I am a staunch advocate of customer centricity. By placing the individual customer at the centre of your marketing strategy and delivery, you have the opportunity to communicate in fundamentally different ways. Now’s the time to take your foot off the hard sell pedal and switch up a gear to the greater good of customer lifetime value.
This concept embraces the idea of an entire future relationship with your customers. Exploiting the opportunity to establish deeper, more meaningful and thereby, more profitable relationships with them. Wear your customers’ shoes, really understand their desires and motivations and your marketing strategy need never hinge on the hard sell again.
While some organisations are winning at customer centric marketing campaigns, many businesses I speak to and train, however, are doing just the opposite. Generally, the majority of businesses want to outrank their competitors and climb to the top of the Google search results for what they consider to be their key search term. Yet, this detachment from the realities of the consumer and restriction of potential audience reach, means they really are missing a trick.
Putting this theory into context, I am often invited to speak at conferences all over the world. As such, I like to make the most of my time at any given destination. With confirmation of a two-day conference coming up in Portugal, I decided to see whether I could squeeze in a spot of scuba diving.
Typing in searches, such as best dive sites in Portugal, best diving in Portugal and what to see diving in Portugal, I wanted to discover some scuba hot spots before researching which local diving operator to approach to help me explore them. It’s at this point that it becomes evident just how much Portuguese diving companies, as an example, are missing a trick.
At the top of my search results was a page by PADI. Not only does this page come out on top but more importantly, the content is immensely useful to me as a customer. It offers easily digestible facts, from water temperature to where to go. It meets requirements and information expectations, understanding the type of content a scuba junkie craves. The page provided what I wanted, plus quick calls to action for finding local dive companies, should I so desire.
The remaining results were pages from scuba diving travel companies, bloggers and review sites. There was not a single, local dive company to be seen.
The point is the Portuguese dive companies are the ones with their finger on the pulse. They boast local knowledge and expertise and are ideally placed to provide a unique insight into the local scuba scene. All the information I could want is theirs to share. Yet, many businesses miss this trick because they are only optimising their search in terms of scuba diving centre Portugal and scuba diving Portugal. The assumption is I’m ready to book their services. There’s neither communication with the customer on a deeper level nor demonstration of understanding or shared interest. Having been served great content on the PADI website page, I’d have likely headed down their recommendation route.
This is just one simple example of companies focusing on the hard sell. By not understanding the deeper needs of consumers, many businesses are losing out on potential custom. The thought behind this strategy may be that it’s more cost effective to only target consumers who’ve already made their decision. While this approach could indeed generate a decent conversion rate, it doesn’t take into account the number of potential customers who slip through the net.
For many of our new clients, here at SocialB, changing strategy to embrace customer centricity can be a steep learning curve but when the light bulb moment comes, the rewards are well worth it. Spend time understanding your customer. There are myriad ways to do this. Why not drop me a message on LinkedIn and I’ll happily share some with you.
While of course, I’m consumed by ROI and profitable sales, as a consumer, I’m not sold on the hard sell. My advice is to focus on what your customer wants and needs, answer their questions and offer a deeper level of understanding. Remember that content is king and is a key influence when it comes to consumer decision-making. Get thinking. Create a customer centric strategy and be prepared to put yourself in their shoes.
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