The largest areas of opportunity for people-based marketing come from the ability to talk to individuals as if you know who they are and what value you can provide to them. In October 2017, Forbes magazine published a study of 1,000 shoppers and found that

“49 percent of respondents bought items that they never intended to buy, because of a personalized recommendation that was made to them during their shopping experience.”

 

– October 2017, Forbes Magazine.

This is a real-life example of what having a customer strategy can do for your business. The net result here is not only positive from a sales perspective, but it also shows an increase in customer loyalty and a likelihood to repeat shop at the same store.

When you start to plan your customer strategy, the first step must be about defining the audience and unpacking what you know about them.

Build a picture of your desired audience.

Next, you need to develop an approach for filling in the gaps of data on customers that you would like to know better. Many marketers plan campaigns around customer acquisition or retention, but very few plans around a central view of customer insights. In order to build a customer strategy, you need to think about your relationship with your customers in a different way and start to build marketing programs that will provide increased insight into the things that matter to them. Consumers are often willing to provide more insights into their personal information if they see value in what they get from the company in exchange.

As Seth Godin puts it very particularly, in All Marketers are Liars.” – 

Don’t just state facts before your customers. Tell them a story instead.

A remarkable, authentic, unforgettable story.

Talk to your audiences.

Know their inclination to believe your story.

Sell it already!

Ever since marketing has evolved to become one of the most powerful industries, it is known to mankind that personalization and comfortability of the customers with the sellers are all that matters!

If this wasn’t true, wine wouldn’t have tasted better in Riedel glasses, now that’s ironic. Isn’t it?

 

 As customer needs evolve, one can revisit the data that you are capturing and explore what new offerings could be important to your audiences. Think about how much has changed in the way consumers engage with retailers online and offline over the past 10 years. What was once a nice-to-have, like free shipping or buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) is now a necessity. Brands that recognized this phenomenon early and built it into their customer strategy are the ones that have stayed ahead of the market.  

 You must incorporate into your decision making the full customer experience across your relationship as well as the relationship that a customer might have with your competitors. To stand out among the crowd and be truly customer-centric, one needs to become a seamless part of the customer experience.  

Let’s make this easier! Know if you are already outplaying your competitors by checking if you can find answers for all the 5 questions listed below.

  • Are your competitors going broad or deep in their targeting?
  • Are they spending more on personalized addressable media or more traditional forms?
  • Do they treat all parts of the country equally?
  • Do they treat all audience segments equally?
  • How do their messaging evolve when a consumer engages with them?

These are the starting points of understanding your market more at a one-to-one level and filling in the picture of what else your audiences are seeing.

In a nutshell, “People first!”

Take a myopic view about- ‘how could you personally gift your customers a hygge in their overall journey’ that continues to demand your best performance?’ in the white paper, ‘Marketing Imperatives’, released by Merkle. It gives you an actionable roadmap to adopt a customer-centric business strategy, with the goal of creating more relevant and personalized experiences.

Download the free version of ‘Marketing Imperatives’ today to gain confidence and visualization to start where you are and manage incremental transformation by integrating your customer strategy, your technology, and your organizational approach.