There are a lot of marketing tactics out there. If you haven’t had the best luck with marketing, it could be time to take a more customer-centric approach.
According to HubSpot, companies with a customer-centric strategy make 60% more profit than those that aren’t.
Now, do I have your attention? Good. I’m going to show why a customer-centric marketing strategy never goes out of style.
You’re about to learn:
- What customer-centricity means
- How to create a customer-centric strategies
- Real examples of how companies knock it out of the park with customer-centricity
Table of Contents
What is customer-centricity?
The foundation of customer-centric marketing means stepping into the shoes of your customers. This means more than just double-checking a landing page or email.
Ask yourself these questions about your customers:
- How many of them truly show customer loyalty (repeat purchases)?
- What are your customer’s needs that your business solves?
- What’s your company’s customer persona or personas?
- What’s the biggest complaint customers have about your company?
A good way to think of being customer-centric involves the stock market (hear me out). The most successful people in the stock market know companies so well, they can anticipate stock price movements before the rest of the world.
When you’re truly leading or working for a customer-centric organization, you will know your customers so well that you can anticipate how they’ll react.
Following a customer-centric marketing strategy
It’s now time for the main event. Follow the tips below to become a customer-centric company.
Start collecting customer feedback
If you want your business to follow a customer-centric marketing strategy, it’s time to start getting feedback! It might be good. It might be bad. But it will all help you form a customer-centric culture.
So, how do you start gathering this type of customer data? As it turns out, you have few options.
Use an NPS survey
An NPS (Net Promoter Score) is an incredibly simple way to find out if you’re providing customer satisfaction or not.
And it only takes one magic question: How likely are you to recommend (your business) to a friend? The customer answers by choosing a number between 1 and 10.
After you get your answers, you rank them by using this system
- 9-10: Your company’s ultimate fans, they’re more than happy to promote your business.
- 7-8: Happy, but unlikely to promote or refer your business to others.
- 0-6: These scores fall into the negative range. This customer’s experience was bad, and they could negatively talk about your business to others.
Send surveys by text
If you want to gain a better understanding of your audience and form a customer-centric marketing strategy, it’s good to reach them where they are. Chances are, a sizeable part of your customer base frequently uses their cell phones. So, why not send them a quick survey?
Since we’re talking about texting, it’s best to keep it simple. If you create a survey about the customer journey that feels like a journey, you’re probably not going to get many responses.
Instead of a long-winded survey, stick to one or a few must-answer questions.
Give to get
One surefire way to collect feedback is by offering incentives. If you’re a new business owner or one who’s operating on a tight budget, you don’t have to give away anything that valuable.
Even something as simple as a 10 or 20% discount can get people to respond to your surveys.
Up your social media game
You don’t need me telling you your business needs to be on social media. But I will tell you it’s time to step it up (in a nice way, of course). Create a positive customer experience by creating posts that encourage feedback.
I’ve seen this trick pulled off by one very smart marketer I worked with a few years ago. The company we worked for had a LinkedIn page with awful engagement. I mean, shockingly bad.
So, she came up with the idea of just adding a post-related question. And it worked. Engagement skyrockets, bosses are happy – life is good.
Let’s try an example of this. Imagine you’re creating a LinkedIn post about an upcoming marketing event your company is attending or hosting. In this post, you could include a question like:
- What’s the best thing you learned from a marketing event?
- What marketing event are you most excited about attending this year?
I’m sure you get the idea. Have fun with it. There’s something that feels great seeing people truly interact with your social media accounts while you pull off a customer-centric marketing strategy.
I know I talked a lot about LinkedIn in this section, but this trick works on just about any social media platform.
Create connected customers with an email newsletter
For many, customer-centricity starts by making the first interaction with your customer. A great way to do this and let them know more about your brand is with an email newsletter.
This email isn’t about a new sale or discount, so the sales team can sit out on this one. Instead, you’re telling the customer a story about your business. Let’s maybe get the sales team back in.
Seriously, great emails lead to a more connected customer. Need a few ideas about how to pull off this type of customer-centric marketing strategy? Here are a few great examples of email newsletter topics:
- Celebrating a win (expansion, new partnership, etc)
- A monthly update of new products or services you’re launching
- Reaching out to get feedback
- If all else fails, contests and giveaways
Will everyone read your emails? No. But the ones that do will likely be glad you sent them.
The power of the 5-Second test
It’d be nice to imagine your customers being as interested as you are in your business. I hate to burst your bubble, but most of them aren’t.
Customers have short attention spans. And since people see anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, it’s kind of hard to blame them for not being able to concentrate!
But what do short attention spans have to do with a customer-centric marketing strategy? That’s by using the power of the five-second test.
