Only by listening can you get heard

Customers aren’t vague shadows below the surface. Modern marketing techniques allow us to dive into their world, explore how they think and hear what they have to say. The key to meeting their needs is customer centricity. ‘Customer first’ seems to be a principle that every company claims for itself. But many organizations mistake customer centricity for customer focus.

Why customer-centric businesses are more innovative

Henry Ford famously said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” So, customer centricity doesn’t mean delivering what your customers want, it means finding out what they really need. They might not be conscious of these needs yet, so it is our job to analyze the situations of our customers so thoroughly that we can make an educated prediction as to where the gaps are that our brand can fill. Sometimes, it takes a slight change, sometimes it takes a drastic pivot.

Maybe companies like Netflix, Uber, Apple, Amazon and Airbnb replaced video rental stores, public transportation, CDs, local bookstores and hotels because they provided a better solution, or because they truly innovated out of a customer-centric perspective. The technology available to do so was just the means, not the reason for their success.

So, for genuinely striking results, you need to dig deep and question every step. Who are your customers? Do you need to change how you define them, add some groups and include others that you haven’t considered before? Once you know who you want to talk to, you need to establish a way of questioning that gives you unbiased results. And ultimately, know what those questions should be so as not to simply confirm your existing beliefs but to challenge them. That’s why it’s crucial to seek the problem instead of looking for the desired solution.

Being truly open for customer centricity can lead not only to improved conversion, but also to innovation. Companies with that kind of outside-in perspective deliver something of value to their customers and, ultimately, themselves.

Why customer centric communication stands out from the never-ending stream of content

Many companies still communicate their USP and product benefits from an inside-out perspective. But does their audience even believe or care that they claim to have the biggest, best, most powerful product in the world? The time has long passed where assertions alone convinced a customer. They’re immersed in a never-ending stream of content and the challenge is to break through the surface to catch their attention.

In times of social media, every brand’s messaging needs to be eye-catching on the right channel to a targeted audience. Your story needs to be accessible on their mobile phones, understandable within seconds and clearly communicating the right value proposition.

Social media has opened up the stream of conversation that previously took place behind closed doors among good friends. Now everyone publicly shares their thoughts about brands, campaigns and products. Modern marketing techniques allow us to immerse our antennas into this current. The technology to track and measure the entire customer journey and also the sentiment of our stakeholders is at our fingertips. If we then not only listen but engage in a conversation, we are truly leveraging all our possibilities to stay relevant in the market. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be rocket science, but simply asking the right questions to the right people in the right way so as to be relevant to their individual situation. Social media allows us to get granular with our messaging in hyper-targeted campaigns or find the exact angle for our overall communication strategy. We don’t only dive into the stream of communication and clearly distinguish the formerly vague shadows, we also know how to swim with them.