Recently, one of Cain & Company’s long-time clients initiated a corporate-wide rebranding of their marketing efforts. One of their main objectives was to establish "customer-first" messaging for all communication, highlighting the customer benefits over the product features. For example, messages that once promoted durable machinery would now instead emphasize better reliability. The underlying message remained the same, but where the former focused on features of the company’s machines, the latter highlighted the benefit that those machines produced for the customer.
Adjusting your ad copy may not seem like a monumental change, but on a macro scale, it represents a shift in B2B industry culture and outlook. Brands are realizing that going the extra mile to please your customers and putting their needs first resonates with them.
This prioritization of your customer’s success as a principal goal for your brand is known as customer-centric marketing.
Instead of listing the features of a product, customer-centric marketing centers on the customer experience before, during, and after the sale to attract, engage, and delight customers, creating long-term relationships that drive customer loyalty and repeat business.
The concept gained attention when customers began taking the buyer’s journey into their own hands. Ecommerce and online shopping have made it easier than ever for customers to find what they want, when they want it. Transactions are often finalized online without the buyer ever reaching out to the seller.
Seems like an obvious approach, but for a long time, sellers handled all product information, often restricting these resources. To access any helpful materials or learn more, customers had to contact the seller directly. This was clearly advantageous for the seller, but inconvenient for buyers, especially if they wanted to do any research or obtain information on their own.
In such a digitally motivated age, it’s no surprise that the B2B marketplace has changed radically. Buyers no longer need to wait for product information; ecommerce websites and online channels provide relevant information anytime, anywhere. Basically, the buyer is in control.
With the availability of digital channels like company websites, social media, online industry publications, and directories, competition is increasing rapidly. Industrial engineers and technical professionals have access to more discovery resources than in the past, making it difficult to stand out from the crowd.
This poses a challenge for differentiating your brand based solely on quality. No longer do claims like “Top-Notch Service!” or “Best in the Business!” suffice when other brands are parroting along. Your customers are already tuning out.
Instead, you must understand the underlying motivators that drive your customers. What are their biggest challenges and concerns? What questions do they ask themselves daily? What sets you apart from others offering the same product or service? What problem do you solve?
Put simply, customers favor simplicity! People are natural problem solvers; it’s in our nature to improve our processes and develop solutions to make our lives easier.
You see this in action every day. Movie rental stores have become streaming services; expensive business trips turned into quick video calls. To succeed, your business must offer value and convenience that customers cannot find elsewhere.
Brands are updating their marketing strategies to give their buyers an excellent, straightforward experience. Ultimately, it is the customer’s job to control their own buying process and the brand’s duty to deliver the best user experience throughout.
Overall, customer-centric organizations are achieving major growth. According to Deloitte, these companies are experiencing 60% more profitability than those who haven’t employed a client-first strategy.
But becoming a customer-centric company means your strategy must become a core value for your company as a whole. A customer-centric brand amplifies the client’s voice through collaborative channels and experiences with the entire team on board.
Everyone within the organization should understand customer pain-points, what appeals to them, and what will simplify their lives.
Well-developed customer centricity can be divided into three key strategies:
Great customer service must be tailored to each client personally. Go beyond questioning their wants to anticipating their goals and challenges. Understanding their needs and proactively delivering solutions, even before they were requested, is what distinguishes an outstanding brand and lasting relationships.
Becoming a customer-centric brand means recognizing the real potential of customer value. Positioning their challenges ahead of your own will help you better understand them and deliver the solutions that will make their lives easier. Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes to realign your goals with theirs. Reducing customer effort means expanding long-term value for both client and brand.