How are you marketing your business products and services?
Let us take a wild guess.
You’re presenting all your value propositions in the target market with a list of benefits and features that your competition is not offering. In simpler words, you’re positioning yourself as the hero in the market who is out there to save the customers from their day-to-day issues.
And that’s exactly where you’re going wrong.
While being the superhero of the story does seem appealing to one, it isn’t as compelling for the other to join in on the same. After all, who wants to be a sidekick all the time?
Most businesses today make the mistake of pitching themselves as the hero of the story to market their products and services. Then they try to make their target audience listen to it and expect them to convert on their storytelling skills.
But that’s not want the customer wants. What the customer wants, is to be the hero of your story. He wants the entire storyline to revolve around him, his background, his problems and how he overcomes it all!
Are you being the hero of the story?
If you have been marketing your products and services with lines like ‘our company has been an industry leader for decades’, ‘our product solves..’,’we promise to deliver..’ and similar lines, then you have been the hero of the story all this while.
Knowing the difference
It is important that marketers understand the difference between a brand centric and a customer centric approach to storytelling. And there is a very fine line between the two.
Here’s an example that will help you understand the difference:
“We helped brand1 get more customers for their product by doing this, this and that.” – this is you being the hero of the story.
“We worked with brand1 to help them get more customers. If you’re interested, we could tell you how.” – this is putting yourself as the storyteller of the story in which your customer was the hero.\
According to Kapost, only 23% of B2B marketers claim that their marketing strategies are customer centric in nature. These are businesses that prefer focussing on what they do, what they offer and how they can grow, instead of entering an unknown and changing territory – knowing what the customer demands.
With content marketing riding the high waves, such businesses are actually losing their target market acquisition opportunities by tipping slightly towards being ignorant.
How to go from ignorant to customer centric
1. Identify who your real audience is
The first and foremost thing to when strategising around a customer, is to know the customer. Identify who your audience, where they are from, what they are looking for, what you can offer them and how, and what make them convert on your proposition.
Stepping into your customer’s shoe is the only way to think and know them. And that’s the only way you can craft the role of this character in your story.
List out data points that would define them – characteristics, location, industry, age, needs, pain points, goals, purchase triggers and more. Based on these data points, create fictional characters called personas. These personas should effectively help you understand the different segments of your audience.
2. Find harmony between marketing, sales and customer service
The marketing, sales and customer service teams are never really sitting together – unless it is the D day where they are expected to show numbers, blame each other for mistakes and then go back to doing there thing. This is a common problem, but it needs to be fixed immediately.
Bring all the teams together to be able to understand your customers, the market waters and their changing needs better. A marketing representative can get everyone up-to-speed with the personas according to market data, the sales representative can test the same data and identify the loopholes in market acquisition and the customer service representatives can give inputs on how exactly the customer is feeling, and what would make it better.
It should all fit like a well strategised puzzle, if you want results.
3. Ensure happy brand representatives
According to the Harvard Business Review, happy employees are your best bet to success in the market. They are 31% more productive and generate 37% more sales when they are actively engaged with the company, and constantly motivated.
Understand the role of each of your employees in your market acquisition strategy and then nurture them it those roles to perform. Ensure they are trained, on-boarded and constantly kept in loop thereafter. Inculcate the feeling of them having to think that each of their actions adds up to a common goal.
4. Make user generated content your friend
After you’ve made your employees happier, time to move back into them making your customers happy. User generated content is deemed as your hero when it comes to effectively engaging your customers and growing your business.
Identify how and where your customers can contribute to your strategy. Plan out campaigns and programs that encourage them to take part and ‘make you better’. When planned well, user generated campaigns are said to not just boost the brand’s awareness, but also its sales because people trust people over sales pitches.
For instance, we love how Coca Cola had planned their #ShareACoke campaign on Instagram.
5. Never forget feedbacks
The one thing that most businesses forget is that the market needs are changing at the blink of an eye. You need to constantly be listening to the changing waters, identify how your market has changed and optimize your acquisition strategies.
One of the best ways to understand how your market has changed is to get feedback from your customers. Feedback gives you first hand reviews of how the customer is current using your product, what he thinks is required to make it better and what other options are now available to him in the market.
So keep your feedbacks well recorded and always set aside time for social listening. You need to know what your superhero is talking about in his circles!
And let the customers save the day!
When you put together all the above stated practices, what you will have is a customer centric marketing strategy that you now need to execute to the T!
Remember to monitor your results consistently and optimize each of your campaigns according to market performance – don’t take the ‘set it and forget it’ approach.