When was the last time a company fully catered to your wants and needs as a customer? For me, it was around the holidays, when I was looking for the perfect gift to give to a friend who is a huge fan of “The Legend of Zelda” video game series.
My online search for the right gift led me to STL Ocarina, a company that sells ocarinas – the wind musical instruments that have been around for thousands of years and a staple in the Legend of Zelda series. Obviously the company knew a lot of their customers were like me – either fans of the games or shopping for fans of the games – so they made it easy to find Zelda-themed ocarinas on their website. .
Simply hover over the “Our Ocarinas” tab and the first category to appear under the tab reads “For Legend of Zelda fans”. From there, I was redirected to a page displaying their Zelda-themed ocarinas and the option to include a songbook of the game’s music.
After I bought the ocarina and the songbook, I remembered that my friend didn’t know how to play the ocarina and the songbook might not have tips for beginners. Fortunately, the confirmation email from STL Ocarina included a YouTube instructional video and links to online resources that will help get it started.
STL Ocarina is a great example of what customer-centric marketing looks like. In the few minutes I spent on the company’s website, every touchpoint in my buyer’s journey was valuable, from landing on the website to finding the right gift to purchase.
Months later, I’m still recommending the website to friends who want Legend of Zelda merchandise or are just looking for a new hobby to check out.
For your business to turn customers into advocates, the same way I advocate STL Ocarina, it’s important to add value at every stage of the customer journey and meet their needs. One way to do this is to create a strong customer-centric marketing strategy.
What is Customer-Centric Marketing?
Customer-centric marketing involves prioritizing the needs and interests of customers in every interaction with your business, such as delivery, promotion, advertising, etc.
Customer-centric marketing ensures that your customers are happy enough with their product or service to stay loyal and tell others to become customers too. To implement customer-centric marketing for your business, first ask yourself:
How do customers connect with your business? Is it via social media, website, email, phone or something else?
Is there value offered in each of these channels?
What can be done to improve the customer experience at every touchpoint?
Examples of customer-centric marketing
Many businesses have taken a customer-centric approach in their marketing strategy and achieved great success. These companies include:
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One of the most well-known and successful customer-centric marketing strategies comes from Starbucks with its Starbucks Reward loyalty program. This program offers a variety of benefits including exclusive discounts, free brewed coffee refills and free drinks for customers on their birthday. However, one of the most notable features of the program is that it gives customers the option to order and pay before arriving at the restaurant.
This means that time-pressed customers can schedule their items to be picked up, avoiding long lines and inconsistent wait times.
According to Forbes, Starbucks attributed 40% of its total sales in 2019 to its rewards program. Forbes also reported that loyalty program app users were 5.6 times more likely to visit a Starbucks every day.
The luxury department store chain Nordstrom sought to improve its service and product discovery by creating a simpler and more personalized shopping experience. The company has achieved this by implementing its Nordstrom analytics platform. The platform consists of AI models that handle tasks such as inventory control and fulfillment, and route orders to the nearest store.
The company has also created fashion maps in which AI uses natural language conversations, combined with images and information gathered from social media to predict customer preferences. Using AI, the Nordstrom analytics platform delivers personalized products and selections to customers through its Looks feature, storyboards, and more.
In 2019, Bacardi wanted to get potential customers in the UK and Germany excited about the brand’s new single malt whiskies. Understanding that drinkers in this demographic often have a taste for luxury, Bacardi has partnered with Amazon to create a live whiskey tasting that customers can enjoy from the comfort of their home.
The spirits company has created its Single Malt Discovery Collection, consisting of three whiskeys exclusively for tasting. Customers from the UK and Germany could purchase the collection from Amazon and, in turn, gain access to the live tasting. During the live stream, customers were able to ask the host questions via a personalized landing page on Amazon. Over 500 questions were asked and Bacardi saw increased sales on Amazon.
Tips for Creating a Strong Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy
Developing a customer-centric marketing strategy for the first time can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to start:
1. Involve management
To ensure the success of any new strategy, it is important to gain the support and enthusiasm of senior management. If senior leaders put customers first on every channel and interaction, it will encourage others in the organization to do the same. You can engage leaders by holding regular meetings to educate leaders about customer-centric marketing, discuss upcoming campaigns, and brainstorm creative ways to promote the brand.
2. Know more about your customers
Get a better understanding of your customers by doing the following:
Conduct customer surveys on service/product quality, business strengths, where it can improve, and how they most interact with the brand.
Set up one-on-one interviews with current and former customers to ask them about their experience with the company, why they chose to stay loyal, or why they left. You can also ask past clients what changes would have made them stay.
Use data gathered from analytics tools to track customer behavior.
Monitor social media and/or enable Google Alerts to see what people are saying about your business online. For example, if customers often take to Twitter to complain about how difficult it is to navigate your website, that could be a sign to update the site. You can also gauge what kind of content your customers like to see on social media. Maybe on TikTok you notice that followers enjoy behind-the-scenes videos, while customers on Twitter like having their questions answered or reading important announcements.
Read customer emails and monitor calls to see how customers are interacting with your business.
3. Add value to every customer interaction
Customers, or potential customers, can be at any stage of their journey with your business, which is why it’s important to build traction at every touchpoint. Whether they are interacting with your organization via social media, calling for help with a problem, or at the end of a product/service purchase, each stage of the Buyer needs to create engagement and joy.
Nordstrom offering personalized products/services based on customer behavior, and Starbucks creating a system that allows customers to respond quickly and efficiently to their needs are great examples of adding value during different customer interactions. The same goes for Bacardi’s virtual at-home whiskey tasting. The one thing all of these actions have in common is that they make the customer experience fun, engaging, and simple.
4. The value of customer-centric marketing
As technology continues to change the way people interact with brands and businesses, the customer journey has become less linear. To keep up with the ever-changing journey, businesses need to take a customer-centric approach to marketing to build stronger relationships that will make your customers some of its strongest advocates.
Originally posted Mar 16, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated Mar 16, 2022
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