Master Customer-Centric Marketing

When you finally sign a new client, it’s easy to feel like the hard work is over — but it’s just getting started. Now it’s time to learn the ins and outs of their business, how they operate and communicate and how you can build a strong, lasting relationship. 

There are no shortcuts — you’ll likely spend the next few months approaching every conversation with a continual string of “why’s?” as you try to gain a deep understanding of each personality, no matter how much time you’ve spent Googling them beforehand. 

To be a client service leader in the industry or your agency, you must be obsessed with the customer’s experience and how it can be improved. Customer centricity needs to be more than just an approach you consider — it needs to be at the core of your ethos. 

What is Customer Centricity? 

Customer centricity is your ability to understand customers’ situations, perceptions and expectations. It demands that the customer remains the focal point of every decision related to your products, services and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. In essence, customer centricity involves making the customer the hero of their story and in the eyes of their audience. 

The Three Pillars of Customer Centricity 

  1. Customer Understanding: The foundation of customer-centric marketing lies in analyzing feedback data, conducting research and gathering insights to truly understand our customers’ worlds. This means going beyond surface-level interactions and diving into what drives our customers’ decisions. 
  1. Personalized Engagement: Tailoring messages, offers and experiences to our customers based on their unique characteristics and preferences is crucial. Making them feel seen and heard establishes a genuine connection that doesn’t feel transactional. 
  1. Continuous Improvement: Regularly gathering feedback, measuring results and evolving our tactics to enhance the customer experience is vital. It’s a relentless pursuit of improvement driven by a genuine desire to serve our partners intentionally. 

How Do I Achieve Customer Centricity? 

Be a Jack of All Trades 

As marketers, we must immerse ourselves in our clients’ industries to effectively navigate the complexities of their business. When we bring on a new client, it’s time to do a deep dive into everything related to their work and industry, as well as any goals, hurdles and aspirations they aspire to accomplish. 

By gaining a deeper understanding of their business, we can tailor our strategies to align with industry-specific trends, challenges and opportunities. This knowledge also allows us to fluently speak the language of our clients and their target audience, effectively communicating unique selling points that differentiate them from their competitors. Best of all, it helps us bond with our clients and form those long-lasting relationships.

Educate Your Clients on the World of Marketing 

When working with new clients, it’s important to remember that even though we spend every day in and around advertising, it isn’t their world. Empowering clients with knowledge about our industry and our way of working is essential. By educating them, we bridge the understanding gap and establish a collaborative environment where we can both work harmoniously towards shared goals. 

Don’t Just Be Another Vendor, Be a Strategic Partner 

Customer-centric marketing is about more than just communication; it’s about proactive anticipation and strategy, guiding clients through the advertising process and empowering them with insights and understanding. This involves becoming an extension of our clients’ marketing teams and constantly thinking ahead to fulfill their needs — sometimes before they even realize them. 

Stay United as an Agency 

You don’t ever want to be known as the team who doesn’t communicate behind the scenes — all communication with our customers must be consistent and coming from as few channels as possible. We should always be on the same page as the rest of our team before communicating with a client to make every interaction as seamless and productive as possible. 

Remember That Your Teammates are Also Your Customers 

Throughout the whirlwind of client communication, we can’t forget that our teammates are also our customers, and fostering those relationships is just as important. Creating a culture within your own workplace where every team member feels valued and empowered to bring their ideas to the table can’t be overlooked. When you take the time to make sure your team feels encouraged and inspired, amazing work will follow. And isn’t that why we’re all here — to create exceptional outcomes for our clients? 

Just like with any relationship, you’ll get out of client relationships what you put in. And it may sound simple, but a customer-first mindset should never be underestimated. As we navigate the day-to-day of an ever-changing industry, one thing will remain the same — going above and beyond to care about your customers will make all the difference in the world.

By Karisa Malchow, VP of Client Services, OBI Creative