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customer centric

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

Customer Centricity has never been more important

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Employee Experience | No Comments
As part of the run up to the 2013 Incite Summit, we asked 300+ marketing and communications executives about the key issues they see impacting on their roles in 2013.Customer Centric 1
Incite uses crowd sourcing to discuss with marketing and communication executives key marketing questions.
Customer centricity is starting to become a focus because of the social channels or the conversation is coming from customers or us. We are directing the conversation and so companies have no choice but to be transparent, customer facing, responsive and empathic. I would challenge that many marketers would not have gone this route if it wasn’t apparent that they had to. On the other hand I come at it from a customer centric mindset because it resonates with my value set.
It will be interesting those companies that give it a token gesture as part of their campaigns and those who have it as part of their DNA and more importantly how customers respond.

 Ncustomer_centric_maturityote on definitions of ‘customer-centricity

One could read these results as a more cautious reading of what ‘customer-centricity’ means for a corporate audience. The ideal espoused by Bob Thompson of Customer Think is of a ‘customer-inspired’ business, which

“Thinks deeply about what customers are trying to accomplish in their business and personal lives, and create new ways to add value before they ask”

But perhaps corporate practitioners’ understanding of ‘customer-centricity’ is lower down Thompson’s “Customer-Centric Pyramid” – at the ‘Customer-Driven’ phase:

Incite shares some brilliant interviews with different marketers.

Nicki Briggs is the Chief Marketing Officer at Chobani, the US-based Greek Yogurt company. –

“To be honest, no, we didn’t. It’s naturally a part of who we are. It’s not forced, it’s what we believe. It’s how we have always been.

One of the core principles in our company stems from the notion of ‘the golden rule’ – treating our consumers the way we want to be treated ourselves if we were buying that product.

But because my team is so closely linked to the consumer – through our visual engagement team and customer loyalty team, amongst others – we make sure that everything we’re saying is consistent with our DNA. And that it’s something that consumers can really get involved in.Everything we try to create is around being authentic and transparent like that.”

What steps have you taken to achieve that aim? What have you done to make L’Oreal more customer-centric?

Marc Speichert is the Chief Marketing Officer at L’Oreal USA. 

“We’ve done a lot of work around the path to purchase. We partnered with McKinsey, to help us rethink how consumers are actually approaching, and how they think about purchasing, beauty.

That led us to move from the traditional funnel metaphor to a more circular path to purchase. In this circular model, it all starts with consideration, then moves to evaluation, to purchase, and then to advocacy. Understanding when people move from one step to another, by each category, is very important for us.

Moving forward, we then use those learnings to think differently about our Go To Market strategies as we launch products.”

Claire Burns, Chief Customer Officer at MetLife
“My role at Metlife is leading a transformation – we’re trying to transform the company from a product-centric to a customer-centric organisation. It’s a huge change remit – in terms of transforming almost everything that we do to an outside-in perspective, from what today is very much inside-out. –

To get there, we’re doing a lot around gathering customer insights, both in terms of improving our existing experiences, and in terms of helping design new experiences for customers.

We’re also fixing a whole lot about today’s experience, and we’re making more consistent experiences across multiple products, markets, channels of communications, channels of interaction.

For us, we’re trying to stand out in terms of our brand promise as enabling and emboldening consumers, and to act in their financial interests, and what we’re finding is that all of our competitors are talking about scaring people. Scaring people into buying this product because it’s something they need, and what we’re trying to say is that this is in your control –  solutions to help you secure your financial future and realise your dreams.

We’re spinning this as ‘we’re giving you the tools, you can do this’. And to do that and to be successful in delivering that promise, we absolutely need to be customer-centric. We need to be absolutely simple, intuitive, easy to work with, and be providing these kinds of tools that help people feel that confidence – and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

– See more at: http://incitemc.com

– See more at: http://incitemc.com/new-internal-models-for-marketing-and-communications/#sthash.zxSJT229.dpuf

Does your business have an intimacy problem?

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

As the bigger your business becomes, does it become more removed from your customers? Do you talk to your customers?  I don’t mean just a one night stand. Doing the odd tweet, blog post or facebook update. I mean building a relationship, insight and collaborating. Do you see your customers more as data points, in groups? Do you see only facts about your customers, but have little meaning behind those facts? Do you keep your customers at a distance? Are you scared of them. What they might say. (Believe it or not a client said this to me the other day).

Good relationships take trust. We need to be vulnerable and open ourselves up. That is where the good stuff happens. We need to admit we aren’t always right. Sometimes we do stupid stuff.

How do you know what is important to your customers, without an intimate relationship? Have you designed emotion out of your business?

