Do you know what your customers want? What they really want? Ask any small business owner and they can likely tell you everything you’d want to know about each individual customer’s behavior, needs and desires. Smaller businesses benefit from an emotional, invested customer relationship, with the knowledge to accurately cater to their requests, and the ability to accurately recommend relevant products to suit their tastes.
As businesses grow, so too does the distance from the customer. Even if your organization still has staff who interact directly with customers, the knowledge they gain from them does not always make it back to the appropriate decision maker. Equally, a beautifully crafted campaign to transform the customer experience does not always translate down to the staff on the floor.
By collecting customer data, brands have attempted to bridge gaps in the customer journey through monitoring website and purchasing behavior, email responses, customer loyalty schemes and so on. In some respects, businesses today know more about their customers than even the boldest shopkeeper would dare ask. However, this information needs to be contextualized, and given a focus before any use can be made of it.
With data-driven marketing, the disparate facts you collect can be used for the targeting and segmentation of customers. But it is only once it has been pulled together into a unified view that you can start to develop insight. With customer insight strategies and insight-driven marketing, decisions are made based on an understanding of what customers genuinely want, rather than marketers telling them what they want. Perhaps unsurprisingly, listening to such conversations has led to some memorable marketing, with impressive results.
One of the most notable examples of a customer insight strategy is soap brand Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’. First launching in 2004, the campaign conducted a survey of 3,000 women in 10 countries. One highlight figure – that only 2% of these women considered themselves beautiful – formed the basis of marketing strategy questioning what ‘beauty’ was, eschewing the traditional use models in favor of ‘real’ women in its adverts. In 2013, one of its ‘Dove Real Beauty Sketches’ was the then most viewed video ad of all time.
More recently, sandwich chain Pret a Manger launched its first vegetarian-only store – the standalone Pret’s Little Veggie Pop-up. The store was created on the request of 10,000 customers, who voted for a non-meat only store in an online poll. Originally intended to be open for the month of June 2016 (and expected to be a loss-making project) the pop-up was actually so successful the chain plans to make the pop-up permanent, and is considering opening another store before the end of the year.
Similarly, supermarket ALDI has emerged as one of the UK’s most popular grocery stores thanks to its appreciation of customers’ desire for better value products over a need for brand names. Something that rivals have been seemingly slower to acknowledge. Nevertheless, the supermarket has also made a concerted effort to address customer concerns about the provenance of its products with its latest ‘Meet the Suppliers’ adverts. Both have helped the chain see its market share increase by 15.3% in 2015.
All these examples share something in common – that they are based on a truth that brands have used to take informed action. Yet customer insight can be applied on a much more intimate level, too.
Customer insight is also vital for the creation of customer journeys maps, to understand why a customer is doing what they are doing, what they want and how you can help them achieve it. And, with customer journey optimization tools, monitoring the action of individual customers allows for immediate, personalized engagement, as and when a customer needs it.
Marketing is becoming increasingly customer-led. Accepting that they are the ones in charge and will not always walk a rigid path you created for them, or accept what you tell them, requires a change of thinking. But the sooner you start putting your customer first, the sooner you can start delivering a service or product they really want.
To find out more, please download BlueVenn’s latest eBook: Intervening in the Customer Journey.
Marketers now have to focus more on the experience than the goal, simply because your customers and clients demand control of how they get from point A to point B. To do that, marketers need to understand the customer journey, as well as find new ways to intervene appropriately, at the best times.