A customer-centric culture is one that puts the customer (of course) front and center in every facet of the business: from marketing and sales to product development and customer service.
And the reasons to build a customer-centric culture in today’s business landscape are many.
Customers who are “well-understood and -served” are reportedly 643% more likely to be satisfied than those who feel somewhat or entirely ignored by brands from which they buy.
And with that high customer satisfaction comes greater customer loyalty: Satisfied buyers are 713% more likely to keep purchasing from a business than dissatisfied consumers.
Customer-centric organizations aren’t constructed overnight, though. Nor are they built by one team.
Rather, it takes everyone within the organization to help build relationships with its core audience, turn those consumers into happy shoppers and subscribers, and retain those customers over the long run.
In addition to working cross-departmentally and building new processes, businesses of all kinds need one particular type of technology to achieve true customer centricity: a customer data platform.
Evaluating customer-centric cultures (and why brands fail)
Before we delve into why a CDP is essential to execute customer-centric marketing, let’s address (and answer) the obvious questions: “What is customer centricity? What does customer-centric mean?”
It’s not just everyday marketers and sales reps asking these questions today. Even executives at some of the biggest brands around want to know what it truly means to have a customer-centric company — one that prioritizes (or even predicts) the wants and needs of its many buyers and prospects.
Instead of providing a basic customer-centric definition, let’s explore why so many companies — from early-stage startups to ecommerce conglomerates — often fail with their customer-focused strategies.
Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do, put it best in an article for Harvard Business Review:
- “Why do so many companies struggle to get customer centricity right? The volume, velocity, and variety of customer data that now exists overwhelms many organizations. Some companies don’t have the systems and technology to segment and profile customers. Others lack the processes and operational capabilities to target them with personalized communications and experiences.”
Translation: Many businesses just don’t have the right technological investments in place to support a customer-centric marketing strategy and, in turn, a customer-centric culture.
And that’s what makes the customer data platform such a valuable commodity for brands today.
Understanding your customers: Behaviors, wants, and needs
Each and every individual has her own unique reasons for buying from a brand: convenience, price, quality, reviews — the list of factors that influence consumer purchases is a long one.
There are plenty of ways for modern marketing teams to discover what causes their most valuable customers — those with high average order values or frequent purchases — to keep coming back.
But your best bet to understand what leads to satisfied buyers — and, in turn, indicators as to whether your company has a customer-centric culture — is to examine their customer journeys:
- How often they browse your website, open your app, and engage with your emails
- Which marketing activities lead to purchases (e.g., targeted ads, real-time messaging)
- Their post-purchase experience (e.g., if they left a review or filled out an NPS survey)
Your martech stack — CRM, survey tools, analytics platforms — is the source of all of this customer information. But a CDP amplifies the value of that data by bringing it all together so you can you can see (and activate) all of this data in a single location.
That makes it far easier for you to:
- Evaluate the customer experience for high-value buyers (i.e., what their browsing and buying habits indicate about their satisfaction and propensity to remain loyal)
- Determine what causes previous patrons to stop purchasing or subscribing (e.g., tactics and techniques implemented that were seeming turn-offs to customers)
- Plan new or revised approaches to connect with and convert customers (e.g., refined real-time messaging to particular segments or individuals based on their activity)
Gaining insights into what matters to your buyers — competitive pricing, high-quality website UI/UX, top-tier customer service — is how you can differentiate your business from your biggest competitors.
For instance, follow-up surveys to certain buyer segments — those who buy often or high-priced items, new or one-time buyers, people who haven’t purchased in more than 30 days, etc. — via on-site dialogues, like those BlueConic provide, can inform how you adjust various facets of your digital marketing: messaging timing, deals offered, product location on-site, and other core elements.
Once these responses are updated in each customer’s CDP profile, you’ll have an even greater understanding of what works and needs adjustment in your overarching strategy.
A customer data platform allows you to quickly and efficiently discover these insights at any given time, activate them accordingly in your online and offline channels, and share them with other teams within your organization who can benefit from them in their respective roles.
