How to Make the Customer the Hero of Your Story
by Courtney Feairheller
A common mistake companies make in marketing efforts is positioning their company or product as the hero of the story. You may want to don the cape, drive the Batmobile, and kick the villain’s butt (and who could blame you?), but most brands overlook the interests of customers when they focus on themselves.
The harsh reality is that your customers don’t care about your company or products – they only care about how you’ll meet their needs. If you want your customers to buy your products or services, your marketing should revolve around your customer and their challenges.
According to Kapost, only 23% of B2B marketers claim to have a customer-centric marketing strategy versus a channel- or product-centric strategy. Rather than stepping outside the expertise comfort zone of their offerings, these B2B companies would rather stick to what they know and focus all marketing efforts on what they have to offer versus the more important issue of how they can meet the demands and needs of their audience. What they neglect to realize however is that this self-serving strategy minimizes golden opportunities to connect with their target market and buyer personas.
When your customer plays the starring role in your marketing efforts, they feel appreciated and are more likely to download your content, follow you on social media, fill out a contact form, and (you guessed it!) make a purchase. Research has shown thatcustomer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on the customer. On the same note, McKinsey found that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they have been treated.
But building a customer-centric mindset won’t happen overnight. Before you execute a successful customer-centric marketing strategy, you need to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly customer-focused.
What is a customer-centric company?
First things first, what does it even mean to be a customer-centric company? It’s not just about offering exceptional customer service; it also means assisting the customer through every stage of the buyer’s journey, from the awareness and researching stage to the final stages of decision-making and even after their purchase is complete. A customer-centric company educates their customers and helps them make an educated buying decision.
When you commit to customer-centricity, you’re placing the customer at the center of all your decisions and strategic planning. You’re creating a positive customer experience by focusing on their needs more than your profit margins. Your top priority should be making their lives easier by answering their burning questions, providing educational content or suggesting a specific solution once they’ve indicated they’re ready and open for recommendations.
A great example of a customer-centric company is Amazon. Amazon consistently delights their customer base by developing products and making decisions according to their customers’ needs and wants. While customer reviews are on nearly every site nowadays, Amazon was the first to display these reviews. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, wanted to do more than just sell products; he wanted to “help customers make purchase decisions.”
Another company that demonstrates a customer-centric strategy is Apple. Apple actually models their customer service features after the hospitality industry; think,Genius Bar as the concierge. Apple is constantly on top of meeting their customers’ needs. In fact, they directly answer their customers’ emails; CEO Tim Cook has even claimed to personally answer emails daily. They let their customers know that they are appreciated by going above and beyond standard expectations for customer service.
Companies devoted to customer-centricity are there when customers need them, not only when it’s convenient for them. They provide their customers with information and access to products or accounts 24/7. USAA, for instance, was the first to create an app that would allow their customers to make deposits via their iPhone and also to send updates on account balances via text message. They empower customers to receive timely updates on their finances, and, therefore, improve customer satisfaction.