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customer centric

Customer Centric Marketing is the new competitive advantage for Small Businesses

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

Customers mean a lot more to us as small business owners than large corporates. We know our clients names, we understand their businesses and we ask lots of questions. Well we should!

Customer-centric marketing means to fulfill all the needs and wants of each customer with a passion to succeed, and doing it with a smile. Customer centric marketing focuses on understanding the problems, concerns, needs and wants of your customer not yours.

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Kenneth B. Elliott, Vice President of Sales, Studebaker Motor Corp., 1941.

While large businesses battle with how to engage with customers across their large complicated systems and processes, small businesses can embrace technology and create meaningful touch points that create trust and transparency.

We can learn a lot about our customers quickly. As we learn about each customer we can fulfil their needs and wants and they will tell others how we made them happy. We can share ideas and create solutions that are tailored made easily. We can add value to our to clients with out adding cost. Customer centric marketing assumes nothing. It is based on understanding and insight from the customer perspective. It is about having an intimate relationship with your ideal customer and working together.

Customer centric marketing starts with the customer not the product or service.It focuses on the customer’s situation and how they do their job, their business needs, the pain they’re experiencing, the root causes of the pain from their perspective, and how they can solve the problem.

Every touch point: website, white paper, offer has the customer’s needs at the centre of it. How can we assist them in their search for the answer to their current concerns. How can we educate, provide support, entertain. If we do this with the right intent we will earn trust.  Unlike larger companies, we smaller companies don’t need to create buyer persona’s to understand our customers. We know them. However we do have to continue to engage them and ask how we can serve them better.

Being customer centric is a culture and based on priorities.The number one priority of a customer centric company is that the customer comes before revenue generation with the understanding that this focus will create great growth and profit over time. Everyone has to be onboard with this focus or it won’t work. Can everyone in your company list the customers top wish list? Customer centric is a core value and mission of these sort of companies. Everyone has how they contribute to the customer experience at the heart of everything they do.

To learn more about our customer centric workshop go here.

Think Like A Customer

By | Customer experience, Customer Insight, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

We believe there is no more important approach to your marketing than a customer centric one!

Analyst Anthony Mullen from Forrester explains it well,

“If you are delighting consumers then you have all the time in the world with them but if you are frustrating them then each second is torture they will want to pay you back for. Freedom of information and publishing means that customers know what standards can be expected and are tooled up to take a social hatchet to brands that abuse their privilege.  Getting the customer experience right and respecting consumers time is a survival imperative.”

Customer Centric Marketing is all about creating a brand and a culture that focuses on the customer. All decisions are made in light of what is best for the customer, but not just any customer, your ideal customer. You can only create a delightful, “wow” experience for the customer if you create touch points for the customer to feel your brand along their journey with you. These touch points should be deliberate, tweaked, measured and everyone in the companies responsibility.

To book a customer centric workshop here.

Thoughtleaders in Customer Centric methodology

Jeanne Bliss – Customer Bliss

Bill Self Customer 3D

Symplicit – customer mapping, personnas

Strativity – customer experience Wow brands e-book

The DiJulius Group – Customer experience

John Spence – building high performing teams

Innovation Management – creating innovations with customers

Co-creating foundation

Co-creation as a business strategy

By | Customer experience, Customer Insight, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Back in 2009 I wrote an article about the intersection of CRM and social media. Basically,to summarise, I wrote about the customer driving their engagement with us as small businesses and the need to engage with them in the appropriate mediums that they choose to use. I also wanted to see some more aggregation of the listening touch-points we have via CRM/Social  (SCRM), so we can get closer to our customers and use this information to be involved in their conversations.

Jump forward to 2012/13 and as Paul Greenberg states “that we are now at a point that the customers’ expectations are so great and their demands so empowered that our SCRM business strategy needs to be built around collaboration and customer engagement, not traditional operational customer management.” It is less about transaction and more about interaction.

The disconnect I still see, is while customers have become in control of how they interact with us, we still are yet to make leap to map our goals to that of the customer needs and concerns with the solutions our products or services provide. We don’t make their agenda important. The end result is we are still in the large part transactional or commodity based businesses not partners or loved brands.

Examples of how we make the customer an intrinsic part of our business ecosystem  Paul Greenberg lists as follows:

 

“It can mean anything from customers and the company collaborating on product development, to customer suggestions on how to improve a company process, to customers helping other customers solve customer service issues, to even doing what gamers do and modifying game play using tools for scenario creation which adds value to the game. Co-creation is the ability of the company and customer to create additional value for each other – what form it takes is not always THE BIG THING.”

Co-creation is one example where we as small businesses can help the engagement with our customers.