Mastering customer-centric marketing with a pure-play CDP
When you hear the term “customer-centric marketing,” you might automatically (and justifiably) assume the success of such an approach lies entirely on you and your marketing team.
First and foremost, you need leadership to provide your team (and all others within your organization) with the proper martech investments that allow you develop a customer-focused strategy.
The ideal customer-centric approach factors in buyer behaviors and brand sentiments — ideally acquired through consented first-party data — and informs future messaging and campaigns.
An eConsultancy and Google survey shows exactly why first-party data has become the quintessential resource for brands looking to build customer-centric cultures today:
- 92% of the top marketers said it’s “critical to their growth” to regularly investigate first-party data and discover what customers think about their brands.
- Leading businesses are 72% more likely than the non-leading brands to strongly agree that improving first-party data quality and quantity is crucial.
- 57% of marketing leaders indicated first-party data secured through owned channels is the key to “being a truly data-driven organization.”
There are thousands of marketing tech vendors that offer organizations like yours the ability to store and organize first-party data. But it’s only the CDP that allows you to do all that and activate it with ease.
Thus, it’s best to make a business case to leadership for the platform over legacy systems.
Once you have a CDP in place to aid your customer-centric marketing approach, you can:
- Achieve the single customer view by unifying all data in dynamically updated profiles
- Segment those individuals based on various criteria, like products and services bought
- Develop predictive models to understand churn propensity and customer lifetime value
Like most businesses today, B2C or B2B, your progress and success with customer-centric marketing makes the jobs of your non-marketing colleagues significantly easier.
Prioritizing customer service to boost CX and satisfaction
A CDP can not only provide you with often-hyped, but nonetheless crucial 360-degree view of customers, but also ease the output required of your service or support team.
Take BlueConic customer RAEN Optics. The company streamlined its checkout process for a Black Friday campaign using dynamic display messages that guided buyers through the purchase process.
The results? Substantial sales (33% greater than the year before, in fact) and zero issues reported from its audience regarding how they could take advantage of the deal in the discounted time frame:
- “Our customer service team didn’t receive a single email or call from customers confused about how to get the promotion. This had been a problem for us in the past before we began using BlueConic.” — RAEN Optics Digital Marketing Manager Steven Johnson
Optimized channels, tactics, and campaigns based on first-party data stored in a centralized database: That’s just one avenue to better customer-centric selling and make the lives of your service and support reps considerably less stressful — especially around the hectic holiday season, which is usually an important period for many B2C brands in terms of meeting target revenue goals.
And while marketers are meant to own customer data platforms top to bottom, that doesn’t mean customer service reps can’t contribute some of their own first-party data to the system. With no field limits and the ability to bring in a variety of data, a tool like BlueConic can only increase in value with additional data points collected.
By integrating CLV files from their support software into their CDPs, service reps can enhance the dynamic profiles for all customers within their unified database, providing even more pertinent details regarding buyers and subscribers that can make their marketing counterparts’ jobs easier.
Improving customer relationship marketing with a leading CDP
As noted, achieving a true customer-centric culture doesn’t happen instantaneously for brands. It takes a team effort within a given organization — and it starts at the very top:
“Customer centricity is both an art and a science,” columnist Ben Davis wrote for Marketing Week. “User research is required, leaders need to champion the customer, and organizational structure needs to ensure product-centric teams do not result in a disjointed customer journey.”
Once leadership has bought into the idea and benefits of customer centricity not just as an idea the company should buy into, but one that can impact and inform every department to offer the best CX possible to their audience, they’ll slowly but surely see the effects of their efforts on their bottom lines.
After this buy-in, all that’s needed is the right technology to execute this strategy.
While everyone within your business can profit in some way, shape, or form from a CDP, it’s marketing technology that is, unsurprisingly, meant to be owned and operated by marketing.
Your C-suite may have begun to put the pieces into place for a customer-centric culture. Now it’s on you and your marketing team to inform them how the tech is crucial to implement such a culture.