It has long been established wisdom that customer acquisition costs considerably more in time, effort, and money than customer retention. Retaining existing customers and keeping them engaged and loyal to your brand essentially rests on two pillars: customer support/customer service, and the customer experience. Using out-of-date methods and customer marketing strategies to retain customers will cost you time and money with no ROI.
Why customer marketing is necessary
Customer satisfaction should always be at the top of your list of priorities. Failing to provide great customer service can have negative financial consequences for your enterprise, and each bad customer service experience can cost you in terms of customer loyalty, and your brand perception, if those same unhappy consumers call you out on social media. In fact, recent research by HelpScout suggests that poor customer service loses American businesses over $62 billion annually.
Techjury studies suggest that businesses that prioritise customer experience (CX) have between four and eight percent higher revenue than their competitors. Bain & Company research indicates that delivering a rich and engaging experience to both new customers and existing customers can lead to higher customer retention rates and increased profits ranging from 25% to 95%.
Maximising on the customer experience benefits the entire company, as well. Having a dedicated customer success team is an investment you'll hardly ever regret. According to Customer Contact Mind Xchange, companies that excel at customer experience have one and a half times more engaged employees than companies that deliver poor customer experiences.
Companies and organisations that deal directly with consumers and users are therefore well advised to put customer service and the customer experience at the forefront of their acquisition process, and in every stage of subsequent development of their relationship with the consumer. What’s more, they need to effectively communicate to the consumer that these principles are central to the organisation’s management of customer relationships.
This is where customer marketing comes into play.
What is customer marketing?
Customer marketing (also known as customer-centric marketing) encompasses the range of activities that address the needs of the existing customer, rather than specifically seeking to attract new customers. It’s marketing that concerns itself with nurturing existing customer relationships, promoting customer loyalty, and generating new sources of revenue from an existing customer base.
This strategy may occur through the promotion of additional products or service offerings, the provision of channels to more easily address customer issues, and the creation of avenues to increase customer loyalty and customer advocacy of the brand.
How to develop a customer-driven marketing strategy
[Image source: Search Engine Journal]
In order to enlist the aid of existing customers as new revenue generators and brand advocates, you need to develop a marketing strategy that is both customer-driven and customer-centric. Here’s how:
Understand your customers
Marketing effectively to consumers starts with knowing who your customers are, what they want, what they need, and any issues or pain points they may have. A great way to identify and understand your customer base is by developing buyer personas or customer avatars. These are virtual constructs created from the demographics, purchasing behaviour, and key characteristics of your customer base.
These buyer personas can help you to segment customers according to various criteria, so that your marketing, sales, and service employees can create appropriate and directly relevant content to assist and enlighten them, and provide support and essential services that directly address their needs.
Improve your customer service game
You should extend an exemplary level of service and support to new customers and existing customers alike, as customer retention in the digital market hinges greatly on keeping happy customers who ensure repeat business.
When a customer reaches out to you, you should empower your employees to answer their queries and resolve their issues in a thorough and efficient manner that nurtures positive customer relationships. Remember to provide channels for customers to give feedback and recommendations to help make your service delivery even better. Support and service should also be timely. According to McKinsey, three-quarters of online customers expect help within five minutes.
Create an interactive experience for the consumer
Customer experience is a key differentiator between brands, so most businesses now go out of their way to provide unique and engaging experiences that single them out from competitor organisations, boost customer retention, and attract potential customers.
56% of customers stay loyal to brands that “get them” – so it’s important to stay in tune with the kinds of experiences and interactions with your brand that customers actually want. As with customer service, you should therefore use channels to listen out for customer feedback and suggestions, and respond to these indicators of how your customers feel.
Encourage customer loyalty
Ongoing schemes providing incentives and rewards for customer loyalty are a great way to nurture customer relationships, and boost customer retention. Loyalty programmes with incentives like free merchandise, upgrades to higher service levels, and discounts can help keep the existing customer happy, and can even act as a magnet for potential customers.
Create channels for customer advocacy
Existing customers who sing the praises of your brand via social media and other channels are a key aspect of the customer lifetime value of your customer base. So make it easier for customers to recommend your product and service offerings -- for example, with a formalised customer referral programme.
Get Help if You Need It
[Image source: HubSpot]
Finding ways to differentiate customers and implement a customer marketing strategy takes time and effort. There are dedicated tools available, such as the HubSpot Marketing Hub (see image above) to make your customer marketing efforts worth it -- or you may require the assistance of a specialist marketing agency.
Here at Incisive Edge, we know that the best brands combine their brand positioning, company website and digital marketing execution to build an emotional connection and create a smooth customer experience with their target audiences.
We will work with you to define detailed buyer personas, and will craft a value proposition that emphasises why you are unique and the value you provide your target customers with customer driven marketing strategies. We'll create a marketing strategy that builds a direct connection with your customers, that speaks to them in a voice which resonates, and demonstrates how clearly you understand them.
To find out more about how Incisive Edge can help develop your perfect customer marketing strategy, get in touch with us.