Customer-centric marketing is now becoming the new buzz word. I have been doing it for almost 20 years, but what actually is it? Is it a mindset, a business approach or system? A product-centric strategy (set your business model up to around the product or service you sell) is the model most companies on the planet have; i.e., business as usual. On the other side of the landscape is customer centricity.
Customer Centricity is a strategy. It is aligning your business with the needs and wants of your most profitable customers. For some larger businesses, it might be too difficult to migrate their structure to align with the customer but for small businesses, it is a doable task that has a real competitive advantage.
Small business is best placed in providing customer value and asking questions about how to make the customer experience better because we have less complicated infrastructures.
Note: Not all customers are your ideal customers. Some just aren’t a good fit. I learnt this the hard way. Sometimes they are just not ready for the service or product you offer, sometimes they are just hard work. Take the warning signals and move on before they become a liability to your business. Some customers just cost too much to service. Peter Fader in his book Customer Centricity makes this point. Pete also states that it means being friendly to special customers, but not necessarily everyone.
Step 1 identify who are your key valuable customers. Basic for segmentation is not just demographics or characteristics but really it should be their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). It isn’t a one size fit all. Even look at the customers that you love dealing with and value your services, is a good step.
Step 2. Identify your interact in touch points. i.e. CRM – interface – It is a tool to achieve customer centricity. It should be kept simple to start.
Step 3. Realise that you need to be a solution provider and ask why, and help customers.
Step 4. Treat each group of customers differently based on their needs as you get more detailed.
With customers in the driver seat in terms of choice and conducting most of their research online before they find us or hear about us, technology has accelerated the customer-centric strategy getting airplay. The product-centric model is now vulnerable as they become more commodity-based thus price is getting eroded.
Small business has less organisation structure changes, financial risk and can build faster brand equity than ever before by engaging with customers.
Where most businesses are finding it more and more difficult to differentiate themselves and can be replicated for a low cost by outsourcing oversees the battlefield for winning over customers has to centre around adding value by consistently delivering delightful experiences. By constantly putting yourself in the customer headspace from your website to your office parking,
what would make this touchpoint easier, nicer, a better experience?
We know by mapping out purposefully the customer touch points it will have an impact on business objectives around customer lifetime value, retention and profit per customer.
For more information on how to create a customer-centric marketing strategy contact Dan for a session.