The customers come first, last, and always in our new marketing world! We as marketers always claim to be customer centric but I believe that traditional ways of marketing limit our customer centricity. What do I mean by that?
There is a challenge that has existed in marketing for decades and that is how effective are we really being? Companies spend billions of dollars on marketing, yet it is estimated in some circles that over 80% of that money is wasted. It has no effect on the intended customer or prospect. Even worse, many successful companies fail to respond quickly to new markets as they arise. Why does this happen?
First, I would assert that in many cases there was a failure to listen to the Voice of Their Customer as the marketplace changed and then react to what that customer wanted. One very important trend that supports the need to listen to the Voice of the Customer is that customer decision making is increasingly driven by social media. Customers are out there, talking about your products, solutions, and value proposition in very open and frank ways using social media. If you then couple this with the notion that customers are doing significantly more research online it becomes critical that we as marketers are there to listen to those social media conversations and that we use what we learn in those conversations to support the research that customers are doing. That’s Point #1 in this post.
Second, we often fail as marketers to convert what we know about the customer into effective marketing that illustrates that we are listening to the customer. This can help us cut through the marketplace noise to reach that intended customer and show that we are taking their input to heart.
So what's the solution? How has the world changed so that we as marketers can overcome these two problems? The answer is that technology has evolved to such a point that we can be ruthlessly committed to customer centricity and to ensuring the marketing organization understands the Voice of The Customer and evangelizes that voice across the organization. And just as importantly to use that Voice of The Customer in your marketing. So how can we do that? Here are four ways:
So what do you think? Who are your customers? Do you understand what they are telling you? Are you reaching your target audience? Are you reacting across your entire organization to what you are finding out from your customers? Are you listening?
Let me know what you think!