We all want to be successful marketers.
But what does success mean in marketing?
Of course, we can follow the analyzes.
We can count the number of social followers we have.
We can see our number of visitors increase.
But how do we know what is really successful?
When it comes to this, there is only one judge for a successful marketing campaign.
There are dozens of "how" and "best practice" guides that marketers can follow.
But the truth is that if your audience does not connect to it, no matter the success of another company or brand.
To really develop a "successful" marketing campaign, the only thing you need to do is understand your customers.
What is a customer-centric marketing approach?
Customer-centric marketing uses personalized messages, products, content, and more, so the consumer gets exactly what they're looking for.
But a customer-centric approach must go beyond your marketing.
We need to create a "customer-centric organization, not just a customer-centric marketing department," says Gerry Murray, a research analyst at IDC.
Putting the needs of your customers first can help you improve your relationship with your audience and build customer loyalty.
This is because customers like to have the impression that they are given special treatment.
In fact, 90% of consumers found the customization appealing, while 80% said that they would be more likely to do business with a company that offers customized approaches.
With a customer-centric marketing approach, companies stop trying to tell their customers what they need.
This type of traditional marketing has become unattractive and unreliable.
With 2 out of 10 consumers stating that they do not like online advertising, it can be complicated to reach consumers with traditional marketing.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079311_138_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" ad feeling "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36448 "/>
It's there that a customer-centric strategy works a little differently.
Instead of pushing products and hoping that someone will buy, customer-centric companies are developing their messages, products, and content based on the unique needs of their target audience.
Let's take a look at Southwest Airlines.
Airlines have a reputation for having bad customer service.
Southwest Airlines, however, has been able to pull out of this stereotype to offer a customer-centric marketing approach that its customers love.
They do not stuff their airplanes full of television screens, large seats, or fancy meals and then demand extreme prices for these useless luxuries.
Instead, they offer affordable prices and will not charge you ridiculous fees for things like luggage or if you want to change your travel dates.
By giving them what they want – not what marketers think they want – they can attract more attention and see higher conversions .
This put Southwest Airlines at the top of the airline industry in terms of customer satisfaction.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" US airline customer service rankings "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36450 "/>
Now, compare that to United Airlines – a company that did not have the best year.
Who could forget the time when they dragged a passenger from a plane or when they ordered a family to put their dog in a higher compartment?
United Airlines has struggled to put the needs of its customers at the forefront of its business – and this has certainly cost them dearly.
Because of their scandals, 67.3% of customers feel at least somewhat negative about the airline, with 53.7% feeling less willing to buy a ticket from United Airlines.
Because the customers have other options and feel underrated or even threatened by the lack of attention of the company, they will turn elsewhere.
The importance of getting to know your customers
There are more than 82 million blog posts published each month – just on WordPress.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079311_336_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" Blog Posts Published Monthly "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36451 "/>
Month after month, more and more businesses and individuals are enjoying blogs.
However, consumers do not have the time to waste poor quality content with which they do not connect.
And they do not have to do it.
If an item does not fit their needs, there are dozens of others to which they can address.
The best way to stand out is to create unique content tailored to the needs of your target audience.
In fact, 58% of content marketers said that audience relevance was the most important factor of success.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079311_405_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" public relevance The largest contributor "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36452 "/>
When you can create content that matches the unique needs of your target audience, it can build trust and familiarity with your brand.
This can make them more loyal to your business and your products.
Having loyal customers who make repeat purchases can be a major benefit to your bottom line.
And, there is proof.
Loyal customers are worth ten times their initial purchase.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079311_388_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" Faithful faithful who are worth 10x more helpcout "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36453 "/>
That's because loyal customers are easier to sell.
This significantly reduces the time the client has to spend to be nurtured and convinced.
Instead, they can return directly to the sales funnel.
In fact, old customers have a 65% chance of converting against a 13% chance of new prospects.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079311_19_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" Recurring customers easier to sell "class =" full size alignnone-wp-image-36454 "/>
By paying attention to the needs of your customers, you can reduce your marketing costs while increasing your sales and profits.
Loyal customers are also more likely to help you get new business.
When a customer is satisfied with his brand, he will want to share his experience with his friends and family.
These recommendations can help you strengthen your confidence with new prospects and allow you to increase your sales.
In fact, 82% of Americans say that they are seeking recommendations from friends and family when they are considering a purchase.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079312_625_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" Why are Online Critics Important? "Class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36455 "/>
When you stop guessing what your customers are looking for and you start listening to what they tell you, you are increasing your income while creating long-term relationships.
It's a win-win.
Take a look at Harley-Davidson.
When you buy a Harley, you do more than just buy a motorcycle. You become part of a tribe.
This kind of cult brand goes beyond mere brand loyalty.
Harley-Davidson built its reputation as a brand for people who do not follow the rules, but they went beyond that to give themselves the mission of bringing together like-minded individuals.
