Customer Marketing: A Customer Service and Marketing Synergy

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Our last article was all about the importance of customer loyalty and retention.  We are now delving  into a related topic, which is Customer Marketing. What exactly is customer marketing? Customer marketing is a combination of programs and activities designed to manage customer retention. This includes loyalty, advocacy, participation and growth. It is a strategy that focuses on creating strong, long-term customer relationships.

Customer marketing is a powerful marketing tool. It not only changes businesses for the better, it is a crucial and timely growth strategy. A customer marketing strategy is essential in today’s ever-changing consumer landscape but it takes a lot of teamwork to implement it.

“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”

David Packard

A robust business management strategy is one that leverages cross-team collaboration and integration. This includes the relationship between marketing and customer service teams. The need for a symbiotic marketing and customer service relationship is more important now than ever, especially since consumers increasingly using online marketing channels – such as websites, review sites and social media – to research, review and communicate with businesses.

Successful customer marketing relies on:

  • Knowing and segmenting customers
  • Effectively engaging with customers
  • Maintaining a customer advocacy program.

As we shared in our last article, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. So, if we put in the effort to engage an existing, happy customer, we’ll see 3 times the annual value compared to other customers!

Know and Segment Your Customers

The foundation for customer marketing should exist within each and every business. It is essential to collect as much data and information as possible about existing customers and save this information in the company database. Everything you need to conduct cutting-edge customer marketing should be within reach. Make it a goal to know your customers’ behavioral, transactional and sociographic data, because this information is like an untapped goldmine.

Looking at this data will allow for the right kind of segmentation, targeting and personalization that is at the heart of customer marketing. In this way, your customers will be segmented into relevant groups, As a result, you can communicate with each group according to members’ circumstances, preferences, tendencies and wants. Below are some elements of successful Customer Marketing strategy.

  1. Give Every Customer the VIP treatment

As we mentioned in our last article on customer retention, many customers place as much value on the quality of service as they do on the quality of a product. Remember that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. So, if you demonstrate how much you value them, right from the get-go, they are more likely to remain not only loyal to your brand but become an advocate for your brand.

  1. Offer Quality Content and Consistent Communication

When it comes to customer marketing, consistent communication with customers is essential. Producing meaningful content is a great way to keep the dialogue going.  Don’t hesitate to offer content, if what you’re sending is relevant. Consumers enjoy hearing more from their favorite brands and businesses in the form of quality content, deals, and advice.

Sending out a weekly, monthly or quarterly email will help keep your business on your customer’s radar. Some companies use their Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) to set up reminders to check in with customers on a regular basis.

Bear in mind that your customers’ attention is valuable, and there is a lot coming at them in the form of email and social media. However by consistently delivering value to them, you’ll always stay fresh in their minds. 

  1. Encourage Customer-Generated Content
Starbucks white cup customer contest
Starbucks ‘White Cup’ Contest

Once you have established a solid customer retention and brand loyalty program, one of the best examples of customer marketing is curating and sharing customer-generated aka user-generated content (UGC).  UGC is a term used to describe any type of content created by users of a brand and made accessible via social media and other online channels. Customers trust each other more than the brand themselves.

In fact, several surveys suggested that more than 60% of the people trust the comments posted or photos taken by other customers more than those taken by the seller or manufacturer itself.

 

This supports the importance of a user-generated content even more. UGC turns a loyal consumer into a brand campaigner who will help build engagement among various communities. The basic idea of user-generated content is that the passionate customers or partners of the brand will provide a more authentic recommendation to other communities and customers in helping them make a buying decision.

User-generated content could be in the form of posted images, videos, blog posts, online reviews and testimonials. What are some examples of brands that use UGC? We bet you can already think of some! Topping the list are Starbucks, Netflix, Apple, Adobe and Coca Cola. Many automobile, designer fashion, retail and hotel/travel brands are following suit. These brands encourage UCG by providing hashtags, holding online campaigns, contests and competitions that both directly and indirectly promote their brand.

  1. Highlight Customer Success Stories

Knowing that our customers’ content and experiences can serve as one of our best marketing tools, here is a way to take it to the next level.

Do you have a case of a customer who’s truly gone above and beyond in their brand advocacy or a customer or partner who has reached a major career or business milestone, thanks to your product or service?  Consider putting them in the spotlight!

“Make your customer the hero of your stories.”

Ann Handley

For example, invite them for an interview, so their story could be shared in a video, podcast and/or blog post. These kinds of stories of are both engaging and insightful for both prospective and current customers.

  1. The Human Touch

As we’ve shared in our article on emotional intelligence , let’s not forget the human element in customer service and marketing.

Developing relationships with your customers means connecting and interacting with them on a very human level. To create a genuine sense of community, it pays to show that we truly care. Sometimes your customers or clients just need to know that you’re rooting for them! When you show your support, you remind them that they’re part of something bigger than your product or service.

The greatest technology in the world hasn’t replaced the ultimate relationship building tool between a customer and a business; the human touch.

Shep Hyken

To sum up, bringing a human element into your customer marketing strategy can truly help your brand stand out.  Demonstrating that you’re a personable, helpful resource as opposed to just another business ‘out to do business’, is key to forming long-term customer relationships.

 

Releated Articles:

The Customer Journey 

7 Ways to Delight and Retain Your Customers

Customer Service and Your Company’s Online Reputation

Emotional Intelligence in the Age of Automation

 



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