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Table of Contents

Introduction

Customers. They pull the strings – they decide what they need, when they need it, and how they want to interact with the brand. They are empowered, capable, research-oriented, unbiased, and unimpressed with bells and whistles that don’t help them to achieve their pre-set goals. 

The essence of customer marketing is a primary focus on marketing to your existing customers as oppose to future prospects.

Instead of trying to participate in a heavily saturated ‘pick me’ race to acquire and retain customers, listen to them. 

Understand their pain points, challenges, goals, preferences, and provide them with individual care, support, service, and resources. When you start thinking of your customers as individual entities with unique problems and preferences instead of as market segments, that’s your first step into customer-centricity.

Essentially, customer marketing strives to fulfill the needs and preferences of each individual customer and focus on their long-term success.

Like many business decisions, it’s about supply and demand. You start by analyzing and understanding their individual demands, the challenges they face, their expectations from your product, and then adjust your supply accordingly.

Leverage the customer data to glean actionable insights into these demands, and then anticipate their future needs, tailoring your supply – the value offerings, interactions, support and guidance that they are looking for at each stage of the customer lifecycle.

Why Should Marketers Adopt Customer Marketing Right Now?

For customer marketing to work, it can’t be thought of as an approach. It should be seen as a whole new mindset, and the entire organization, alongside all of its functional divisions needs to adopt this attitude. It doesn’t just belong to marketing, or to customer success, it’s crucial for the success of the entire organization. 

 

Think about customer experience as a give-and-take process. Your customers expect unparalleled personalized service from you in return for their loyalty. And in this scenario, loyalty doesn’t just mean that they won’t jump ship to your competition. It means they will spend more, offer advocacy, buy into upsell opportunities, and spread the word about how great you are as a business. It doesn’t get more win/win than that. 

 

Another benefit is that you eliminate trial and error from your marketing initiatives. Instead, customer needs are known and you can easily match them to a solution. No more expensive campaigns that lead nowhere. Instead, say hello to better efficiency to generate a good ROI, and a perfect balance between low marketing cost and loyal and engaged customers. 

According to Deloitte, companies that practice customer-centricity are 60% more profitable than those that do not. 

67% of customer churn is preventable if the customer issue is resolved at first engagement. 

93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ie/Documents/Strategy/2014_customer_centricity_deloitte_ireland.pdf 

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772?guccounter=1

https://blog.hubspot.com/news-trends/customer-acquisition-study

Practical Steps to Introduce a Culture of Customer Marketing in Your Organization

Centralize customer data

The “single view of the customer” is instrumental in ensuring frictionless engagement and the exchange of crucial information. Establish a single pane of glass across all your functional divisions, sharing customer insights, progress, activities, and behavior signals. Remove siloed processes, and connect all the touchpoints – from the very first interaction through all the journey milestones.

Track and analyze customer behavior

With one centralized point of data, you can track emerging behavior patterns, spot sharp changes in customer sentiment or even inactivity. All available data should be collated, from direct interactions, to product performance or changes in the administration to get a clear picture of the health of the account.

Segment your product users

Use an advanced customer profiling mechanism to identify similar customer traits and behavior patterns based on your preset rules – demographics, activity history, industry, job roles, and more, and then create segments accordingly. Devise a centralized strategy for each of your customer cohorts to avoid any friction in the process and ensure a cohesive journey.

Personalize customer interactions

Align your engagement strategy to the customer journey map to boost product adoption and ensure success. Pinpoint customer needs at each stage of their journey and introduce relevant and timely content, activities, and tailored engagement opportunities.

Add real value

Engagement for engagement’s sake will only get you a few likes on social channels, it won’t produce any substantial result. Instead, start by educating your customers. Provide useful resources, training materials, and guides. Keep them in the loop, even including them in the product building process.

Create a closed feedback loop

Leverage customer feedback from actual product users to enrich your product quality at the same time as user experience. Reach out with feedback forms, satisfaction surveys, and Net Promoter Score surveys systematically, and then analyze the responses and ensure that the feedback reaches the right departments. Don’t forget to follow up with customers to inform them of your actions against the feedback.

Collaborate

Collaborate with your customers to create targeted and relevant content, not only to influence new customers but also to build better relationships with the existing ones. The resources you provide during their journey to success will help you convert customers into loyal brand advocates.

Measure and qualify customer actions

Think of this process as cyclical. Analyze the results of your marketing campaigns to understand the impact it has on the behavior of your customers. The insights you get from these reports will help you not only to measure the ROI of your initiatives, but also to optimize your campaigns for better performance.

https://blog.crowdvocate.com/turn-your-b2b-community-product-users-into-advocates-in-4-easy-steps

8 Pillars of Customer Marketing

The way we see it, there are 8 pillars to customer marketing. We’ll go into depth on each of them, but it may help to see it as a a visualisation first: 

1. Onboarding and Adoption

2. Events & User Groups, CAB

3. Community

4. Customer Advocacy

5. VoC / Feedback

6. Reference Management

7. Customer Lifecycle Marketing

8. MarCom

The Importance of Customer Engagement

There is a radical shift in the customer marketing landscape. The customer journey isn’t linear anymore. The textbook funnel marketing tactics do not always work, and most of your customers do not go through the stages you learned about in business school. 

 

In contrast, a single review from an influential client or even an off-the-record comment from one can have a drastic impact on the customer mindset.

That’s why your most valuable marketing targets are right there already, using your product. You want your customers to be telling your story.

Retaining a customer on their journey and keeping them engaged throughout their lifecycle is a massive task, one that requires empathy, consideration, understanding, meticulous analysis, vigilance, and most importantly, a personal human touch.

 

Engaging for engagement’s sake doesn’t really help anyone’s case. Complex customer journeys call for a much subtler, and more realistic approach. Each interaction needs to be meaningful, relevant, timely, and hyper-personalized. Customer engagement is the complete opposite to disruptive marketing – you are not fighting for their attention, instead, you already have it, and through that – you are nurturing deeper, long-term relationships with them based on mutual trust and transparency.

The objective of customer engagement is to earn trust and credibility by educating and nurturing the customer, providing them with the exact information they need when they need it, guiding them throughout their journey, and delivering an exceptional personalized experience for their consideration and delight.

Successful customer engagement marketing can reduce acquisition costs, churn rate, boost customer involvement and product development, enrich post-sales experience and service.

It can provide you with the means to get an accurate understanding of customer health and loyalty by tracking behavior outside of faceless financial transactions. A well-thought-out strategy gives you the rare opportunity to bond with your customer base on a much deeper level.

59% of customers say tailored engagement based on interactions is very important to them.  

B2B companies retain fully engaged customers more than others by 27%.

https://www.salesforce.com/research/customer-expectations/#

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236195/why-best-b2b-leaders-customer-appraisals-during.aspx?g_source=link_NEWSV9&g_medium=TOPIC&g_campaign=item_&g_content=Why%2520the%2520Best%2520B2B%2520Leaders%2520Do%2520Customer%2520Appraisals%2520During%2520M%26A

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