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All posts by danmac30

What is Customer Centric Marketing?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy | No Comments

Customer centric marketing is now becoming the new buzz word. I have been doing it for almost 20 years, but what actually is it? Is it a mindset, a business approach or system? A product centric strategy (set your business model up around the product or service you sell) is the model most companies on the planet have; i.e., business as usual. On the other side of the landscape is customer centricity.

Customer Centricity is a strategy. It is aligning your business with the needs and wants of your most profitable customers. For some larger businesses it might be too difficult to migrate their structure to align to the customer but for small businesses it is a doable task that has a real competitive advantage.

Small business is best placed in providing customer value and asking questions about how to make the customer experience better because we have less complicated infrastructures.

Note: Not all customers are your ideal customers. Some just aren’t a good fit. I learnt this the hard way. Sometimes they are just not ready for the service or product you offer, sometimes they are just hard work. Take the warning signals and move on before they become a liability to your business. Some customers just cost too much to service.  Peter Fader in his book Customer Centricity makes this point. Pete also states that it means being friendly to special customers, but not necessarily everyone.

Step 1 identify who are your key valuable customers. Basic for segmentation is not just demographics or charactertics but really it should be their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). It isn’t a one size fit all. Even look at the customers that you love dealing with and value your services, is a good step.

Step 2. Identify your interact in touch points. i.e. CRM – interface – It is a tool to achieve customer centricity. It should be kept simple to start.

Step 3. Realise that you need to be a solution provider and ask why, and help customers.

Step 4. Treat each group of customers differently based on their needs as you get more detailed.

With customers in the driver seat in terms of choice and conducting most of their research online before they find us or hear about us, technology has accelerated the customer centric strategy getting airplay. The product centric model is now vulnerable as they become more commodity based thus price is getting eroded.

Small business have less organisation structure changes, financial risk and can build faster brand equity than every before by engaging with customers.

Customer centric

Customer Centric Marketing graphic

Where most businesses are finding it more and more difficult to differentiate themselves and can be replicated for a low cost by outsourcing oversees the battlefield for winning over customers has to centre around adding value by consistently delivering delightful experiences. By constantly putting yourself in the customer headspace from your website, to your office parking,

what would make this touchpoint easier, nicer, a better experience?

We know by mapping out purposefully the customer touch points it will have an impact on business objectives around customer lifetime value, retention and profit per customer.

For more information on how to create a customer centric marketing strategy contact Dan for a session. Business Impact

Why do your customers choose you?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

Why your customers by from you and not your competitors is a key strategic marketing question that is harder to answer than ever before.The  competitive landscape has changed and commoditisation of products and services has given rise to the focus on customer retention and differentiation based on the “how you provide a service or product”.The shift away from an industrial, upstream model toward a customer-centric one has been under way for some time now. Niraj Dawar argues in his new book Tilt that most companies still look for competitive advantage where it used to be: through activities related to products and new product creation. But today’s advantage comes from interactions of a different sort—those you have with your customers. Companies that recognize and move on this shift win.

Key strategic questions that I earmarked in reading Tilt  by Niraj Dawar are as follows:

1. Why do your customers choose you? Make sure it is not table stakes.

2. What business are you in? What business do your customers think you are in? How have they defined you? The answer you give to this question is predictive of how you see your business strategy

3. How is profitability measured? By customer or by volume?

4. Where do you spend most of your effort and energy? – on the service or product you sell or on understanding your customers and consistently delivering value to them by asking one fundamental question: What else do our customers need?

“Today manufactures can replicate the looks and feel of an innovative product and print it to market for a fraction of the price, in a fraction of the time it use to take. Even Nike and HP manufacture their products in Asia.” Tilt pg 178

5. How can we take what we know about our customers and provide value in different ways:coffee pods

  • How we distribute a product: Nespresso
  • How we store a product: iTunes
  • How a product or service is delivered: Audible, Spotify
  • How a product is consumed: Coles new ready made meals
  • How we dispose of a product or service: eBay

Niraj states the value equasion is VALUE= WHAT+HOW

6. How close are we to our customers and understanding them? If you sell through a channel that is made harder. Nespresso had the Nespresso club to sell direct first which gave them invaluable data on who their customers around who buys their coffee and at what price. They changed the coffee making market by understanding the pain of getting out of bed and getting dressed on a Saturday morning to stand in line and pay $4 for a espresso and risking that they are closed or run out of stock. Kodak didn’t understand their customers and so focused on a need that was surpassed.

Risks Table

7. Do you focus on scale or scope? Niraj makes the comment that it is not how many widgets you sell but how you deliver on the needs your customers have and scope your deliverables around that. What are the costs and risks they face in doing business with you? How can you eliminate these? How do you make it easy for your customers to choose you?