 

Examples of co-creation is Amazon with reviews of books,  Nike in the design of shoes. Solosso is a leader in co-creation for men’s wear, making it possible for their customers to create high-quality custom dress shirts

that are perfect just for them, and do it for a reasonable price. Threadless is the same concept. At Threadless.com customers can send in their own t-shirt designs, which are subsequently voted on by the other custo

mers and visitors to the site. The winning design is then printed and sold as a newly created item/product. Again, consumers have a direct participation in and influence on the final outcome of the product development process. By the way, the winning design is rewarded with a cash prize as well as other benefits. Now this concept has moved into different product offerings including iphone case design. Keepcup does the same design concept online.

“The four types of co-creation

  • Club of experts: A very specific challenge is needing expertise and breakthrough ideas. Contributors are found through a selection process. Quality of input is what counts (e.g. Nokia)
  • Crowd of people: Also known as Crowdsourcing. For any given challenge, there might be a person out there having a genial idea that should be given a podium. It’s the Rule of the big numbers (e.g.Threadless)
  • Coalition of parties: In complex situations parties team up to share ideas and investments. Technical breakthroughs and standards often happen when multiple parties collaborate (e.g. IBM)
  • Community of kindred spirits: When developing something for the greater good, a group of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create (e.g. Linux)”

My favorite by far at the moment is Ikea for Business. What a long awaited idea. I want to design my space, pick it and get it delivered! Hooray Ikea you are listening. Great case study examples too!

Chris Lawer for the P2P foundation puts why we should consider co-creation carefully as a small business,

“Co-Creation is therefore just a natural way for organisations to help their customers meet their goals in the lifetime of use of their products. But they can only do so if they embrace a different view of value and start building back from the customer’s view of value, not the firm’s.”

How can you co-create with your customers? It can be a small step first. Even asking for feedback will spark some ideas. Ask your employees and brainstorm how you can co-create with your customers today.

Businesses are from Mars and customers are from Venus

By | Branding, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

A major issue all businesses face is that of changing their internal measures and focus from that of what they need to be successful to that of thinking like their customers so they can solve their problems better and deliver a superior experience. These mindsets are in conflict and the internal pressures of running a business often give way to only thinking about costs and sales which creates less visibility to trying to innovate, look at customer aspirations and developing a truly differentiated experience.

It is really a catch22. The more internal a company becomes, the more internal measures then I propose the more likely they are to deliver a vanilla or commoditised customer experience and as such likely to resort to cost cutting. On the other hand the more innovative, customer centric and in-touch with their customers a company is the more differentiated and likely they are to create memorable experiences for customers and thus the more they can charge. This video featuring Lior Arussy, Strativity Group President explains it well.

How do we reconcile the external forces of running our businesses and being customer centric?

Sample: Principles of Customer Experience from Strativity Group on Vimeo.

Understanding and mapping out the customer buying path or touch points with your team is a good starting point.

Start with the customer to make your online marketing effective

By | Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

It might seem obvious the it is always the hardest conversation I have with small business owners is around their customers. Narrow your focus down to those ideal customers that your services is made for. This means not everyone with a pulse. Tom Fishburne cartoon is a common scenario I see when I chat with business owners. There is a tendency to want to attract everyone and by default, you attract no-body.

Everything becomes easier when you have focus. So many small businesses are now trying to grapple with online marketing. They ask me, “should I be doing adwords, social media, email marketing, Facebook” etc. It always comes back to who is your target customers and where do they hang out? Are they using social media? What words are they typing into google to find your services.

Online marketing can be very affordable and is a necessary part of your marketing. Let’s face it, we all use google to search online, we are all shopping online and we are all seeking out recommendations online before we buy. If your small business doesn’t have an online strategy then you are invisible. Talk to us about how we can support you with a digital marketing strategy today. One that suits your budget and gets results.

 

Quote from E-Myth

“If you have identity issues, if you, as the leader, don’t know who you are and what values you stand for, what do you think the likelihood is that your business will suffer from the same identity disorder?

Look at yourself. Do you want to be liked by everyone? Have you not taken the time to understand who you are as a leader and what values you represent? If this describes you, then root out the assumptions and beliefs at play here. Dive into yourself and discover the unique ‘you’ that has come into existence to bring value to the world. Now, do the same sort of inquiry for your business. Discover your true business identity, and then watch as the right customers are magnetically attracted to your clear brand promise. Don’t worry about alienating some. Focus on those who you can best serve, and see your business grow exponentially towards your dreams.”

I’m the customer and I don’t have to do anything.

By | branding, customer centric marketing, Customer Insight | No Comments

Now it is touted that up to 85% of the buyers journey is done without you, the seller. As the customer I don’t have to do anything.buyers journey

“In fact, the marketer who really understands how the game is played now knows that marketing, and really all business, has been flipped around — the customer is now in control of what they hear, where they hear it and whether or not they choose to engage. They are conducting their own research before making purchases, their ability to talk about your brand has an almost unlimited reach, and as a marketer it’s imperative to understand how your audience wants to engage.” Marketingdrive.com

Here is a great video from Brand Matters about how a brand can be human:

What are you doing to personalise and engage with your customers?

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