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BizReport : Advertising : November 26, 2020

Expert: Why customer-centricity is more important than ever

While most businesses feel they are customer-centric, the truth is that many are missing the boat when it comes to understanding what their customers want. That, according to one expert, is why merchants and marketers must get back to a basic customer-centric strategy. Here's how.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What is a customer-centric strategy? 

Danielle Ruess-Saltz, Chief Marketing Officer, Wizeline: Companies have talked about customer-centricity for years, but understanding the concept is one thing, and actually executing it is another. Customer centricity means putting the beliefs, needs and preferences of customers at the center of everything, including organizational structure and go-to-market plans.
Kristina: What are merchants and brands missing, in regards to customer-centricity, in their current strategy?

Danielle: Many B2C companies get it right but, in the B2B space, we are not quite there yet. Becoming a true customer-centric organization takes time and commitment; requiring a clear set of values and a vision to create a shared foundation that is reflected in the actions, behaviors, and decisions of both leaders and employees. It's not about what tech stack you use or about the amount of data that you can see. It's about understanding what the data is telling you about your customer, and then taking action to show them that you understand what they need. For existing customers, it's about building personal relationships and continuing to provide value by offering solutions as their respective markets continue to shift.  

Kristina: What are the three strategic elements of a customer-centric strategy?

Danielle: I think that would depend on how mature the organization is in terms of customer-centricity but as a first step, it's important that the leadership is aligned on making 'customer-centricity' a foundational part of the company's DNA. The leadership must then communicate this vision consistently and clearly to the entire organization. Second, personalization, personalization, personalization! Not just a message or campaign that is 'targeted to CTO's at healthcare companies' - but something that speaks directly to the people who may be looking for your service or solution right now. Third, find the right tech stack for your business, including CRM, CMS, SEO, social media, and make sure you are getting the data you need to be there for your customers.

Kristina: How important is it for brands to have this type of strategy?

Danielle: Very important. Customer-centricity increases customer loyalty and can be a major contributor to revenue when executed correctly. According to a 2019 McKinsey survey of B2B customers, companies that get customer-centricity right consistently outperform their peers, achieving five times more revenue and either times more operating profit.

Kristina: Where should brands begin when building a customer-centric strategy? 

Danielle: Start by building a customer-centric organizational culture; help all employees, whether they are customer-facing or not, to understand how their individual contributions affect customers. Communicate often with the entire organization to align on expectations (between sales and the customers, sales and marketing, sales and development teams, development teams and the customers, etc.), and communicate on an ongoing basis with current customers so that you are ready to respond to new developments in their respective journey. The more alignment, the better the result. 

Tags: advertising strategy, customer centric strategy, customer-centricity, ecommerce strategy, Wizeline

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