It’s way too simple to approach your marketing strategy as just “a way to win over new clients”. While this is a good place to start, it is equally important to think long-term and consider ways to communicate with your existing and new customer base and build relationships long term. Remember that while your current customers are a great source of new business opportunities, maximising your customer engagement with current clients really creates long-lasting connections. 

What is customer marketing?

Whenever you direct marketing efforts at your current customers it is called "customer marketing”. Companies invest a lot of capital into marketing to customers in order to retain them, to increase customer loyalty, brand support, and community participation. Customer marketing takes all of this into account and uses the experience of current customers to understand the customer’s needs and develop strategies around that. They are based on customer segmentation, engagement methods, and loyalty programs.

Customer marketing vs product marketing - what’s the difference?

Selling to customers and selling products are not the same thing. Their main goals are different. Product marketing is all about telling people about the things you sell, when they can get them, and how they can meet their needs. The goal of customer marketing, on the other hand, is to use data-driven customer- segments to market to customers effectively, addressing their needs and showing how your business will make their lives better.

What are the four most important parts of a good customer-driven marketing plan?

1. Segment your customers to better understand them

In order to reach your target customers, you have to speak directly to them. Every customer will have a different set of needs. Fortunately, you can group different types of customers to manage the process of speaking to similar customers at the same time. So where do you start? You first need to conceptualise a buyer persona. This is a picture of your ideal customer and will aim to understand what their specific goals and needs are. Then ask yourself what type of customer marketing will work best for this group of people. This ensures that all your advertising efforts are targeted, with the potential for maximum success. 

2. Offer outstanding customer service

There are two major goals when it comes to customer-driven marketing: Creating loyal customers and encouraging word-of-mouth. This usually depends on how your customer feels about your business, service and offering. Customer service is the easier of the two areas to develop and can be immediately improved with good training and hiring. Ensure that your customers are always handled with respect and care, and offer the fastest possible turnarounds and easy communication channels. Take the feedback - good and bad - very seriously and be prepared to respond to it. The more you do this well, the more likely customers will then recommend you to a friend or share your services with followers. 

3. Reward loyalty

Relationships are about give and take. In the same way that you expect a friend to show their appreciation, the same goes for a customer relationship. At the centre of your customer-driven marketing should be keeping your customers happy. Loyalty programs can be used to develop this bond by saying thank you, showing appreciation, and building long-lasting relationships. Loyalty programs can take various forms like free gifts, rewards, coupons, or even early access to new products to encourage long-term business. 

4. Set up lead generation tactics

This is where standard marketing and customer marketing meet. When set up correctly, a customer referral program can be very valuable. Your referral program should have clear steps and appealing benefits, this gives your customers a personal reason to spread the word about your business. Getting your customers to talk about your business is one of the main goals of a customer-driven marketing plan. This process is far more successful when paired with a referral program.  

The bottom line

No matter what kind of business you have or how big or small it is, you can really benefit from good customer marketing. It's worth your time to invest in this area to help you connect with your customer base in a meaningful way. A customer marketing strategy should always strive to build strong connections with their customer groups to encourage long-term business and increase brand advocacy. To invest in your customer marketing plan, contact Merchant Capital and fund your strategy in the next 48 hours. 

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