As marketers, your key role is to create and develop long-lasting relationships with our customers;
Sure, you provide the sales team with leads, launch creative ad campaigns, plan tradeshows, and so much more.
But your strategic purpose is to solve real business problems, including how to:
- acquire new customers, faster;
- keep profitable customers,
- ensure your customer buy more from your company,
- leverage your customers advocates
In order to solve these problems you need to affect the behavior of the prospects and customers that whom you engage. In order to do that you need to know exactly who you are targeting and understand and anticipate their behavior.
This requires persona (not profile) development, i.e. a clear understanding of your prospect’s and customer’s age, gender (if your product or service is gender specific), education, financial situation, buying decision and the shopping habits that they exhibit.
Once you have created you are ready to move towards defining your customer buying purchase and lifecycle. Forrester defines the customer lifecycle as, “The customers’ relationship with a brand as they continue to discover new options, explore their needs, make purchases, and engage with the product experience and their peers.”
At VisionEdge Marketing, we advocate that there are Six C’s associated with this process:
The purpose of your customer lifecycle should be: to capture potential and existing customers’ attention, preference, purchase and loyalty.
Now that you have defined the journey and lifecycle it is time to map the process your customers will go though. You can use a number of channels and touchpoints that your customers will go through in which they will analyze your products and services.
Mapping the buying journey may be a heavy-lifting process, however, the effort pays off. With a clearly defined mapping process you can enable your sales team to engage with your customers more efficiently because they will be able craft messaging specific to the buying stage.
One way to speak to your customers and prospects is by creating content. Your content should be focused on building business value. It is essential that you have mapped the buying journey before you launch any efforts in creating content. If you have not mapped it, your content will most likely not be effective and you will not successfully engage your customers.
Creating content may seem like a daunting task, but with the mapping process your efforts are far more focused and therefore it will be a much simpler task. Eventually, your content will help you create a strong community with your customers and ideally they will be spreading the word about how wonderful your product/service is.
Figuring this out and mastering this process takes a customer-centric and analytical approach. You need to establish metrics and monitor your results to analyze how to move forward and if you need to adjust.
This process will help you solve real business problems within your organization and help you exert influence and credibility over the business. If you are interested in creating a customer-centric organization, I strongly recommend you purchase our workbook “Leveraging Eight Key Metrics for the Customer Centric Organization.”
Laura Patterson is president and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc., a recognized leader in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics to facilitate marketing accountability. Laura’s newest book, Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization (Racom: www.racombooks.com ), is a useful primer for improving marketing measurement and performance. Visit: www.visionedgemarketing.com
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