Why you need a customer-centric digital marketing strategy

Better understanding of your customer will improve your marketing, products, processes and bottom line

Does your business have a customer-centric digital marketing strategy? If you had to think about it, the answer is probably no. Most business owners and marketing managers I meet don’t have a clearly defined marketing strategy, let alone a customer-focused one.

In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu says, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” The noise before defeat! You may be busy and getting a lot done, but without a customer-centric strategy, you are relying on luck. That’s only going to get you so far and puts your business at undue risk.

Your strategy should start with your customer. You shouldn’t create a marketing strategy with the customer as a line item or afterthought. A business should definitely be passionate about its products or services, but nothing should come before its clients. If you truly love your clients and know them better than any of your competitors, you will be able to provide a higher level of service. Your clients will see the attention to detail and care that goes into serving them, and that will improve their satisfaction and your reputation.

A good exercise is to create an ideal customer profile that represents your most desired customer. You may need to create three or four profiles depending on your business and the variation in your customer base. An ideal customer profile should include the name of the customer. This can be made up or be based on a real customer. This in-depth profile will include demographic information such as age, sex, marital status, whether they’re a homeowner or renter, average household income and whether they have children. You also want to include psychographic information such as favorite past times; do they enjoy the symphony, or would they never be caught dead there? Are they into sports? If so, which ones? What TV shows do they watch? What other products or services do they buy? Do they drink wine, beer or liquor? Something I like to add is, what are they afraid of? What are their biggest fears, especially related to your product or service? Use this information to create a story for this mock client.

If you’re wondering how to obtain all this information, the best way is to ask some of your best customers. Let them know that your goal is to do the best job of taking care of them as you can, and it would help you out if they could tell you a little more about themselves. Your customers’ time is valuable. Thank them for doing this for you with a gift card, discount or a nice thank you of some kind.

If you’re just starting a business, or want to get local demographic information, you can use publicly available information from the census, available at www.census.gov/censusexplorer/censusexplorer.html. You can also check out a great tool from Nielsen that provides demographic information by zip code as well as profiles of the people in that area. That tool can be found at www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp?ID=20.

Once you have a clear understanding of your customers, make sure everyone in your organization has the ideal customer profiles and knows that your customers are the reason your business exists.

Developing a customer-centric digital marketing strategy will change your business for the better. By truly understanding your customer, you will not only improve your marketing, but you will improve your customer service, your product, your processes and ultimately your bottom line.

Kevin Getch is the founder and director of digital strategy for Webfor.