Any modern marketer knows there’s so much more to creating compelling campaigns than meets the eye. While it might seem simple enough to create content, ads, or sales funnels, they all fall flat if you don’t put your customer first. A customer-driven marketing strategy focuses on the overall customer experience to create substantial, genuine, long-term growth.
More importantly, the truth is in the numbers. Companies that focus on customers above all are 60% more profitable than those that don’t. Blindly pushing publish on campaigns and hoping for the best doesn’t cut it anymore. The most successful companies are the ones that understand the needs of their customers and how to make them feel valued.
However, a customer-driven marketing strategy won’t appear out of thin air. Simply put, this type of strategy puts your customers’ needs first. Every business in today’s world could benefit from a customer-driven marketing strategy. By understanding the true needs and expectations of your target audience—and checking in with them regularly—you build a strong, future-proof business.
Now that you know what a customer-driven market strategy is, how do you build your own? In this guide, we’ll highlight 7 keys to a successful strategy you can adopt today.
1. Build detailed buyer personas.
To begin, you need to understand your buyer persona. This is the foundation of any marketing strategy, especially one that’s focused on customers first. Your marketing is all about this audience. You better make sure you’re actually communicating with them effectively!
A buyer persona is a clear description of your ideal customer. You might have several personas, and each should include demographics, needs, frustrations, and lifestyle. The more you understand who you’re speaking to with your marketing efforts, the better you’ll be heard.
Next steps: Define your buyer persona by researching segments of your existing audience or prospective audience. What do they look like and what are their needs? Not sure where to begin? Speak to your customer-facing employees.
2. Create a funnel that meets your audience.
From there, it’s time to make sure your funnel actually is designed with your target audience in mind. Once you’ve created a product that your audience is interested in, you’re ready to talk strategy. Your value proposition needs to be entirely designed around your audience, their needs, and your competitive advantage.
- How will you stand out from similar products/services?
- What customer needs are you meeting?
- How will you address customer concerns throughout your sales roadmap?
Your market fit isn’t something that magically falls into place. It has to be designed intentionally, and these questions will get you there. You might also need multiple funnels depending on your specific audience segment. This is why buyer personas are so valuable.
Next steps: Remember your customer’s journey to map the steps from awareness, interest, desire, and action. This is how you build real superfans!
3. Learn from customer feedback.
Third, customer feedback has never been more important. With a reported 52% of people around the globe believing companies need to take action on feedback, now isn’t the time to stand still. When you build feedback into your customer journey, you create a path forward for both the customer experience and overall marketing.
How can you learn from customer feedback? It’s simpler than you think: ask your customers how they feel frequently throughout multiple touchpoints. From surveys to contact forms, make sure you’re putting feedback on a pedestal. While you don’t have to take every comment to heart, you can learn the best way to serve your customers from their own perspectives.
A great example of feedback in action is this email from Alaska Airlines. Sent immediately after a flight, the experience is still fresh on customers’ minds. By asking clear survey questions, Alaska Airlines learns how to take its service to the next level. By offering a sweepstakes drawing, they encourage more people to share their opinions. It might sound simple, but it works.
Next steps: Consider places where you can request feedback within your current customer map, like after making a purchase or contacting customer service.
4. Make an omnichannel plan for engagement.
Next, customer engagement isn’t one-size-fits-all. This is a multi-channel experience. The future of business is omnichannel. Believe it or not, today’s customers use an average of 6 touch points during a purchase compared to only 2 just over a decade ago. If you can connect to customers where they already are, they’re more likely to make a purchase and stay loyal.
What’s the trick to an omnichannel engagement plan? It all comes down to personalization. By providing a dynamic, personalized experience, you can create a memorable experience no matter the platform. When your channels work with each other (in-store, email, online, etc.), the overall experience is effortless and frictionless.
Next steps: A successful customer-driven marketing strategy is all about making things as easy as possible for the customer. Consider the platforms your target audiences use and build a personalized experience for each that seamlessly blends together.
5. Break down customer service silos.
Additionally, it’s time to knock down your customer service silos once and for all. Customer service isn’t just for your support team. The silo mentality has been holding back businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long. Empower everyone on your team to work towards company customer service goals.
It starts from the top down. If your management leads with customers first, other teams follow naturally. Encourage clear feedback, conversations, and support between teams. When people feel unified in their goals, everyone makes faster progress. Stay transparent with your entire team, making sure everyone knows how to serve customers.
Just look at the grocery chain Trader Joe’s to see outstanding customer service for yourself. There are no silos at Trader Joe’s, and service starts with employee engagement. By investing in employees at all levels, each worker (from front of house to management) is prepared to greet customers with a warm smile.
Next steps: Train your entire team in customer service goals, and encourage communication as a two-way street. Without a unified vision, you can’t make any clear steps forward. Whether you’re training the sales team or IT, customer support is everyone’s responsibility.
6. Encourage referral marketing.
Speaking about customer service, it’s one of the best ways to leverage referral marketing. Also known as word-of-mouth marketing, everyone wants to find a way to cut down on their marketing and sales budget. When your most engaged customers (aka your superfans) advocate for your success, you’re engaging in referral marketing.
Referral marketing isn’t something that you stumble into. It’s earned through real-world, authentic relationships with your best customers. It also takes some persuasion, like loyalty programs or special discounts. If your experience is lacking, you’ll lose customers to the competition. Still, the recipe for referrals is relatively simple:
- Exceed customer expectations
- Keep your existing customers engaged
- Make your experience sharable
- Leverage digital programs to easily encourage referrals
- Offer incentives to sweeten the deal
Next steps: Check in with your current engaged customers. What could you be doing better to earn their referral? From there, make it worth their while. Most people don’t want to “work” for free. If you want people to take the next step and leave a review or share a product, make it enticing.
7. Reward your loyal customers.
Lastly, when was the last time you considered customer loyalty? More than an afterthought, you want to make your customers feel special (because they are). You might do this through a loyalty program, helping customers feel like they’re a part of something exclusive. Similarly, you could offer a bonus for repeat purchases or those who reach milestones.
If there’s one clear takeaway, it’s that long-term loyalty doesn’t appear out of thin air. Having a great product or service is a good first step, but it can’t be your only step. One prime example of a loyalty program in action is Fabletics’ VIP Membership program.
At a cost of $54+ per month, this might seem steep at first glance. However, the real success is in the value. Each month, users have access to exclusive styles, the Fabletics FIT app, and additional savings on top of their monthly athletic orders. With over 2,000,000 VIP members, this loyalty program has pushed Fabletics to the top of the athleticwear industry.
Next steps: Consider valuable ways to add to your existing customer experience. Your marketing should focus on providing real value to engaged customers, whether this is through exclusive access, rewards, or savings.
Are you ready to build your own customer-driven marketing strategy? Though it might seem complicated from the outside, it’s actually simpler than it looks. The main focus, as always, comes down to serving your customers with confidence and expertise.
With over a decade of experience working with top brands, I’ve learned that any brand is capable of winning dedicated superfans. No matter your industry, your top customers are out there. The sooner you learn to build an experience around them, the faster your revenue grows.