Successful marketing is no longer about who can scream the loudest about their products. When this was the norm, the voice of the customer was drowned out by a cacophony of marketing mayhem.
In the past two decades, things have changed. Marketing has evolved from product-focused to customer relationship management (CRM) focused. In other words, successful marketers today have shifted their focus from their products to the people who buy them.
In addition to closing the sale, marketers now realize that they need to find ways to continue the conversation. They need accurate feedback and preferences from their customers to better understand their needs, and it also needs to be done to scale as their customer base grows.
Welcome to the era of customer centricity. Simply engaging customers is not enough anymore: You need to constantly connect with them.
Customers are using new channels to research and purchase their favorite brand products. With these new channels and the need for instant gratification, customers are not only more empowered, but more fickle in their choices.
To keep people coming back to your brand -- and evangelizing it -- marketers have to connect with them in real time to meet their needs. Take the example of “Steve,” an avid shopper and fashion enthusiast who is always keeping his eyes open for great deals on high quality, trendy clothing. While browsing his favorite website during a recent search for a new pair of shoes made by one of his favorite brands, he abandoned his shopping cart because he was was concerned how the shoes would fit.
Most retailers would send out a standard cart abandonment email and hope that the story would somehow end with a closed sale.
But that isn't enough. This passive action should be supplemented by proactive ones, such as mobile push notifications. What if the brand alerted Steve when he was near a physical store that stocks the shoes he was considering?
Show Me the Shoes
Even though you don't know the exact reasons customers abandon their carts, you might surmise that he wanted an opportunity to try them on before buying.
Once in the store, the retailer can deepen Steve’s brand intimacy with additional mobile resources such as iBeacon. This could be used to direct him straight to the shoes he was considering online while he is in the store, as well as offer in-store product suggestions based on his shopping activity.
These automated resources, paired with detailed customer data that is sent to an in-store mobile device will allow the sales associate to better assist Steve. This very same technology can be used to check him out right on the spot so that he can avoid the most deplorable part of an in-store shopping experience: the line.
In the story above, none of the action taken by the company focused on the merits of the product. Not nly would this have been a waste of resources, but it would have annoyed the customer.
By focusing your customer interactions on the customer's wants and needs, you strengthen your bond, further enhancing your ability to close the sale. This is the future of customer-centric marketing.