A big trend in the marketing world this year is called customer marketing. The idea is that a key differentiator between your company and your competitors is the level of customer service offered. Weird, right? Isn’t every type of marketing customer-focused? What have companies been doing thus far??
Great questions! They’ve been throwing money into advertisements and buying links (which now doesn’t work thanks to Google Algorithm changes over the last few years). There was no true focus on what the customer needs and how to effectively serve them. Only the big kahunas like Apple thought about what was needed before the consumer did.
I learned a great example of this in grad school – imagine you’re designing a fridge. As a consumer there are many things that would make a typical fridge so much better. The first concept is a screen that tells you what you have in your fridge and the expiration dates. Cool! I’ll never go to the marketing and duplicate unnecessary items or leave something to go rotten and wait for the odor to finally realize it. And, it’s a cool tech-geek thing. *Pushing my glasses closer to my eyes*
The downside to this concept is it’s much more expensive, and remember, I’m a fridge expert, not a technical person. What would it take for my fridge to become a robot? A LOT. Can my average customer afford it, after I’ve tacked on my costs and profit margins?
Next concept: Make a swivel in the fridge so that the beers that you’ve got sitting in the back are easily accessible, without breaking or moving other things out of the way. [Insert shocked face here!] This is the solution that the average consumer is looking for and is affordable to produce and to purchase.
As a consumer, I didn’t realize that this was what I really needed in my fridge until I heard it spoken aloud. Simplicity and truly studying the pain points a consumer goes through is what makes customer marketing effective.
How do we do that through content?
Basically, treat your customers the way you’d want to be treated in their shoes. I need information about drought-resistant plants because I’m in the Bay Area, CA and we’ve gone through a lot of water issues in the last couple years. As a landscaper or gardener with my own website or social media channels, I should be offering advice about drought-resistant plants!
Additionally, make the content timely. It’s no use to sell a product that has been leap-frogged by new technology at retail prices. Bring those prices down, inform people of what’s coming or what’s arrived, and then maybe offer your loyal customers something they can’t get anywhere else. You know them best, after all.