No company can invest in branding and customer relations without acknowledging the importance of “customer centricity”.
It’s easy for a business to become preoccupied with marketplace performance and getting more customers. These aren’t trivial concerns, but they are focusing on the wrong things. To be “customer centric” means decisions about products and marketing strategy begin with the customer, not metrics and market share.
Customers are not one unified mass. Segmentation and analysis of different groups is necessary. How can a business keep their customers? Can their product or service do better in meeting that customer’s needs? More customers would be nice, but is there a way to sell more to existing customers?
What drives sales is customer experience and the personal brand expression offered at each consumer touch point. This can be through social media, a greeting from a store clerk, a help centre phone line, or a statement in the mail. When these touch points are improved upon from the customer’s point of view, they are more likely to have a relationship with the brand beyond the merely transactional.
A successful marketing strategy will focus on how consumer needs are met by the offering, not on a product’s superior features and promises or a desire to just get more customers. Today’s skeptical audiences are not always responsive to product-centred advertising. Businesses succeed when they deliver superior customer value and enhance their brand image with transparency, fairness and candor.
Every department in an organization should be learning about customers — and using what they learn to determine product roadmaps and strategy. Customer-centric selling is about the needs and desires of customers, not the company’s or the marketer’s. When every employee commits themselves to reinforcing brand values at each point of customer interaction, it creates a deeper relationship with customers by putting them at the centre.
The topic of this article forms part of the curriculum for the Schulich ExecEd program Masters Certificate in Marketing Communications Leadership (starting April 1, 2020). World-class industry leaders share cutting-edge best practices in four short learning sessions spanning 11 days over three months, covering 13 key areas of focus and providing you with the advanced marketing tools you need to fully leverage digital and social media channels at your organization.