How marketing can serve the needs of customers to drive sales results by using a customer-centric approach
It may seem obvious that marketing’s primary focus is satisfying the needs and wants of customers, although it is surprising how many companies inwardly focus when devising their marketing strategies.
Companies that take a customer-centric approach and do it right lend to themselves a competitive advantage that gives them greater opportunity for a larger share of wallet. Understanding customers is the cornerstone of any successful business, and being a customer-centric organization is a must in today’s competitive landscape.
Being a customer-centric company is not a function for the marketing department, and it is more than just being customer-focused. The business must be customer-orientated, and the customer-centric culture lives within all departments. It is demonstrated through the customer experience across the business.
Without satisfied customers, companies rely upon a legacy that, over time, will erode and present itself as shrinking market share and falling profits. Being customer-centric has a direct impact on your bottom line. Let us explain how it works.
Problem need and identification
Understanding customer buyer behaviour is critical for success. The initial buying phase that any customer traverses through is their growing awareness of a disparity between where they are now and where they want to be. There are multitudes of reasons that may create a state of disparity, and it is critical for companies to understand what these are for their industry or product.
More often than not, customers are not even aware they have a problem that requires a solution. The optimum method to identify customer buying behaviour, is via research that will provide valuable insights to shape your marketing strategy.
Relying on your own perspective is limiting your potential audience. The research may involve the use of secondary or primary data collection methodologies. In a recent study conducted by Sales Focus, it was found over 65% of companies have never attempted to gain valuable customer insights via the use of focus groups, surveys, or other research methods.
Few companies manage their customer data in a way that customer segments are created within data sets to identify the different customer behaviours. If you are going to establish a customer-centric strategy, these would be the first steps to take.
Understanding customer’s problems and needs will also uncover their pain points. This is critical whilst devising your marketing strategy and assists with the development of the sales strategy. Managerial judgment may be useful via this process, although feedback mechanisms via the use of properly implemented systems may prove optimal for this purpose.
For example, if, after every sale call, customer objections and insights are recorded, comprehensive customer profiling can be conducted. This data can then be used in the formulation of future strategies.
Understanding your product
It is critical to complete a thorough analysis of your products and services and identify what they satisfy. A simple view of your product will not suffice. When customers consider a product or service, it becomes a multi-dimensional perspective. The broader the outcomes, the greater your revenue opportunities increase.
Each product consists of three principal components, core, actual, and augmented. The core product refers to the actual benefit provided to the customer. For example, If you are selling reinforced steel, the core product may be defined as ‘an object that provides strength to ensure the structure lasts and is stable’.
The actual product includes quality, style, finishing, and even the brand. Finally, the augmented product is the additional layers of service that provide additional benefits as opposed to competitors, such as warranties, guarantees, and service delivery standards.
This process is critical as it not only shapes your communications strategy but also provides insights and opportunities to develop a competitive differentiation.
Customer information and research
The way customers research and make purchase decisions has dramatically changed over the past decade. The internet has been the catalyst for this change; customers are now making purchasing decisions well before they interact with your company. They will have conducted research and often short-listed, even selected the supplier, before making their interest known to the company.
This change has dramatically altered the methodologies used when marketing in a business-to-business environment and has given rise to content marketing as a formidable strategy. The digital marketer’s use of content marketing implies that companies provide useful and meaningful information via the internet that attracts customers to their websites, where they can track and nurture the customer lifecycle via marketing automation tools.
The customer buying cycle
Understanding your customer’s buying cycle is critical to leveraging maximum profitability from all available segments. Knowing when customers identify a need through to when and where the first purchase is made, including subsequent purchases, is critical. Once this data has been identified, marketing strategies can be optimised to maximise impact and produce increased revenue.
The customer buying cycle varies between industries, although if identified correctly will produce increased revenue and referrals due to enhanced loyalty.
The result of adopting a customer-centric approach to marketing provides a unique competitive advantage. Companies that fail to understand genuine customer buyer motivations expose themselves to a distinct threat that, over time, will erode their customer base resulting in falling profits and revenue.
Insightful marketing and sales strategies will ensure that your company is on the best footing to secure its financial growth for years ahead.
For a confidential discussion on how we can assist you with the implementation of your marketing initiatives, please contact our office.
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