Introduction: Maintain a Stern Focus on the Customer
One of the biggest mistakes many e-commerce marketing teams make is not focusing on their customer.
They might think that the customer is at the center of what they do, and even say so.
But “customer centrism” is a general term. It implies a sort of vague affinity to your buyers, customers, or brand advocates and their best interest. In theory, customer-centric sounds great.
Truly customer-centric companies always put the customer at the core of whatever they do.
But how can customer-centric actually be applied?
Once you get past the talk (and talk is cheap), the mechanism to achieving customer-centrism at scale is the marketing technology (application, tool, software, platform, whatever you want to call it) used to enable and execute across every customer touch point.
Technology is the Bridge to Customer-Centrism
Your job – and it’s not an easy task – is to maintain a microscopic awareness of what’s best for your customer while also driving organizational goals. Since today’s buyers are an audience constantly in-flux, B2C marketers must have the right tools to keep up with their them.
And remember, even though your team’s and broader organization’s goals may be tied to revenue, resources, and personnel growth, your customers’ are not.
Customers want to find what they’re looking for (or might not even know they’re looking for) with a smooth, consistent, helpful, informative, even entertaining overall online brand experience. And more people are shopping online than ever before – in fact, e-commerce retail growth is on a consistent upward trajectory, increasing at a rate of about 15% Y-O-Y.
Preparation for that growth is nearly impossible to achieve manually.
As many brands and organizations grow, they require strong marketing platforms capable of (a) helping to drive organizational growth and revenue, and (b) creating personalized, scalable, automated one-to-one customer relationships.
And it’s your goal, as a marketer, to advance the evolution of a customer-centric mindset in coordination with broader business goals.
If your current marketing technology isn’t helping to make that a reality, it might be time to look at other options.
Related Content: 5 Questions to Ask When Buying Marketing Technology
Use Technology as a Catalyst
Let’s get this out of the way: changing technology is overwhelming and nerve-racking. Doing the research, making purchasing decisions, going through the buying process, and learning how to use a new platform all take time and dedication.
But technology should never be a roadblock in any marketing strategy. It should move forward your vision of better serving customers to drive business.
The best B2C mar-tech should open new doors including:
- Helping you leverage advanced analytics into customer behavior → Learn more about what customers want
- Helping you achieve marketing automation at scale → Effectively communicate on a personal level with every contact
- Enabling underlying artificial intelligence capabilities → Ability to offer product recommendations and personalized offers
We believe these points represent “must-haves” for any B2C marketer.
Related Content: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation
Ultimately, the right platform will help connect the dots and satisfy (a) organizational goals, (b) your goals, means, and methodology to execute on those goals, and (c) the expectations of those who buy from your company.
Have You Outgrown Your Marketing Platform?
When is the right time to move from one marketing platform to an alternative?
The best answer to this question is twofold: when your team is no longer able to perform at the highest level and when your customer engagement is consistently declining. When a marketing platform (or in some cases, platforms) stands in the way, it’s time to remove the technological bottleneck.
5 Key Questions to Ask
Here are the 5 most critical questions your marketing team should ask when determining whether or not your operations and customer expectations have exceeded your tool(s):
1. Which channels are my customers using to interact with my company? Can we communicate with them through these channels from a single tool or platform?
Today’s B2C marketers must deliver their communications to the channel via which customers want to engage, with the right messages in each channel. Since the modern consumer is more mobile-savvy than ever before, marketing platforms must enable the marketer to deliver content across a wide range of channels and devices.
2. Does my marketing platform consolidate customer data from a range of channels, and analyze that data to self-learn?
With all the new channels and devices available to today’s consumers, marketers need a way to wade through the noise and determine the best way to interact with them. Here’s where data comes in.
Today’s marketing platforms should be able to compile and analyze large amounts of consumer data from multiple channels, creating a holistic picture of a brand’s target audience, as well as unified profiles of customers on an individual level. Only the most sophisticated machines can actually turn that data into insight and “self-learn.”
3. What insights does my marketing platform provide me regarding buyer behavior and lifecycle stages?
Here is where new, innovative technology can give marketers a leg up over the competition. Marketing platforms that uncover hidden consumer insights allow marketing teams to predict buyer behaviors, reactions, and even industry trends. The key is asking the right questions, which the ideal marketing platform can identify.
4. Does my marketing platform go beyond simply providing data, to helping me interpret it and easily take action?
While a marketing team’s current platform (or platforms) may present them with impressive data sets, what good are the numbers without a plan of action? Comprehensive marketing platforms allow B2C marketers to understand the data, and then take action to optimize current campaigns and formulate new strategies.
5. Is my marketing platform actually making my job easier and my customers’ lives better?
This simple question is probably the most important one a marketing team can ask when grading existing marketing technology. With all of the time and effort it takes to optimize a platform and customize it to work perfectly for a certain team, not to mention the financial investment required, the absolute least a platform should do is make the marketer’s day-to-day life easier.
Whether this means increasing team efficiency, freeing up precious resources, or allowing for increased creativity, a sophisticated marketing platform should take all of a marketer’s needs into account for maximum optimization and results.
Being customer-centric is one of the most critical overarching philosophies any organization can commit to. A customer-centric commitment should be embraced in every project, campaign, message, and, perhaps most critically, every piece of technology your team uses.
While sticking with a less-than-ideal marketing platform and plowing through issues manually may sound like the easier option, it’s most likely slowing down the team’s operations and reducing their success rate, as well as letting down customers who expect more.
Asking pointed questions, and deciding whether or not a new platform can better help you connect with customers, is the first step towards a whole new era of your marketing.
Learn how machines and AI can help make your job easier (including tips on reaching customers) in the short eBook Marketer + Machine: The Empowered Marketing Revolution.