I recently talked about why small businesses should embrace customer-centric marketing. Today, it’s time for part two of the series. This time, I’m going to help you define what customer-centric marketing looks like for your business, as well as how you can implement it.
If you’re used to more traditional types of marketing (like pushy sales calls or annoying TV adverts) trying out a new way of marketing might seem daunting. But customer-centric marketing can be very simple, as long as you do your research. As the term “customer-centric” suggests, your customers are the focus – so just listen to what they want and need!
Carry out customer research
The first step towards creating a customer-centric marketing strategy is doing some research. There’s no point marketing to your customers if you don’t actually know what they want. There are several ways you can carry out customer research. Try creating an online survey to send out to your mailing list or social media followers. Ask insightful questions (such as what problems do they struggle with that your business or product might be able to solve) and actually listen to the answers.
If your small business interacts with customers on a daily basis, then simply ask them what they want. You don’t always need a formal survey to carry out research. Start a conversation with customers. Ask them why they visit businesses like yours, and what they want from your type of services or products. Don’t forget to ask your staff too, especially those who work closely with customers. They will have seen the problems customers face, and the reasons why they keep returning to your business.
Redefine your marketing strategy
Once you’ve carried out your customer research, use your findings to help redefine your marketing strategy and values. Does your existing marketing strategy still apply? Or do you need to refocus in order to give customers what they want? By this point, you should know the following:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What do they like about your business?
- And what do they dislike about your business?
- Which problems do they face (related to your products or services)?
- How could your products or services make their life easier?
- What do they want from your business that is currently missing?
- How do they see your competitors?
- What benefits do they get from your business that makes you stand out?
By analysing the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to see what you’ve been doing right and what you need to add in to your marketing strategy. Make sure you’re targeting the right people with the right information. Work out the best way to reach these people and tell them all about how your products or services will make their life better.
Implement customer-centric marketing across the whole company
After defining your new marketing strategy, work out the best way to implement it. Make sure your marketing strategy is present in all aspects of your business. You want to create a clear message so customers are getting the best possible service, every step of the way.
- Choose your marketing channels – There’s no point in spending hundreds of pounds on an advert in a local newspaper if your customers are all social media-obsessed teenagers. Try out different marketing channels to find out what works for your small business, keeping in mind the customer research you’ve already done. Consider building an email mailing list if Twitter isn’t working for you. Or connect with bloggers in your niche rather than advertising in magazines.
- Offer great customer service – Even customer service can be a form of marketing. By offering great customer service, you’re showing how much you value your customers. These people are then likely to return to your business again and again, as well as recommend you through word-of-mouth or online reviews. By focusing on what the customer wants, you can market your business through the customers themselves.
- Product management and development – Keep your customer-centric marketing strategy in mind when developing new products or services. Think about what your customers really need, and how you could create a product to fill this gap. If you create a product that your customers want, it becomes so much easier to market it – you already know the customers are ready and waiting, all you have to do is tell them about the product and encourage them to buy it!
- Marketing through sales – This is a more traditional way of marketing, but it’s still very relevant for customer-centric marketing. Just because people hate cold calls, unsolicited emails or pushy salespeople, it doesn’t mean they hate sales overall. Instead of being annoying, use your marketing strategy and research to find a more relaxed, relevant way to sell your products to your customers.
Now, all that’s left to do is make a plan and get started! Keep listening to (and learning from) your customers to find a way to market your business at the same time as providing them with great, friendly service and products that they really want.
This is part 2 of a series of posts about customer-centric marketing. The next post will go into more detail of how marketing with a customer focus can look like. Find out what customer-centric marketing is & how it can help your small business!
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
At Your Service: Customer-Centric Marketing for Small Businesses
How to Do Marketing Your Way
7 Steps to Understanding Your Customers
Learn From the Best: 3 Scottish Businesses With Great Marketing