Customer Centricity Should Always be Paramount

With so much discussion around social media tools, platforms, and communities we it’s easy to forget that strategy drives success online.

Customer centricity is sometimes used as a catchall phrase referring to feedback or customer service.  But making the customer happy is only half the issue even when you are building online programs.  To succeed online or offline it is essential to understand the customers’ needs to insure the right strategies, processes, and marketing efforts culminate in the measurement of improved KPIs.

Communicating with customers online requires a lot of resources to ensure data-driven results meet the expectations of the marketing and communications leadership in a company.  Engaging with customers is essential to grow communities and enable influencers are presenting the company brand appropriately.

The chart above shows the following as an example of constant improvement of messaging.

  • SEARCH – Good research enables successfuloutcomes. Identify customer profiles by common interest to ensure viral communities prosper.
  • IDEA – Generate innovative ideas that are unique to your organization and differentiate relationship to stakeholders.
  • PLAN – Create content that is customer-centric and follows a schedule or media calendar with unique and relevant material.
  • ACTION – Create benchmarks for success and continue to measure KPIs that are in line with the sales and marketing organization’s goals.
  • TARGET – Continue to refine stakeholder needs through continued assessment of company’s goals, market position, and competitive threats.

There is no short cut to getting it right

Customer growth and the approach that drives it is not accomplished with a catchy slogan or tagline. Companies must realize it’s the customers’ behaviors and attitudes need to drive internal processes  to create a cultural progress in the organization. By aligning insightful customer data with communications and operational processes, and identifying opportunities for true value, a company can drive sustainable results.

In the end, you have to prove it with good data. If you aren’t tracking your social media performance, you’ll end up wasting time because you are guessing what might be working with your customers without quantitative data. That means wasting money and resources and losing tons of opportunities to engage with the stakeholders you need.  Even worse, you end up hurting your brand image by  not delivering what your stakeholders want – because you simply don’t know what it is.

Don’t operate in a silo – do an analysis of your competitors.  Brittany Berger has a great blog “The 5-Minute Media Competitive Analysis” that offers great insight into data reporting. Gathering this type of analysis will ensure you are looking at the pool of potential customers, not just the stakeholders your sales people focus on for quota.

Processes and data never came naturally to me, but once you dig in you will find it is a lot less scary and complicated than you think.  The key is figuring out what matters most and what metrics will lead to lead generation and growth in your marketing plan. Using social media is not  change as much as progress.  The scattershot days of throwing out customer ads to see what sticks are over.  Now more than ever, customer-centricity is within grasp for everyone regardless of the size of the organization.

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