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In Claire’s day-to-day as NMPi’s Head of Biddable, she often hears clients ask how they can develop a customer-first approach but what does this actually mean? Claire phrases it as an approach that guides the customer through their journey with relevant content to deliver your desired action. This, however, is still easier said than done, so here are some of her top tips for building a Customer-First Approach.
Understanding Your Audiences
The first step in any customer-first approach is to understand your current customer. What demographics do they tend to fall into, what is their favourite brand or product, what is their price point, and when are they most likely to shop? Each of these questions helps you to build a picture of your current customer from the ground up, allowing you to perfect your messaging for returning customers.
Once you’re happy with who your current customers are, the next stage is to expand your customer portfolio and consider who you want your customer to be. Research is key here to ensure your goals are realistic, that you’re performing on at least a similar level to your competitors, and that the value these new customers will bring in compares to your current portfolio. A simple example here is that your targets for new customers shouldn’t be the same as your targets for returning customer.
Review and Readjust
With your audiences set up, it’s time to review your channels to set yourself up for an omnichannel approach. We know that a “typical” customer journey involves a huge chain of touchpoints, so we know that a customer-first approach requires an omnichannel approach. While this might be more difficult to achieve due to the way your company is split out, communication will be your saviour. Make sure you are passing all of your learnings between channels to ensure that your activity reflects the complex nature of the customer journey.
After all of your research on your current and ideal customer, you know exactly who they are and what’s important to them. So, why not call out some of these things in your messaging? If you know their price point is £100 or lower, don’t show them any items that are more expensive. If a specific campaign is targeting women aged 18-22, use female-led messaging and focus on the things that are important to them like next day delivery. If you know they only shop during promotions, don’t waste your spend on them throughout the rest of the year.
Keep Moving Forward
So, you know your current customer and your ideal audience. You know what they like, what is important to them, and you’ve developed an omnichannel approach that is set up to send the right message at the right time. If you think your work is done, though, you’d be mistaken.
It’s not enough to set up a customer-first approach and leave it, you can never stop exploring your customer. Times will change, your product offering will change, and your audiences will almost certainly change. Claire’s most crucial piece of advice is to never stop exploring your customer – their needs and wants will change quicker than you’d think.
Lastly, be clear on what you can maintain and what you can scale up. You might think you can handle a highly-granular and incredibly personalised approach now, but is this something you can keep up? How about when your customer base grows? Keep your segments tight enough to give a customer what they want, but big enough that they’re still manageable.
But most importantly, come up with your own definition of customer-centric that works for you and your business. Whether that’s simply segmenting new and returning customers, or creating bespoke personas for your audiences, ensure that what you’re doing is manageable and can be scaled up as the need arises.