By introducing their Harley Owners Group chapters, local Harley fanatics could come together for rides, charity events, and more.
At its peak, HOG had more than a million members.
Harley-Davidson did not just create a brand that his customers liked.
They created a lifestyle.
How to get to know your customers
You will not know your customers overnight.
Your customers are dynamic people.
When their needs change, you change.
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos describes his approach to customers like this:
"We consider our guests to be guests at a party, and we are the hosts – it's our daily job to make a little better every important aspect of the customer experience."
As one of the most customer-centric companies in the world, it's safe to say that Amazon knows a thing or two about getting to know their audience.
To help you pull a page from the Amazon book, here are five tips for getting to know your customers better.
1. Build your buyer character.
A buyer character is a guide for the people you are trying to attract.
Typically, a buyer character would describe a customer or an ideal customer in every detail.
Here is a basic character model of HubSpot's buyer.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079314_448_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" Hubspot Buyer Personality "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-35908 "/>
In this character, you can describe some fairly basic information about your target audience.
This includes their basic demographics and antecedents, as well as some unique identifiers.
However, if you really want to make your customers the center of your marketing, you're going to want to go much further than that.
Compare the HubSpot model to this example of Iron Spring Designs.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079315_330_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" Iron springs drawings buyer persona "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36456 "/>
Although it still covers a lot of the same information as the basic character, it plunges much deeper into the character's personality.
Once you've created your basic buyer character, think about how you can go a step further.
What challenges does your client face?
What are they afraid of?
Who influences their choices and how do they live their lives?
Much of this information may not seem relevant to your brand and your business, but getting a complete picture can allow you to establish deeper links.
Here's another great example of a character you can shoot.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079315_701_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" Personality of the buyer kelli "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36457 "/>
However, when creating your buyer personas, you can not just create a customer from scratch – especially if you already have a loyal customer base.
Think of Gap's brand change in 2010.
The clothing company, known for its basic and basic products, decided to opt for a younger and trendier clientele, while neglecting its current clientele.
And people were not happy.
While you can use your customer persona to shape the direction you want your business to go, you can not just drop your old customers in favor of the new ideal customers you've imagined.
Instead, create multiple characters that can coexist.
Remember, creating personas should not be a one-and-done type affair.
To really understand your target audience and who they are, you have to watch how they evolve.
Come back and revisit your buyer character every few months, or after a major change in your industry.
2. Listen to them on social networks.
The social pages of our customers are a bit like their newspapers.
Except that they are ready to display everything in public.
By properly listening to your audience on the social, you can learn a lot about what they are looking for and what they think of your brand.
However, if you strictly examine the mentions, publications and comments addressed to your company, you are absent.
Social listening – which differs from simple social monitoring – provides companies with ideas about how they meet (or miss) customer expectations.
Let's take a look at Chipotle.
The incredibly popular food chain has had a difficult year, with multiple scandals related to food security.
So it's not surprising that food security is central to most of the conversations about them on Twitter.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079315_631_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" conversations tweet chipotle "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36458 "/>
However, Chipotle can also see that its customers are just as concerned about things like guac and queso as about their food security.
To have a real idea of who your target audience is and what they expect from you, you need to go beyond mere mentions to do it.
You can start by simply searching for the name of your company on social platforms.
Here is a simple example of a Domino client on Twitter.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079315_104_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" domino clients on twitter "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36459 "/>
Although the user has not posted directly to Domino's account, he can still find this information in the search bar.
However, social listening tools can give you stronger ideas and faster results.
Mention, for example, is a great tool to monitor your brand anywhere online.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079315_510_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" nasa on reference software "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36460 "/>
The dashboard gives you a snapshot of where your brand is, where it's located and where it's impacting.
While it is important to pay close attention to conversations with which you are not directly involved, it is also crucial to connect when your audience comes to you.
42% of customers expect that a brand will answer them on the social in an hour.
Active monitoring of questions, comments, or comments can give you insight into your customers while giving you an idea of the issues your audience may be having.
Check out this answer from Comcast, not even a minute after the customer mentioned his problem.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079315_7_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" comcast cares twitter reply "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36461 "/>
Remember, social can act as a two-way street.
Do not be afraid to engage in conversations, ask questions, and follow users who you think can tell you more about your audience.
3. Create and send polls.
If you want to know something about your target audience, why not ask?
Polls can provide you with ideas or direct opinions that you would not have been able to collect.
Polls, however, are not the easiest things to engage your audience.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your response rate to the survey.
First, keep your survey simple.
Check out this example from The Yard.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_593_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" Would you recommend the garden "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36462 "/>
This survey is about as simple as possible.
Beneficiaries do not face a long survey that would take a serious commitment of time to complete.
Instead, all they have to do is click a button, and The Yard understands better if their members are happy.
This type of integrated surveys can significantly improve participation in the survey.
Take a look at this case study from Get Feedback.
Get Feedback decided to test two similar e-mail surveys, one containing a link to a Web survey and the other with built-in responses.