“Businesses rarely pay enough attention to customer costs and risks because these aspects of a transaction tend to be invisible to a sell too.”Tilt g806

This is where strategic service design can uncover those opportunities and create a competitive advantage that is hard to replicate.

Listen to my podcast with Niraj here:

Video on Tilt strategy

Kick start your business 2014

By | Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Is your business sucking the life out of you? What are your goals for 2014 as a small business owner?

There is something about the comfort of an old t-shirt as p.js or a nice pair of warm socks that keeps you turning back for things of comfort. I guess the same can be said for setting goals for your small business. It is comforting to just go with the flow, rather than set some ambitious goals that make you get out of your comfort zone. But without the end game in mind, your small business becomes a job can have you working 80 hours a week and sucking the life out of you.

As Brian Tracey says in his goal setting sessions, “success is goals.”What do you want out of life? What do you want out of your small business? What will make you happy? Seems simple, but most us seem to do what is easy or do what we have always done even if that means our business runs us, instead of us running our business. We put our heads under the doona and hit the snooze button, rather than take the challenge of changing and do that brisk walk when the alarm button goes off in the morning.

For me, to grow my small business and even keep it afloat it is about knowing what are the important questions to ask? It is being able to make the right decisions on a day by day basis that takes me that ideal company I have in your mind. To do this I have to be able to picture that vision with real clarity. Here are some aids I have found that will help you ask those tough questions and set the stage for a great 2014 and a business you want to run. A year that you will look back at and say, “yeah, 2014 was a great year for me and I am getting closer to that vision I have for my company and my life”.

  • Have a vision for where you want to go. Is your business sucking the life out of you? What is it would you like your life to look like? John Jantsch Goal Setting Video is a must resource. John has a exercise of describing your business as it is 3, 5 years from now and what does it look like? Goal Setting I find it useful to have a personal vision and a company vision.
  • Set some realistic but stretch revenue goalsWe all need money to live. We need our small business to provide for us. What do you want your income to be now and in the next 1, 3, 5 years? I do this every revenue setting exercise  every year. I sit down and write an amount that I need and would like to make. Guess what? I come within 5% of  this figure year on year. Each year I try and stretch the figure and each year I reach it. I guess it is because once I have a target I plan my plan to support it. I do everything in a purposeful way. As a consultant,I find it useful to set, monthly, weekly and daily targets that sharpen my focus. It is a real measurement for me in terms of how I am tracking . http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/ is a great tool for this purpose. I love Freshbooks.com for time, invoice and estimate tracking. (heaps better than MYOB in my book).
  • What do you need to invest in yourself to reach your roles. “Success is something that you attract, by becoming an attractive person.” As Jim Rohn says “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Personal development is an area all about developing skills that will serve you well in growing your business and making better business decisions. An extra skill I have developed digital marketing have served me well. Podcasting and writing has enabled me to reach you. What do you need to be able to make better decisions this year. How can you be the expert in your industry? Invest in yourself.Grow purposefully
  • Build a great team around. Zig Ziggler says, “if you can help enough people get what they want then you can probably get what you want.” This give to get mentality is already used in content marketing to great affect. We can no longer interrupt, persuade or buy people’s attention. We need to earn, give and educate to receive it.  Building a great team around me is critical to business success. I spend a lot of time on communicating and sharing with my team so we are all on the same vision with clear goals to get there. I also focus on having fun.
  • Get a Coach or Mentor. The biggest growth I got in one single year was when I took on a lifeline.  A Lifeline concept was introduced to me by Keith Ferrazzi when I read his book, Who’s Got Your Back. This is a person that I could banter with, share ideas, and would be accountable to. As a small business it is easy to feel isolated. Networking groups help but there is nothing like having that person who as got your back.  I am lucky in that I found this person just when I was ready and he has shaped my approach to business. He shares the same value set as me and I respect his opinion. However he has a different approach to me and asks me the tough questions and always has my back. I do the same for him. I remember interviewing Linda Hailey another successful small business marketer and she did this with her competitor. They would have lunch and share information, ideas and learn. Who can you ask to mentor you? Most people will say yes.  It is a must for small businesses.
If you are ready to set some goals for your small business and get ready for a great 2014 book in a session with me! Here are some lessons from SmartInsights.

book first session buttonlearn more button

Other resources

Brian Tracy – Goal Setting

Vision Mission Values Template

Who’s Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

Your True North Exercise

 

 

92% say their business needs to get more closely aligned to their customer

By | Branding, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments

In a recent survey by Incite we can see the radical shift between consumers and brands.

Brands are reacting to a three-fold change in their relationship with their customers.