The thought behind this test is that, by giving yourself five seconds, you basically see what a customer does when visiting your website. It’s a great way to cut to the chase with your landing pages, blog posts, and social media content.
Create and run through the customer journey
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into the last strategy I mentioned (the five-second rule). We’re going way deeper.
It’s time to take a closer look at everything a customer sees. Whitepapers? Yes. Archived marketing emails? Yup. You get the idea.
When you have everything ready, have everything (or at least the main points) mapped out. Use a whiteboard, piece of paper, whatever you want.
With all of your company’s message laid out, this helps you see where things are going right and wrong.
Examples of how to pull off a customer-centric marketing strategy
So far, you’ve learned how to take a more customer-centric approach to marketing. Now, I’m going to show you some great examples of customer-centric marketing strategies. Borrow these strategies and it can pay off in a big way!
Do you need help learning how to focus on a customer-centric marketing strategy? Then, look no further than Chewy’s amazing ways of ensuring customer success is a number one priority.
Be kind to customers
Losing a pet is one of the hardest things a person can go through. Unfortunately, that was what recently happened to someone who ordered a large bag of pet food through Chewy’s website. Now having no need for the food, this person reached out to Chewy to ask if it accepted returns.
Chewy delivered an all-star response.
This company not only refunded the customer, but Chewy encouraged this person to donate this food to a local animal shelter. Chewy also sent this person flowers and a hand-written note.
Of course, these are all incredibly kind acts. But what do they have to do with Chewy’s marketing efforts. Shocked and appreciative of Chewy’s response to his loss of a pet, the person this happened to posted about his interaction with this company on Twitter.
In the end, Chewy’s kind made the entire process of returning a product easy for its customer. Being kind builds stronger relationships with shoppers. Chewy’s act of kindness quickly spread throughout social media, helping it likely gain lots of new customers.
Make shopping and shipping easy
You can also create a more customer-centric marketing strategy by making it easy for them to buy from your business. Chewy achieved this goal by letting potential customers choose to auto-ship items. Instead of remembering to regularly order products online, Chewy eliminates this work by automatically shipping products to customers.
If there’s a company that knows how to pull off a customer-centric marketing strategy, it’s Taco Bell. We’re going to cover several things here, so I’ll just get right into it.
Understanding their target audience
Building a customer-centric is all about knowing your target audience. Taco Bell pulled this strategy off by launching social media campaigns. This company also began developing an app targeted to appeal to its large base of millennial customers.
Social media engagement
Taco Bell is great at listening to its customers. First, let’s take a quick at Taco Bell’s social media accounts. These accounts aren’t ghost towns with zero engagement from anyone.
Customer-centric marketing strategies sometimes mean getting in the mix and interacting with your brand’s followers. It’s also important to ask your customers and followers questions on social media.
Engaging with campuses around the country
Source: Taco Bell
Say what you about Taco Bell, this company knows many college students make late-night trips to its many drive-thru establishments. With that in mind, and to show it gets behind supporting a cause, Taco Bell created the Live Mas Scholarship Program. So far, it’s given away over $8 million in college scholarships!
What’s better than a scholarship? Free tacos, of course. In all seriousness, Taco Bell is also offering free tacos to one lucky college campus. What’s a better way to improve customer relationship management than by offering free tacos?
At first, Zappos might look like a large company. But the CEO himself would tell you that definition’s not quite right. He calls Zappos “a customer service company” that happens to sell shoes.
Fixing the problem, not worrying about metrics
Before I entered the world of content marketing, I spent a year or two working at a call center. It might be great for some people, but I hated it. One reason why it sucked so bad was due to all the crazy metrics we had to track.
It started to feel like a certain unnamed company cared more about call times and how many times we were upselling than actually helping the customer! That’s not how Zappos does business.
Zappos practices a customer-centric marketing strategy by focusing on solving the customer’s problem, not insane metrics.
An offer you can refuse?
If you asked most companies how much they’d pay you to quit, most would laugh in your face. That’s not quite the case at Zappos. On your first day of Zappos’ 4-week training course, this company makes you quite an offer.
At the beginning of its training class, Zappos offers $2,000 to anyone who wants to leave training and give up their job. Can you imagine getting paid to quit a job?
But how does this relate to creating a customer-centric marketing strategy? Zappos makes this offer to weed out employees who are there to just get paid. By putting their money where their mouths are (you get what I’m trying to say), Zappos gets people who are there for more than just a direct deposit or paycheck.
According to Zappos, fewer than 1% of the people take the money.
If you’ve done any flying recently, you might have been on a JetBlue flight. This airline company is one of the largest in North America. And one reason for this is that JetBlue knows how to interact with its customers.