Relationships value:

  • relationships over facts
  • empathy over data
  • intimacy over volume

Do your employees make decisions on facts and analysis? Do instead we partner with customers to help make the best decisions for them. We look to solve individual real problems not the crowd’s.  Involving the people you serve is intuitive but not done because it is hard. Relationships are hard.It is a commitement.

Consumer collaboration is a better way. People who know me, will know I am all about creating customer centric marketing. The reason is simple. There are only so many ways to streamline, become more efficient and compete. Creating a customer centric mindset is the best way to create sustained growth.

This video from communispace is a great illustration of how many businesses have moved away from customer intimacy and the benefits of collaborating instead.

The Consumer Collaboration Manifesto from Communispace on Vimeo.

 Do you have an intimacy problem with your employees too?

It is not just about creating a relationship with your customers but also your employees.

How do you communicate authentically? Terry Pearce from the book Leading Out Loud believes it is a combination of appealing to the mind and heart.

  • Mind looks for evidences
  • The heart looks for passion
  • The mind weighs up facts
  • The heart acts on faith
  • The mind looks for purpose
  • The heart seeks meaning
  • The mind believes
  • The heart trusts

Both are necessary for committed action.

“Motivation”, Pearce says,” is about getting people to do things. Inspiration is about getting people to believe in things.”

 

 

If 70% of us pick up a smart device to learn about you, what do we find?

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

They find youIn 2012 Google Published ZMOT: Winning the Zero moment of truth. I did an post on this in the impact of multi-devices some time ago. You might think that you have a website, so you are fine right? We now know that customers are checking out 10 sources about us before they engage. In 2010 /2011 the average number of sources used doubled. Now if we are booking a dinner we check out reviews like WOMO, ask our friends on Facebook, go to our Apps. When you are considering a purchase, what sources of information do you seek to assist you with your decision?

The truth is, we decide to share whatever we experience when you are not there and we use digital channels to do that. This shared experience is what others seek out before they engage with you. This social proof is more important than anything else in shaping our opinion. We are looking for substance, personalisation and a shared experience to guide us in our decision making. This is the Informational Experience. Jagan Neman in his book The Shift calls it the Customer Knowledge Chasm.

The ShiftYour website is not enough. The future of your influence lies in the experience. The customers entire journey they have with you, online and off. Someone must take responsibility for these experiences and design and define them. Understanding the customer journey is the only way to see what it is we don’t know and what is missing. We like to call this humanising the experience.

Businesses need to monitor and assess these experiences, and ensure to craft experiences their customers enjoy. One of the key challenges facing businesses in a social economy, however, is that the behaviors of connected customers are no longer congruent with that of the traditional customers they were originally built to serve. In many organizations, customer service is still operated out of a call center; marketing is spread across multiple, yet siloed functions that follow the linear path within a traditional sales funnel; and product development follows a roadmap that looks so far ahead
that it inevitably splits from evolving customer realities and expectations.” The Future of Business

 

Biggest impact for marketers in 2013, customer centricity

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Small Business Marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

According to a research of 300+ marketers by Incite these are the key issues impacting them in 2013.

1. Customer centricity:  This is all around getting close to the customer and understanding them better. This is all

about customers able to have a meaningful impact of business practices, strategy and goals. This is the most

significant impact on roles in 2013 across both B2B and B2C.

2. Multi-channel marketing/communications: Linked closely to the previous issue, multi-channel marketing

focuses on how to integrate multiple marketing/comms channels to ensure they work in concert for an impactful,

effective, and pervasive marketing campaign. A significant 22% picked this as top priority

3. Building unique customer experiences through more personalisation/segmentation/better consumer

Biggest impact on Marketinginsight: Striving towards providing your customers with a personalised, engaging and unique relationship with

your brand. Companies are beginning to do this through the increased segmentation made possible by social

media/big data profiling, and by the proliferation of marketing/communications channels and platforms. Evidently,

from the popularity of this option, it is a challenge that executives have not overcome completely. 10% picked this

as top priority.

customer engagement level

4. Internal Collaboration: Focusing on more efficient internal collaboration between marketing and

communications, to ensure that the company speaks with a unified voice, shares insight and responds better to

consumers.7% picked this as top priority – which is significant in itself, but more so when one considers that 24%

of Communications execs said this was priority #1, and only 5% of marketers. More on that below.Customer Centricity

The ideal espoused by Bob Thompson of Customer Think is of a ‘customer-inspired’ business, which

“Thinks deeply about what customers are trying to accomplish in their business and personal lives, and create new

ways to add value before they ask”.

Companies are asking how they can change their corporate culture to be more focused on the customer. How do we listen to our customers and how do we build delightful customer experiences?

Learn more. Take our customer centricity test.

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