Control

1. Customers have more power than ever before.

2. Thus, their expectation as to what constitutes ‘acceptable interaction’ with your brand is changing.

3. Consumer ‘location’ is changing – you won’t find your target audience gathered around the TV on a Wednesday evening any more.

The main reasons are:

1. Voice:

The rise of social media means that consumers now have an audible voice in the conversation about your brand.

You can hear them. And so can other customers.

Your brand is no longer within your control. Without a passionate and happy set of customers, you will find it very

difficult to effectively engage and expand your customer base.

2. Choice

Customers can no longer be forced to listen to you. In the past, you knew a TV ad during ‘I Love Lucy’ got you into

the living rooms, and consciousness, of millions of potential customers.

“This change in the nature of our relationship with our customers is creating a need to become more customer aligned at all touch points.

Your customers spend increasing amounts of time online, and less time consuming ‘traditional media’. Anyone

who has been awake in 2013 will know the reasons for this – increasing uses of social media to augment/replace

real-world interaction; consumption of media via mobile devices; second-screen viewing; the ability to fast forward

through TV advertising, etc.”

86% of those surveyed by Incite have more data on their customers than they did 5 years ago but most are not leveraging this data.

“ To be successful, we know we have to behave differently with consumers, and deliver solutions that address

their problems and needs – rather than trying to push products that may or may not be relevant, as we have

done in the past.”Claire Burns, Chief Customer Officer, MetLife

Now people can fast forward through TV ads. They can block online banner ads. They can unsubscribe from emails

with one click.

So how do you get more closely aligned to your customer

1. Understand your customers: do some research, surveys and personna profiling so you know who they are and what they want.

2. Be where they are : Become agile enough to ensure you can put together a comprehensive, multichannel customer outreach strategy and play where they play.

3. Be fast: Guarantee you can talk back to customers at the speed they expect.Hymn

4. Get a clearer picture: Leverage new data sources, and desilo current data, to ensure you can build up a comprehensive image of each of your customers – and use it to deliver relevancy

5. Align all staff: To achieve the first three points, a company must become better at sharing insights internally, and reduce boundaries between departments to deliver a unified external voice.

Customer Centricity as an Ecosystem

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Employee Experience | No Comments

chart 1“Customer centricity is the ecosystem and operating model that enables a company to deliver a unique and distinctive customer experience.” Doug Leather states in his book The Customer Centric Blueprint: Building and Leading the 21st Century Organisation.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Doug this week. Like it or not, all customers are aware, vocal and they are not all the same. We are making demands on businesses and they need to respond. The business models  that use to work, are now archaic, have short term metrics, many of which don’t have a customer centric approach.

Economic Value

Transformation of companies to have a deep understanding of their customers, a holistic approach based on an Outside In” approach and ultimately delivers not a highly valued product or service but a customer experience that will build life long customers is the name of the game today.” Doug states that the DNA of your company needs to the the vision you have with your customers. Companies need to think from the outside in to develop an investment mindset to evolve the customer experience as a competitive advantage, not undifferentiated. It is all around deciding on the promise you want to make to your ideal customers and then delivering on that promise consistently.  It is around supporting your employees to deliver on that promise. It is setting up your infrastructure, training, hiring, goals and research to obsess over that promise. As Doug sates, “too many organisations still don’t mention their customers in their vision statements.”

Having absolute clarity around your customer, the experience for them and communicating this consistently, through every touch point, is critical for a business in the 21st century.

Podcast Interview with Doug

A Space to Think Project

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments
SD and UXI am customer centric marketer that has been working in the field of Marketing for 20 plus years. For the last 12 months I have been investigating the service design methodology and how this is intersecting with service marketing. I have interviewed thought leaders on my podcasts, read everything I could find about touchpoint mapping, personna’s, customer experience journey mapping you name it. Since investigating

Space Innovation

I have found that my true passion is around Strategic Service Design and helping small business humanise their services as a competitive advantage. Large corporations do this internally, Shell, BT, NAB, etc but small business I feel are best placed to action ideas quickly as they have less barriers or silos to navigate through, they just need the expertise and space.
This is my passion and my mission. To create a place where we can get back to humanising services.
 If you are interesting in learning more please follow this idea becoming a reality at my Pinterest Board. Any ideas and insights or resources would be greatly appreciated. I believe the only bad idea is a single idea.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

I have an ambition to build A Space to Think for small businesses to map out their current service and develop innovative ways to improve it. This is a multidisciplinary apporach and requires a unique space to take small businesses out of the day to day grind of running their businesses. It is a chance to step into their customer shoes and take an outside in approach to their businesses. I want to create this space and then run it as a business.

 

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