Too many companies spend their time promoting themselves.
That’s what they think marketing is - “here’s why we’re great and why we’re better than our competitors.” To a lot of brands, that’s stellar marketing. In reality, that’s a mentality that worked in the 1950’s, but doesn’t hold water in 2018.
The truth is, your customers don’t care about your company or your product. They care about themselves. Consider Geico insurance. Yes, the gecko is cute, and the caveman was hilarious. But, the real reason Geico ads work is because every single potential customer wants to save money on their car insurance - and if it’s 10-15%, we’ll give it a shot!
Any brand that understands their customers, their pains and sorrows, and works to alleviate those pains and solve those problems will be the brands that win in today’s competitive market.
Customer-Centric Marketing: What They Want
When Apple began to advance on the personal computer market, they had these, “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials that were hilarious. Everyone remembers those commercials, and it has come to be a symbol of cool and effective vs. old and out-of-touch.
Notice, none of those commercials talked about gigahertz, ram, or hard-drive RPMs. That’s what every PC magazine in the world was talking about. But, Apple’s advertising was talking about the things their customers wanted to do on their personal computers. And, since their product was truly great, the marketing worked like gangbusters.
Understand, Empathize, and Help the Customer
Customer-centric marketing is all about your customer, so you need to understand them. What causes them stress and pain at work? What do they worry about? And, how do they express these frustrations and worries? What problem drives them to Google, and what do they type to find a solution?
What can your brand do (with or without your product) to solve the problems your customers face? If you can do something to help them without selling to them, then do it. When I talk about helping, that’s exactly what I mean - you help them.
If you owned a hardware store, and your best friend asked you to help them dig a ditch in their backyard, you probably wouldn’t lead with all the shovels they should buy from you. If you did that, you wouldn't have many friends.
Yet, that’s what a lot of brands do. Rather than helping their target customer, they pitch them. And, over time, their target audience tunes them out - “don’t go to Joe’s house, he’ll try to sell you a shovel!”
Brands need to lead with a genuine intention to help. What you will discover is that your product and service naturally comes into play at the exact time it should - and those sales are much easier than the pitches.
Why Customer-Centric Marketing?
When Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone, he didn’t focus on the pixels in the screen, or the processor inside. That’s what they’re doing now, but that’s not what he did. He talked about having a thousand songs in your pocket, a personal assistant device with you all the time that was also an easy way to text and get phone calls.
The difference may be subtle to a marketer, but they are glaring in the subconscious of the target market.
Your marketing needs to be about what the customer wants.
All and only about the customer.
Your content should be about the customer. Your website should be about the customer. Your social media posts should be about the customer. And, your advertising should be about the customer.