How To Become Customer Obsessed And Embrace Your Clients
It is easy for a business to claim it is “customer obsessed,” but moving beyond lip service and backing up that claim can be quite a challenge. Thinking about, caring for and even dreaming about your customers does not make you business customer obsessed. Until and unless you move past those things and into concrete action, the words “customer obsessed” are merely meaningless buzzwords. To better understand what customer obsessed businesses do others do not do, it helps to first understand the true meaning behind customer obsession.
What Is Customer Obsession?
Once upon a time, buyers behaved in predictable, linear ways that companies could cash in on. Those days are over and as Munchbach and Miller have described, we have now entered the “Age of the Customer.” Today’s consumer have almost unlimited access to information about your business, services and products. They also have higher expectations about what your business can and should do.
Today’s consumer likes to build a relationship with the business, do research on your company, get word of mouth referrals from friends and research and check things out online and on Facebook. Relationships with products and businesses are built through non linear, non predictable ways where opinions are malleable and the decision to buy seems to be completely random. Today’s customer takes a winding buying path that can be difficult for businesses who are not customer obsessed savvy to manipulate.
If your business were truly customer obsessed, you would understand there is nothing random at all about the customer’s buying cycle. Understanding your customers needs and wants as well as they do if not better than they do is key to customer obsession. Going above valuing and appreciating your customers and getting in tune with what they need and want so you can influence their buying path and increase your business is true customer obsession in action.
What Are The Marketing Barriers In Becoming Customer Obsessed?
Understanding all your customers needs and getting to know what they want before they know themselves is no easy task. To know what they want, you must gain extensive knowledge about your customers and this can be a challenge. While each business faces unique problems, there are a few common issues that can railroad marketing efforts and overcoming these issues is critical to your marketing success.
One of the biggest issues is limited data. If your marketing team does not have information on your customers behavioral and demographic data, insight on your customers is limited. If you do not understand what your customers behaviors, motivations, problems, social media savvy and demographics are, you are planning a marketing campaign based on a narrow aperture of customer context. A campaign guided in this way will fail because you do not know your customer and will not know how to effectively market to them.
Siloed Marketing Channels are also barriers to effective marketing. Running each marketing activity you do independently from each other lacks the synergy you need for effective marketing. All your marketing should loop back into each other and be as multi channeled as possible. Linking your marketing efforts will make the biggest impact on your marketing ROI and yield the greatest results. For example, you could cross promote a webinar on social networking sites and in an email campaign. Look for ways to market your services and business using multi media messages and in layered and tiered ways.
Treating marketing campaigns as transaction drivers is another common mistake. Of course you want your marketing efforts to drive revenue, but their main importance is their ability to start and sustain a dialog with your customers. Creating these types of conversational campaigns can become a valuable part of your business’s long term objectives instead of a one time, low impact transaction driven campaign.
Complexity and redundancy in technology is another pitfall to avoid in your campaign. With today’s ever changing market where new products are introduced daily, you need to make every effort to make sure yours is the most frequently used and profitable.
How To Become Customer Obsessed
In today’s marketplace, the only competitive advantage you can count on the the relationship you have with your customers. In the Age of the Customer, the enterprises that are successful are the ones that have powerful relationships with their customer base. Building that relationship takes a multi step process and if followed, it can help you build the customer relationships you need to become and stay successful and profitable.
The first step is creating a database of records. Your database should be synchronized with your CRM tool and give you insight to your client base’s demographic information. You need to include information such as their web activities, the links the visit, keyword searches they use and what content they read and share and what types of campaigns they respond to.
Once you have the core database, you need to build the “brain” and sift through the data to map the customer experience. This is the step that makes seemingly random buying decisions make sense. Determine what content should be sent to each segment and what content should be sent after that. At Marketo, this is done with our Customer Engagement engine that places each existing or potential customer on the right track.
The next step is multi channel execution. Utilize the power of marketing automation to measure both your inbound and outbound marketing. Direct mail, emails, social marketing and content marketing combined with rich data mapping brings customers the most relevant information and builds the most valuable relationships.
Finally, measure your marketing. Which programs are driving the most revenue? How are your customers moving through the process? This step moves marketing from a cost center to a profit center and can help you justify your marketing expenses.
How To Begin
With lots of contacts, how do you become customer obsessed with every one of them? Start with an internal audit to determine what information you already have, how you are marketing today, how integrated is your plan and is it siloed or multi channeled?
Once you know where you are, you can improve. Identify your weak areas and work to improve them. Be thorough and honest and work to get a true picture of your customers and the ideal path to create.
Finally, if customer obsession is your goal, your organization must do the following four things:
1. Run multiple campaigns on many channels. All your prospects will not be on the same channel so you need to cover as many channels as possible.
2. Segment your leads and market to each group with relevant content, leave batch and blast behind.
3. Understand your customer base. Who is ready to buy? Who is a lifetime customer?
4. Measure and optimize your whole campaign.
In an ever changing but always competitive marketplace, everything you do to market to your customers and build relationships must be effective, measurable and drive revenues. Put these guidelines into place and move from saying you are customer obsessed into being customer obsessed and watch your customer base and bottom line grow.