As you develop your marketing plan, focus on how it fits into the overall customer experience you’re creating and be sure to measure your success so you can adjust the plan as you go.
Developing a customer-centric marketing plan is essential for creating a strategy that’ll keep up with the times. By focusing on the customer, instead of the business, you’ll connect more closely with customers and truly understand the people who use your product or service.
Instead of marketing at people through ad copy alone, you can connect with them through inspiring customer experiences, helpful information to educate them on your product, and genuine connections.
Customer-centric marketing can help your business in many ways, including:
- Understanding your customers and their motivations
- Improving customer satisfaction and increasing retention
- Increasing trust and brand loyalty
In this post, we’ll cover the five areas to focus on as you map out your customer-centric marketing plan.
Five Key Pieces to a Customer-Centric Marketing Plan
Any marketing plan must include content. Create original, high-quality content that will engage, incentivize, and connect with your current customers, as well as potential customers.
While not all content will be the right fit for every customer, aim to create a collection that reaches each potential target audience in the way that makes the most sense for them.
As you plan it out, consider developing content that:
- Shares use cases, featuring real customers and their experience using your product or service,
- Tells the story of your brand, with a focus on where you’re at and where you want to be in the future, and
- Provides educational information to about your product or service to allow your customers—and potential customers—to better understand and use it.
Content that is genuinely helpful can be difficult to create if you’re not experienced in the industry you’re marketing to. In that case, pull in industry experts, rely on team-members that have more experience and share the stories of the people who actually do the work. This strategy will resonate louder than trying to fake depth and expertise.
While this might not be something the marketing team will produce any content for or handle directly, it is an important piece to understanding your customers.
Make sure your organization shares customer communication and feedback outside of the support team so that your marketers can use it to inform their decisions. Plus, if the customer support your organization provides is top-notch, you can even include a spot in your marketing plan to boast about how great they are as a reason for a new customer to give your product or service a try.
According to PwC’s 2018 Future of Customer Experience report, “42% [of customers] would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience.”
The willingness to pay more for good customer experience indicates people place a high value on service and the overall journey of their experiences with your organization.
Since customer support is the team with frequent, direct contact with the customer, they play a big part in making a positive impact, and the data they gather is invaluable to your marketing team.
Develop a way for your customers to publicly engage and interact with your team, as well as with each other. Fostering a sense of community and belonging among the people who use your product the most will increase brand loyalty and overall customer satisfaction.
Beyond their interactions with each other, including a space for them to regularly communicate with members of your team will build on the sense of community around your product. To do this, consider creating a community forum, hosting customer meetups or creating other public space for customers to interact with each other.
For best results in your community forum:
- Make sure to have some of your organization’s staff available to moderate the forum.
- Keep it active by encouraging discussion, asking for feedback, and pushing the most interesting conversations to the top.
- Be sure to show appreciation for people who choose to spend their time contributing positively to your community through rewards or incentives.
Your product and support teams can do the work that creates advocates for you. By providing a quality product or service and being there for them when they need support, you’ll create happy customers who will go out and share their love for your brand.
And since people tend to trust their friends more than reviews by unknown people, creating and focusing on the type of customer experience that leads to organic, positive mentions is priceless.
While your marketing team doesn’t necessarily have to do anything to create advocates, looking for ways to encourage and foster their sharing is essential. Not all people will naturally think to share their positive experiences with a business with their friends, so look for ways to market to them to give them the nudge they need.
Beyond recommendations from friends, the current state of the web means people with large followings on social media platforms are the next best thing for convincing people how great you are.
Develop a plan to work with influencers who make sense for your particular brand, rather than with every influencer who might be willing. Keep in mind that follower counts aren’t everything. Look for social media influencers with high engagement and the right audience for you.
If you’re new to working with influencers, consider trying out the following methods to get started:
- Engage several at the same time to get the word out about a new feature launch,
- Share their authentic stories about using your product, or
- Develop an ongoing campaign with a handful of perfectly targeted influencers to share your product in various ways over time to build long-term recognition and credibility with their audience.
Remember: the key to a successful campaign with social media influencers is identifying those who have an audience made up of your target market and see a lot of engagement from their followers. An account with five million followers posting about your product won’t do much for you if those followers don’t need or want to use it.
Creating a customer-centric marketing plan will take your marketing from the basics to the best.
From developing a community to utilizing advocates and influencers, the internet has made it easier than ever to find your audience and speak directly to them about your product.
The state of modern technology means people are more active and consistently on the web than ever before, so finding ways to forge lasting connections with them and use that for your benefit is essential to your organization’s growth and lasting success.
As you develop your marketing plan, focus on how it fits into the overall customer experience you’re creating and that it connects with people in an honest way, and be sure to measure your success so you can adjust the plan as you go.
Creating content that inspires, educates, and establishes an ongoing relationship with customers will make them happier with your product and more likely to stick around year after year.
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About the author Sarah is a freelance writer specializing in technology and customer support for Supported Content, and former Happiness Engineer at Automattic. When she’s not renovating her house in Dallas, you’ll find her baking in her (new) kitchen or reading romance novels. Find her on Instagram: @sarahblackstock.