The long and winding road to customer centric marketing

While attempting to navigate a well known restaurant booking site, I found it a rather frustrating user experience. I was struck by one particular feature, that far from being an accidentally obtuse piece of UX, is deliberate, and that makes it even worse in my book.

The restaurants recommended to me first are of course the sponsored ones, and are all either astronomically expensive (especially for a Thursday evening), or all the way in the centre of London, or both. Having just travelled from the centre of London for date night, it’s hardly likely I’ll be hopping back on the tube to satisfy a dining apps poor excuse for an algorithm.

The lesson I wish they would take on board, if only the business model wasn’t so precarious, is that if you try to push your customers to buy what you want them to buy rather than what they want to buy, it’s not going to go well. And I’ll eat somewhere else (as indeed I went ahead and did).

This, incidentally, is why streaming platforms have been so wildly successful, you watch what you want when you want, not when the broadcaster wants you to watch it.

Push the fish, it’s about to turn

This mindset permeates much of the marketing I see today, both outbound and inbound real-time, both below and above the line, since the upsell I see in so much messaging is almost without exception, either something very expensive, or a SKU that needs shifting from their books (if not their actual warehouse).

“Push the fish, its about to turn” – unnamed restaurant manager.

It’s an approach that is about as far as you can get from customer centric marketing, one of the buzz phrases often thrown around but often not well understood, let alone lived and breathed.

So what should brands be considering in customer-centric marketing?

  1. Understand Your Audience: Take the time to truly understand your customers’ preferences, behaviours, and needs.
  2. Personalisation: Tailor your offerings and recommendations to each individual customer, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  3. Transparency: Be transparent about your recommendations and avoid pushing products or services solely for profit.
  4. Feedback Loop: Establish a feedback mechanism to continuously improve your offerings based on customer input.
  5. Value Proposition: Ensure that your offerings provide genuine value to the customer, aligning with their desires and expectations.
  6. Accessibility: Make it easy for customers to access and engage with your brand, whether it’s through user-friendly interfaces or convenient service options.
  7. Empowerment: Empower customers to make informed decisions by providing them with relevant information and options.
  8. Long-Term Relationships: Focus on building long-term relationships with customers, rather than short-term gains.
  9. Ethical Considerations: Consider the ethical implications of your marketing tactics and prioritise the well-being of your customers.
  10. Adaptability: Be willing to adapt and evolve your strategies based on changing customer preferences and market dynamics.

By prioritising these aspects of customer-centric marketing, brands can foster loyalty, satisfaction, and ultimately, sustainable success. The road from business-centric to customer-centric marketing is long and winding, with many false starts that tend to lead back to business-centric approach. For a review of your Customer Journeys to see if you are heading in the right direction, why not get in touch.

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