They found that the integrated survey actually increased the starting commitment by 210% and allowed a 125% improvement in the completion of the survey.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_819_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" inquiry inquiry ab test "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36463 "/>
The integrated survey also had 66% fewer subscribers, indicating that users have much more appreciated this type of survey.
When you create your poll or quiz, you also want to humanize your email.
By saying things like "it would really help us" or "we would like to hear your comments", you show that the results of the survey have a real purpose.
You can also improve the answers by displaying a progress bar.
Here is another example of SurveyMonkey.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_501_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" social survey monkey question "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36464 "/>
Notice downstairs how survey participants can see how close they are to being finished.
This progress bar allows them to know when the survey will be completed, which will make them more inclined to finish it.
However, Survey Monkey found that a progress bar did not always help it.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_399_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" Schedule of completion rates ab test "class =" alignnone size-full wp-image-36465 "/>
For longer surveys, a lower visual scale, a higher figure, or a lower percentage improved completion, while lower numbers and higher results detracted.
In contrast, the highest percentages and the highest numbers reduced the completion of short-term surveys while all core placements helped.
If you use surveys to know your target audience, you want the process to be as simple as possible for participants.
Keep the questions short and precise.
Also be sure to analyze survey results and how participants interact with them.
If you notice participants leaving halfway, think about what you can do to change that.
4. Look at the content with which they engage.
Whether it's about blog posts, videos, computer graphics or images, customers regularly interact with different forms of content throughout the day.
In fact, American adults spend more than 12 hours a day consuming media.
To better understand what they want and what they need, you have to be careful.
First of all, it's important to see what kind of content they connect with.
The best way to do this is with your Google Analytics.
You can find the best pages of your business by logging into Google Analytics by selecting "Behavior", then "Site Content" and "All Pages".
Here is an example of OptinMonster.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_790_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.png" alt=" optin monster ab test "class =" alignnone full-size wp-image-36466 "/>
Knowing which pages are the most popular can help you understand what kind of content to create.
Search for particular patterns that appear in your most popular pages.
Also pay attention to the types of content with which they interact.
If your audience prefers infographics to blog posts, you may want to work more infographics in your content strategy.
In addition, you can go to a competitor's social media page to see which posts receive a lot of likes or shares.
Here is an example of Thrive Market.
Using this information, you can include recipe messages in your own strategy.
However, you do not want to copy competitors directly.
Instead, take what they provide and find a way to make it better.
Add new ideas, create a better image or video, or explore the subject to get more value than your competitors.
However, you can try to find a way to make your content more valuable than what already exists.
5. Pay attention to customers not converting.
There is no doubt that there is much to learn from your customers.
However, there is probably a lot more to learning leads that do not convert.
This process can be a little more complicated than simply knowing which customers are buying.
After all, you do not have as much information on these leads as your customers.
To determine where you lose leads, you have to consider the traditional buyer's journey.
Here is an example of HubSpot.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_677_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" hubspot funnel "class =" full-size alignnone wp-image-36467 "/>
First, customers become aware of their problem.
They then examine the options available to solve this problem.
Finally, they decide how they will find a solution.
Every buyer, regardless of the industry, goes through this trip.
However, if you introduce yourself to buyers during the examination phase and you lose them before making a decision, you could do something wrong.
It is unlikely that every individual who uses your content will buy from you.
In fact, the conversion rates for content marketing are only about 3%.
But you still need to identify leaks in your sales funnel.
You should provide content for each stage of the buyer's journey.
By making sure you cover all your bases, you can ensure that each individual has the information they need to get to the end.
You should also consider areas where you have commitments, but not conversions.
Social is an excellent example.
If you constantly post new content and you receive hundreds of likes and comments, but you do not see any sales, it means that there is a serious disconnect.
The same is true for your blog posts or videos.
Try changing your CTAs, social publications, or even introducing a new form of content.
And you do not have to be too creative about what you add.
Take this dentist from Indiana, for example.
Dr. Sutor uses Facebook Live to talk about common dental problems and gets thousands of views.
<img src="https://businessdigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1524079316_959_why-understanding-your-customers-is-the-only-marketing-strategy-you-need.jpg" alt=" dentist using facebook live "class =" alignnone full-size wp-image-36468 "/>
Although these numbers are not extreme, they are an easy way to bring new potential leads and broaden the scope.
Make small changes that will allow you to properly track the influence of your audience and note the improvements.
As you begin to learn what your target audience do not like you can give them more about what they do .
When it comes to marketing, stop assuming you know better.
If you still try to tell your audience what they need, you will never sell products.
Today's buyer understands his needs and the solutions that are available to him.
They are well-informed, intelligent and do not want to fall into traditional sales tactics.
But when you work with them to create and deliver the solutions that they want, you can create a faithful follow-up that wants to help you succeed.
How does knowing your customers improve your sales and marketing?
About the author: Neil Patel is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital.