product that they need. Later, you need more in-depth content to show them that you do have the solution to their problems, and how you can help them. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, you can include case studies, white papers, and the option to book a demo.
Of course, if you do pool maintenance, for example, your customers really aren’t going to read a white paper on anything, but they will appreciate seeing how you’ve helped similar customers to them. It’s all about tailoring both the actual content itself and how you deliver it to your audience.
Build a community
Use what you’ve learned from your research and social listening to build a community around your brand. Join in with your customers on social media and answer their questions. Invite them to give you feedback, ask for their opinion, and do polls that they can quickly answer. This is priceless information for you, and it makes them feel involved and a part of something.
You can also offer giveaways and competitions, if appropriate, that can build engagement.
Bear in mind, don’t be too formal on social media. Post to suit the platform you’re using and keep it light and fun, as long as it fits in with your brand.
Use your community building to also build loyalty to your brand and to reward people for sharing their positive experiences with you. You can build your loyal customers into brand advocates that can’t stop talking about you to anyone who will listen.
4) Convey the value of customer-centric marketing to all parties involved
We’ve already said that it’s important to convince higher management of the value of customer-centric marketing. Without them onboard, you’ll have a harder time convincing other departments in your business to work with you on this, and it really is a company-wide effort.
Track your results from the start to make sure you’re focusing on the right things, but also so that you can keep meeting with higher management and show them what your new marketing approach is doing for the business. This will keep them onboard for the long term.
You’ll convince your customers of your marketing approach by providing them with an outstanding customer experience, but there’s no harm in talking about how much you appreciate your customers and how your focus is on doing your best for them.
That really does make your customers feel special.
Focus on the quality of what you do, focus on how you can wow your customers and exceed their expectations, and you can expect that you’ll reap the rewards with more high-quality leads and customers who can’t wait to talk you up.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Now you’ve read our customer-centric marketing tips, why not book a demo for our all-in-one marketing platform?
With Surefire Local’s marketing software, you can keep an eye on your customer interactions at every step of the way, and produce reports that will keep you up to the minute with what your customers want and how you’re doing at giving it to them, all while managing the whole of your marketing in one place.
Get in touch with our friendly team to book your demo and simplify your marketing.