Marketing has always been a traditionally outward-facing activity. By that, we mean marketers’ core focus is to create materials to bring new customers and revenue in to the business.
But as concepts like customer loyalty become increasingly buzz-worthy, industry experts have taken a new lens to how effective these traditional strategies are in the long-run.
The new question on the table is—can focusing less on acquiring new customers and more on existing customers create a better business model? And so, the concept of customer marketing was born.
Customer marketing is defined as anything that supports customer retention, loyalty, and participation. The end game is a belief that an investment in your existing customers will become your best “advertisement.” Their satisfaction will go on to create more growth.
But if we had to define customer marketing in just two words, it would be “customer relationships.”
To further illustrate the definition, here are some examples of some classic customer marketing activities:
Could you offer to run an errand for, massage the shoulders, and do the taxes of your every customer? Maybe. But that’s not what they want or need. It’s all about small gestures like the ones above that demonstrate value and inspire loyalty.
The results of customer-first marketing speak for themselves, and they could be just what your brand needs.
It can generate more revenue, sure. But customer marketing has some bonus benefits. After all, a happy customer makes a happy business.
It’s no secret that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does it retain an existing one. And customers who feel their needs are being met (and exceeded) have no reason to leave. By reducing customer churn you save you and your employees time and money.
With customer marketing you build up an arsenal of stories from happy customers who love your product. And in 2019 customers trust their peers more than big brands. When you pad your marketing messages with real customer testimony, you create the commodity known as social proof.
Customer marketing is all about creating an ongoing conversation with your audience. This rapport gives you much better chances at success with cross or upselling campaigns. Your audience is used to hearing from you for a variety of reasons that benefit them (deals, discounts, tips and tricks). They’re more primed by nature for these kinds of promotional messages.
According to The Incite Group, 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when they make buying decisions. And thanks to the internal and social media, everyone has a megaphone to share their opinions on a product.
With traditional marketing, we talk a lot about making SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely). But with customer marketing, you’ll want to focus on the customer cycle.
The customer cycle is made up of four parts: Segment, Engage, Satisfy, Grow.
The welcome email or text is one of the best ways to indoctrinate people into your customer marketing funnel. As your first touchpoint, it should demonstrate value and help you get to know your customers. Not only are welcome emails a (welcome) courtesy, they can also be a space for you to kickstart segmentation.
The Container Store does this masterfully by inviting new subscribers to take a quick quiz to find out more about their styles and needs. In doing so, they are rewarded with a welcome discount. This exchange of perks for data is a great way to start off any customer marketing strategy.
Good camera quality is one of the top decision making factors for people buying a new phone. Apple and Android fill their websites with quality photos and stats about why their devices are the best. But, in a clever customer marketing approach, Apple has dedicated space on their social media pages to feature real customer iPhone photos.
A perfect example of how to generate positive social proof.
Eyewear brand Warby Parker is known for their at-home try-on offers that sends you frames to try on and send back before you buy online. However, they also gained notoriety for using social media as a space to create a virtual showroom. Customers looking for opinions and advice take to twitter to receive the same service they would from a salesperson in a brick and mortar location!
Exclusivity can be a great way to reward customer loyalty. In the beauty community, due to the large variety of retailers, loyalty is tricky. To help combat this, retailer Sephora worked out a massive rewards program for purchases that associate status and savings with regular shoppers. One of the staples to their rewards program is the coveted birthday email which gives you the option to choose your full-sized free gift!
Amazon could teach a masterclass in the art of upselling. Through the power of suggestion, they take the guesswork out of what customers should purchase next. It combines elements of personalization with classic upselling tools for the perfect, subtle sell.
ChowNow creates a variety of ways to experience their customer testimonials. From video, to full-length stories, all the way down to quick quotes. They feature customer testimony prominently on the website, social media, and advertisements. Theirs is certainly a model to copy if you want fresh ways to share your customer’s voice.
So there you have it, customer marketing revealed. From the theoretical to the experimental. There’s no wrong approach when your customers’ needs come first!