JetBlue’s social media team
These days, more and more customers interact with brands on social media. The businesses that retain customers are ready to reply to what their customers have to say. This isn’t a fact that’s lost on JetBlue’s social media department.
It only takes a few minutes of scrolling to see tons of examples of JetBlue’s commitment to customer satisfaction. While this company does an amazing job, it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel. That’s because great customer service can be simply treating your customers like real people with real needs.
Making the entire flight process easier
For most people, booking a flight and having a great customer experience is a time-consuming experience. That’s neglecting to mention some of the many freak-outs I’m sure you’ve seen on YouTube, Reddit, or social media.
In JetBlue’s continued customer-centricity efforts, this company wanted to make the check-in process as easy as possible for its customers. To do that, it had employees personally complete the entire check-in process.
Along the way, this exercise uncovered several ways JetBlue could make the check-in process something its customers no longer feared.
It’s easy to hear about a company wanting to make the world a better place and have to unroll your eyes from the back of your head. But, with Patagonia, this mission is for real.
Patagonia quickly used data based on customer behavior to understand what mattered to them. As this company remained in business, it began catering to an outdoorsy, environmental crowd.
Instead of having million-dollar marketing teams launching ads everywhere they could, Patagonia took a simpler approach. Knowing what its customers valued, Patagonia created valuable communication about where its clothes came from and its commitment to recycling. It also created an excellent example of how to pull off a customer-centric marketing strategy.
The Earth Tax
Now, more than ever, customers want to hear about a company’s environmental and charitable missions rather than their business goals.
One way Patagonia gives back is with its Earth Tax. This tax donates 1% of Patagonia’s annual sales to environmental organizations.
Update: As I’m writing this, I just found out Patagonia’s Founder donated the entire business to an organization dedicated to protecting land and fighting climate change. According to the New York Times, he’s giving up over $100 million a year for this cause. How’s that for a mission?
Another business that knows about customer-centric marketing strategies is Trader Joe’s. You might not think about it while you’re in Trader Joe’s getting something for dinner, but this company is a master of successful customer-centric marketing.
Make things easy for customers
For many consumers, the customer experience in a big box grocery store can feel overwhelming. Everywhere you go, there are advertisements, sample kiosks, and too many products to imagine.
Trader Joe’s being such a customer-centric organization takes a more simple approach. Instead of the 30,000 to 40,000 products you’ll find at an average supermarket, there are only about 4,000 different products in most Trader Joe’s stores.
It’s understandable to think that offering fewer products is the opposite of a customer-centric marketing strategy. However, Trader Joe’s used data-driven marketing and feedback to learn that most customers feel that supermarkets offer too many choices. In response to this data, Trader Joe’s stocked it stores with its newly learned customer preferences in mind.
Keeping Things Uniform
If you do a lot of traveling, you’ll notice that many companies have retail locations that look vastly different from one another. This lack of uniformity can sometimes turn customers away and confuse them.
I’ve even had this happen when I’ve visited the same company’s stores in the same city! I can visit the store I’m used to and be in and out in five minutes. If you put me in the same store with a different layout, it’s going to take me at least 15-20 minutes to find what I need.
Trader Joe’s keeps customers happy be making sure that every one of their many stores across the nation are exactly the same. You can visit a Trader Joe’s in Tulsa and it will look exactly the same as this company’s store in Tallahassee. By following this strategy, a customer can have the same positive experience they’re used to with no confusion.
Focusing more on customer service than to-do lists
An example of a negative customer journey in a supermarket is not getting help finding a product. In this situation, most staff members either don’t want to help because they don’t care or they can’t due to management overburdening these employees. You won’t have either of these problems at Trader Joe’s.
Continuing with Trader Joe’s customer-centric marketing strategy, this company wants its employees to show up happy and ready to help customers. That’s why it encourages workers to help new and repeat customers find whatever they need, even if that means a few things don’t get cleaned right away. Having this focus on a slightly more laid-back environment also gives Trader Joe’s a competitive advantage in the hiring department.
In closing, taking a more customer-centric marketing approach can do nothing but help your company. By focusing on important customer-centric metrics, you can gain more potential customers and retain them with ease.
In closing, taking a more customer-centric marketing approach can do nothing but help your company. By focusing on important customer-centric metrics, you can gain new customers and retain them with ease.
Alex Eagleton is a copywriter and digital marketer passionate about helping companies connect with customers. Throughout the past decade, he’s worked with companies including Referral Rock, Connecteam, and Ramsey Solutions. He’s a versatile writer who understands how to align with companies, truly matching their voices and tones.
When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, reading, and playing guitar.
You can reach him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.