Marketers are all about generating buzz, so it's unsurprising that, at times, they even buzz themselves. Such is the case with industry buzzwords like "customer centric". While everyone has a general concept of what it is, very few are actually doing it, and fewer still are actually doing it right.
Customer Centricity Isn't a Strategy, It's a Culture Shift
The first problem is that marketers often try to tack customer centricity onto their customer-facing strategies and projects, but there is no foundational culture shift that evolves the company past its product-centric or brand-centric or industry-centric or even self-centric focus.
Customer-centric marketing, by nature, begins with a fundamental thought revolution -- it's no longer about us and we and our; it's about they and them and their. This customer centricity must permeate the organization, top to bottom, inside to outside. The customer becomes the hub, while the brand and products and marketing messages become merely spokes on the wheel. Now that's customer centricity!
Stop Marketing! Deliver Value Through Your Data Management Platform
Now that you're honed in on the customer and the entire company is 100% committed and focused on delivering the customer what they want, when they want it, how they want it, you can begin building value that speaks to the customer. Who are your customers? Some brands draw customers who are penny-pinching misers, determined to get the best price, period, or else. Other brands boast customers who are the opposite: they'll pay anything for the highest quality (preferably with a really uppity name). Either type of customer is completely fine. You just need to know yours and know how to deliver to them what they value. Use a data management platform that allows you to capture the data you need to build deep, rich, comprehensive customer personas so that you understand your customers and can deliver precisely what they're after.
Harness the Power of Customer Emotions
When it comes to customer centricity, the enemy isn't hate. It's apathy. Brands that nail it with customer-centric marketing are okay when their customers gush affectionately and equally fine with it when their customers launch a furious attack on one of their [marketing campaigns/advertisements/products/features/pick your reason]. Anger is passionate, and passionate is core to the customer. Apathy means they don't care enough to engage. This is far worse than hatred in the realm of customer-centric marketing. Use your data management platform to build content that sparks passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and vigor in your audience (social platforms are ideal for this). Customers will follow.
Dethroning the Big Guys is Actually a Cinch
Worried that you're so little that you can't possibly make an impact in your crowded marketplace? Not a problem. Many companies have phenomenal success with touting how awful the big guys have treated the customer. They haven't listened. They don't give you what you want. You NEED us little guys. Focus your marketing on how the industry leaders don't meet the customer's needs, and you'll be the go-to brand of choice for customer centricity. Score!
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