The advent of digital in the early 80’s, forced companies to take a serious look at their brand building and marketing strategies.
Many realised that it was time for a major overhaul of their primarily outbound strategies. Consumers no longer appreciated being interrupted in their daily lives! Marketing had to find new ways to stimulate more inbound engagements.
However, after trying multiple inbound marketing strategies, they find that they are still irritating their customers with spammy emails, intrusive pop-ups and over-complicated cookies, that gather far more information than most organisations will ever need or use.
Many large CPG companies, (P&G, Coca-Cola, Nestle) changed the name of their Marketing departments in the past twenty years, to Brand Building. They hoped that it would revive sales and give new vitality to their communications to better engage their customers in the new social world. Most failed miserably, because they continued with the same processes and mind-sets. And with few exceptions, they prioritised thoughts about themselves and their brands, and rarely took their customers’ perspective. Luckily a few realised that to satisfy the consumer they have to do things differently. They were the ones that moved to customer-centricity.
Moving Beyond Brand Building
Whether you are still doing marketing or have already moved to brand building, here are some ideas that you can use to help you quickly move forward on your journey to greater customer centricity:
- Place pictures of consumers everywhere, so people start to naturally think about them. This can be in your office reception, on the lift doors, or other places where many employees spend time like the coffee machine, water fountain, or restaurant waiting and eating areas. You can also add representative images of real customer photos to the front of your reports and at the beginning and end of presentations.
- Use the magic question. Whenever you take a decision, ask yourself: “What would our consumers think about the decision we have just taken?” If you believe that they would disagree, then you should reconsider your options.
- Review the structure and content of your website in minute detail. If there are more “we’s” than “you’s” then you know what to do. And while you’re online, check out your contact page for possible improvement opportunities, as detailed above.
- Take a look at your target consumer description or persona/avatar. When was it last updated? Customers are changing opinions and behaviours at an ever-increasing rate, so you need to be with them if not ahead of them, if you want to satisfy their changing needs.
- Examine your advertising and communications. Who is the hero in them, your brand or your customer? Consider developing concepts that are more customer centric, by making use of your understanding of them and their emotional triggers.
- Spend time with your front-line staff and talk to them as well as to your customers. If you are lucky enough to have retail outlets make use of them. Otherwise, listen in to your call centres, and talk to people who talk to your customers, like in-store promoters and merchandisers.
- Share your latest knowledge about your customers with everyone in the company. This can be through weekly or monthly newsletters with up-to-date learnings from research projects. Or summaries of what your customers are reaching out to your customer services department about. Help every employee to understand the role they play in satisfying the customer. Make them fans of your customers.
These are your seven starter tasks for moving from marketing and brand building to a more customer centric approach to customer satisfaction and delight. Every single one of them has your customer at the heart of them. Are there any others that you would add?