I’ve already explained why I predict 2020 will be the year of the customer. The traditional, tried-and-true marketing methods of getting people to know about your brand and buy your products are no longer as effective as they once were. Successful marketing strategies in 2020 and beyond will focus on creating great customer experiences and building relationships with your audience.
This shift has already been happening for a while, but not all businesses have fully embraced this new way of thinking about marketing. We’re now at the start of the New Year, and it’s a great time to be thinking ahead and making strategic decisions for your business that will bring positive returns.
- Focus on providing great customer experiences and most of the hard work of marketing is done for you.
- Rather than creating products first and seeking out customers later, think about your customers first and use their needs to help you develop products they actually want.
- Knowing and understanding your customers is critical to the success of this strategy. Collect data from several different channels and sources to build up a clear picture of who exactly your target market is.
- Customer-first marketing goes beyond the responsibilities of the marketing team. Everyone in the company must understand how to provide great customer service and experiences.
If your business is not yet putting your customers at the heart of your marketing strategy, now is the time to make the change. And if you think your strategy is already customer-driven, it may well be worth reviewing the process anyway. Many businesses claim that they have their customers’ best interests at heart, but their marketing strategy says something different.
What is a Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy?
Let’s start by going back to basics: what exactly is a customer-driven marketing strategy?
Rather than thinking about your business or your products and how you’re going to market them, you start by thinking about your customers: Who are they? What makes them tick? How can you help solve their problems?
By shifting the focus away from your brand and onto the customer, you ensure you’re meeting their needs. Over time this builds strong customer relationships and builds brand loyalty as you’re demonstrating that you’re working to create better solutions for them and not simply trying to make money out of them.
So this approach means thinking about your customers and their needs before you do anything else. In fact, you’ll soon realize that this strategy goes way beyond marketing. When you consider your customers’ challenges, motivations, and desires first, it affects the entire way you run your business. A customer-driven strategy means you’ll be creating products and services that your customers actually want and need rather than what you think they want.
1. Identify Your Target Market
You can’t serve your customers if you don’t really know who they are, so the first and most crucial step of building your marketing strategy is to define your market and segment it so you can target each group more effectively.
Depending on your brand and business, you may be targeting one small market segment or several segments with varying needs and characteristics. You might have a good idea of who your customer base is already, but don’t make assumptions. It’s important to carry out thorough market research from a number of sources, including web and social analytics, studying competitors, your own customer databases, and customer surveys in order to build up a true picture of the demographics and needs of each market.
Once you have the data, creating a customer avatar or buyer persona for each target market is the next step. This is a text and visual summary of the average “ideal” customer you’re targeting in each market segment. This can really help you to create marketing materials that resonate with your audience as you have a detailed image in mind of who you’re trying to reach with your marketing messages.
2. Create Solutions for Your Customers’ Needs
Your initial customer research should inform you about what your customers actually want. You can then use this market intelligence to develop products and services to meet their needs. This approach is of course the opposite to what many businesses do, which is deciding on their products and services first and then seeking out customers to buy them!
With a customer-first strategy, advertising and traditional marketing methods are no longer needed because you don’t have to hunt out your customers – they’re already right there telling you what you want. As long as you really listen to what they have to say, the hard work is done.
3. Use Customer Feedback to Improve Your Offering
Tools such as live chat and online feedback forums can be a valuable way to communicate with your customers.
Using customer feedback and requests will not only help you to create better products and services in the future, but demonstrating to your customers that you’re listening to their opinion and that it actually matters is a powerful way to build trust and loyalty.
Because customer communication is such a vital part of a customer-driven marketing strategy, your customer service team becomes integral to your overall marketing plan. Ensuring that every person in the company who interacts with customers in any way offers an excellent customer experience brings benefits to both sides. The customer gets the help they need and enjoys positive interactions with your team, and your business builds a better brand reputation and learns more about how to create better products.
When your customers are happy with what they buy from you and how they communicate with you, they’ll tell their friends. And this word-of-mouth marketing can be more powerful and have a bigger and longer-lasting impact than any type of advertising or SEO campaign.
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