How to Execute a Leading Customer Marketing Strategy
In an increasingly competitive market, knowing how to execute an effective customer marketing strategy is critical. Your ability to retain current clients will determine the success or failure of your business. Moreover, customer marketing strategies play a central role when recruiting new customers and help to further foster loyalty and trust.
What is customer marketing?
So, what is customer marketing and why is it important? Put simply, customer marketing is primarily focused on marketing to your existing customers rather than future prospects. Specifically, customer marketing can be defined as any marketing activity or campaign designed specifically to drive customer retention, loyalty, advocacy, growth, and community participation for current customers. Using this definition, we can understand how customer marketing and the relevant strategies are essential in a brand's success in terms of improving customer loyalty, retention, creating new leads, and providing customer insights.
What are the key strategies within customer marketing?
The success of customer marketing strategies is influenced by a range of factors such as changing consumer trends, brand evolution, and competitors. As a result, marketers have a wide range of varying customer marketing strategies that can be implemented across different environments. However, despite the range, it seems that most strategies and customer marketing, in general, are focused on four key factors that will be explored below.
Factor 1: Retaining and maintaining customers
One key strategy of customer marketing is retaining customers through robust marketing techniques. The ability to retain customers is a do-or-die competency for modern-day brands as new research explores how the cost of acquiring a new customer is up to 30 times more expensive than keeping a pre-existing customer. By introducing robust marketing campaigns, businesses increase their brand salience and encourage greater levels of consumer recall, both of which work together to keep customers engaged and remain as the first choice. Furthermore, creating a customer-centric marketing plan has the added benefit of not only keeping your present customers happy and loyal, but helps in identifying new prospects. Ultimately this suggests that customer retention strategies must be an essential factor within any customer marketing approach.
Factor 2: Customers to create new leads
Marketers can implement customer marketing strategies and use the current list of customers to reach new leads. To discern new leads from existing clients, marketers must first ensure their customers are engaged, informed, and happy with the brand offering. According to a recent report by McKinsey word-of-mouth is considered the most important factor driving between 20%-50% of all purchasing decisions. This supports the need to create organic customer relationship strategies that build on customers perceived value of the brand. Additionally, by examining the list of existing customers, marketers may be able to spot key characteristics or trends that reveal the potential to target a new segment. Furthermore, before gaining new customers, marketers must first have a strong understanding of who they are already selling to and what strategies are effective before they can target new clients.
Factor 3: The importance of customer loyalty
Effective customer marketing relies on strategies that help to build customer loyalty and strengthen the influence of brand ambassadors. Current strategies for customer loyalty include a range of incentives such as reward programs or pricing discounts. However, customer loyalty is dependent on consumers individual feelings and judgements towards the brand, thus despite strong incentives, if brand loyalty is weak, consumers will shift to another competitor. This means customer marketing strategies must be relevant to the audience as customers who are fully engaged with a brand have a greater likelihood to remain loyal. Interestingly, whilst marketers work hard to maintain relationships with their existing customers, new research shows that 77% are not realising the full revenue potential of their clients. This research reveals the need for customer marketing strategies to place an increased focus on reinforcing brand advocates and ambassadors to improve customer loyalty and thus increase sales.
Factor 4: The Customer knows best
Whilst strategies exist to execute customer marketing, it is also important that marketers employ strategies that evaluate how consumers are responding to the marketing techniques. This suggests that understanding and responding to customer concerns is just as much a central strategy to customer marketing as other approaches. One way in which companies may choose to implement this strategy is by creating direct two-way customer communication channels, such as customer-only webinars, access to feedback platforms, direct contact information, and rating/review systems. As a result, by allowing consumers to voice their opinions, and responding directly, brands can strengthen their relationship with the customer, developing customer loyalty. Moreover, by understanding customer experiences from the first touchpoint to the last, marketers can use customer responses to refine or change their strategies. Therefore, given how responding and understanding client feedback promotes a B2C relationship, we can understand how this has become a key strategy of customer marketing.
The importance of Brand Equity
Brand equity exists at the core of all customer-focused marketing strategies. Thus, given that brand equity is fundamental to a brand’s success, marketers need to build strong brand equity as a core practice to increase their market share, strengthen value, and ensure customer retention. This means that to execute successful customer marketing, marketers must create positive consumer perceptions of the brand by employing specific brand elements and strategies that consumers can easily identify with.
How has customer marketing changed with COVID-19?
There is no denying COVID-19 has caused a dramatic shift in the way both marketers and consumers respond to strategies. As a marketer amid COVID-19, it's more important than ever before to have an accurate understanding of the consumer market trends and changing customer needs to ensure that prior customer marketing strategies remain relevant. With this rise of eCommerce due to the large-scale digital transition resulting from the pandemic, customer marketing strategies have moved towards engaging with new technologies, creating effective online communication channels, and re-establishing brand value. As a COVID-19, marketers are forced to revaluate the previously successful customer marketing strategies, and instead adapt to the new marketing environment.
Understanding how and what strategies enable successful customer marketing is becoming more and more important in today’s changing and increasingly competitive environments. Particularly, marketers must place greater focus on customer marketing strategies that promote client retention, loyalty, lead creation, and B2C communication. Nevertheless, we must also remember the role brand equity and COVID-19 will play when choosing customer-related marketing strategies.
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