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Section 508

September 16th, 2013

Guide Back to the Basics: Creating Customer-Centric Marketing

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What is the primary goal of every business? Before you say to make a profit, STOP and truly think about that statement. Making a profit is an outcome and result of doing business. The main goal is to serve a need, to solve a problem and to provide a solution, period. Businesses today seem to have this backwards. The goal of anyone going into business should not be what you will get out of it but rather what you will give to it. This is because what you get (money) is directly dependent on how much you can and are prepared to give (solution). So why focus on the end, when the end is unachievable without the beginning? Your focus as a business owner or marketer should revolve around the problems you can solve for people.

Imagine this scenario: Sally walks into her local grocery store on Sunday afternoon. Her cell phone goes off with a message from the grocery and a coupon for 5% off a related product that she frequently buys. And lists of other items that she frequently buys that are on sale. Imagine being able to offer your customers this level of personalization. You are not only building that relationship by knowing who your customer is, understanding what they buy and why but you are able to provide the right offer, using the right channel, at the right time. This not only builds the loyalty of your customers but chances are Sally just might tell her friends and family about her experience. Today, with Big Data Analytics, this is now a reality and because of this, marketing has taken on a whole new direction. The days where you could buy your voice is over… you now have to build it. Mass marketing is dead, personalized marketing is the new revolution.

#1 Start with the Data, but Don’t Forget Your Brain.
Where do I start? You start with what you know. You may already know what is happening in your business, but do you know why? Do you know what your data is telling you about future behavior? As a marketer we must be more than reactive, we must be proactive. We need to be able to tell our audience what they need before they even know they need it. By gleaning relevant insights about human behavior out of your Big Data, we are able to connect it to a targeted promotional message to the right audience, at the right time, with the right offer.

However, many companies may fall short because they do not realize that not everything is predictable. Unless we are all robots and nothing changes, then we will certainly encounter unpredictability. It is what makes us human and also what makes marketing not only scientific but also a creative process. Data itself will never solve anything. In order for businesses to truly achieve success, they need to take their statistical models and instill them with critical thinking. Additionally, they need to make three major improvements to the stores of data they already have – they must improve the quality, quantity and variety of information at their disposal. Context will always be changing. It’s not something you can create a process and a set group of messaging and call it a day. You have to constantly be tweaking it, building upon it and finding new ways to connect with your audience based upon what their behavior is telling you.

#2 Be Contextual, not General
Our context shapes the content we pay attention to, it influences the way we shop and buy. And it defines how and when we choose to interact with companies. People are the sum of their entire experience, across channels, across devices, across their whole history of interactions with your company. And that experience, should move and adapt around us accordingly. The average attention span of today’s consumer is 8 seconds. So how do you make sure you are not looked over? You create relevant, personalized messaging across multi-channels. This goes beyond tossing someone’s first name into an email. This goes beyond a coupon mailer. This is personal.

As marketers, in order to stay competitive and ahead of the curve, we have to realign our marketing efforts to not only encompass the WHO, WHAT, and HOW but also the WHY because we are so bad about becoming customer-centric. In the past and even still today, companies tend to be extremely self-centric. And that makes sense because they are made up of people. We need to start with the why. We need to start with the people. One statistic that was mentioned was “47% of buyers care about what you sell, 53% care about HOW you sell it.” That says that people care how you are communicating with them. They want you to care about the problems that you are trying to solve (again back to why you are in business in the first place.) They want you to not see them merely as a number, or a segment… they want to know they have a voice and that you hear them.

#3 Measure, Measure, Measure
Alright, so now that you understand what you must do, now we need to prove that it works. After all, this is what we marketers call job security. This is where measurement comes in. Marketing measurement is vital to creating and executing successful marketing campaigns. Measuring the effectiveness through analytics, dashboards and reporting can help convert your marketing efforts into quantifiable metrics and learning opportunities. By operating on a marketing automation platform you can gain new visibility, effectively evaluate marketing campaign performance and get quick insights into your marketing efforts.

This customer revolution is caused by people in control of their own media choices, and choosing exclusive niche experiences via the Internet. It is true that people have more media power than brands now. But brands have more technological power. Think about that, the next time you are wondering why your marketing efforts aren’t producing results. Are you simply trying to control something you have no control over? Remember, now you have the power to connect the dots and connect on a real level of personalization.

While the technology continues to evolve, the universal revolution remains the same: Customers today have the control of their media and experience. Brands and companies need to strive not to be heard while they are here, but rather missed when they are not. Don’t be the hero, instead make your customer the hero and you win.

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Tags: Brand Marketing Customer Relationship Marketing

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