A recent Insights for Professionals (IFP) report, The State of Customer Experience in 2022/2023, found that customer satisfaction (60%) and customer retention rate (51%) were the most important customer experience (CX) metrics for organizations.
To succeed, businesses need to go beyond getting to know their customers to generate sales and take a customer-centric approach that focuses on how to ensure your audience gets the best from your brand.
What is customer-centric marketing?
It’s all in the name. Customer-centricity is a marketing approach that prioritizes the customer’s needs and interests. This way, the customer is at the heart of every decision related to advertising, sales and marketing. To get this right, businesses must gain a deep understanding of the customer’s needs, desires and pain points. The goal of being customer-centric isn’t simply to increase sales - it’s about showing customers how what you offer can improve their lives.
Why marketers need to be customer-centric
Taking a customer-centric approach helps to improve your relationships with your audience, instigates loyalty and leads to a more sustainable business in the long run.
Nowadays, customers expect more from the brands they engage with and make decisions based on whether a company’s values align with their own. Customer-centricity ensures that these values are acknowledged in everything you do and that your audience feels part of something bigger.
Additionally, this type of marketing encourages customers to speak out about what they want from your product or service. These insights will empower you to better meet the needs of your target audience, helping to build a trusting community around your brand. Increased loyalty is an important outcome of being customer-centric and loyal customers typically spend 67% more on a brand than one-time purchasers.
IFP’s report found that customer-centricity, conversational AI and personalization are predicted to have the most significant impact on customer service trends over the next year. Staying abreast of these trends will help ensure businesses remain competitive in a saturated marketplace and help them to differentiate their marketing from the rest.
Customer-centric marketing in practice: 3 examples
Glossier is a makeup brand that has built a cult following through its customer-centric approach to marketing.
By sharing content that provides valuable tips and tricks for customers, creating an engaging community and having conversations with customers, Glossier exemplifies customer-centric marketing to a tee.
Patagonia’s sustainability goals have always been central to its vision, but more recently it is putting customer-centricity at the center of its marketing efforts by prioritizing transparency.
Its environmentally-conscious customer base remains loyal because they know exactly where Patagonia is sourcing their products and are aware of its shortcomings.
Swedish furniture retail company IKEA is known for its customer-centric approach to marketing.
From its in-store customer experience (where clients can find complimentary child care and a food court) to its use of augmented reality, IKEA ensures that the customer experience is fun and engaging across every touchpoint.
Creating a customer-centric marketing strategy
1. Get senior leadership on board
When implementing a customer-centric marketing strategy, it’s important to ensure those at the top are on board. When teams are inspired by those in senior leadership roles, they’re more likely to feel heard and supported. Moreover, when leaders prioritize customers at each interaction, it will encourage other individuals and teams in the organization to deliver the same level of understanding in the customer experience.
To get leadership on the same page, consider hosting regular meetings to discuss and educate them on customer-centric marketing and ensure they’re involved in campaigns. You can also offer them the opportunity to speak directly with customers to build connections and trust.
2. Understand your customers
It goes without saying that understanding your audience is vital in a customer-centric marketing approach. There are plenty of ways you can get to know your customers better. Here are some ideas.
- Conduct surveys to collect feedback about the quality of your product or service, potential avenues for improvement and information about their preferred ways to interact with your brand.
- Plan one-to-one interviews with current or previous customers to gauge their experience with your company and whether or not it lived up to their expectations. This will help you to understand why they remain loyal or why they decided to take their business elsewhere, offering valuable insights into how you can formulate your customer-centric marketing strategy to take these factors into account.
- Leverage data stored in analytics tools to better understand customer behavior and interactions with your business across its different channels.
- Harness social media monitoring tools and Google Alerts to track what people are saying about your brand online. This will help you understand what type of content your customers like, as well as pinpoint any issues that can be addressed.
3. Build your infrastructure around them
The next thing you need to do is invest in a customer-centric infrastructure to deliver personalized experiences. It’s important to add value at every touch point to ensure the entire customer journey is designed to spark joy, engagement and loyalty.
Build your website with an optimized design to create flows for different types of buyer personas. Customer segmentation can help you to develop resources and targeted messaging that’s tailored to different audiences and their needs at every interaction, whether that takes place on social media, your website or over the phone.
To be effective, customer-centric marketing must be hyper-personalized. Two-thirds of companies say that their biggest customer experience challenge is understanding customers. You need to get to know and differentiate different user personas and segment them in your systems to ensure your marketing speaks to each individual.
Be specific and use granular data to get in-depth insights into your audience. This means delving deep into demographics and user behavior to create segments that reflect the different facets of your customer base. Armed with this information, you can design tools to ensure that the customer experience is simple and engaging.
4. Create relevant content
Personalized content that’s relevant to your different customers is one of the best ways to build loyalty and strengthen your brand’s reputation among your competitors. The majority (80%) of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Moreover, 99% of marketers agree that personalization helps to advance customer relationships. For this reason, it should play a central role in any customer-centric marketing strategy.
There are plenty of tools you can use to develop personalized content such as HubSpot, Optimize, Proof and more. Remember that you’ve got all the resources you need to create customer-centric content in your audience profiles - so don’t hesitate to use it.
5. Collect and learn from feedback
Building a closed-loop feedback system that involves collecting, analyzing and responding to data insights and direct replies from your customers will allow you to continuously refine and improve your customer-centric marketing strategy. After all, your customers are always evolving so it makes sense that your marketing strategies are too.