“Getting closer to the customer” is an all-too common goal of companies. And while the refrain has a nice ring to it, enabling a strategy to deliver on that promise is not trivial. After all, we know that customers have more choices than ever before and that brand loyalty is only as strong as the most recent experience. This is not just the case for consumers of CPG products; this is equally true of all industries.
While building an effective customer-focused strategy will differentiate your business, it isn’t as simple as making this a goal. This requires three core elements:
- Focusing on the right metrics that will drive behavioral change of the people in your organization.
- A commitment to understanding the customer at a strategic level – not just around the transactional experiences they may have had with your products in the past.
- CEO leadership and company-wide commitment to shift from functional orientation of the past to customer experience and market orientation of the future.
In talking with CEOs, we have learned that client, customer and consumer-focused strategies are critically important because of the shifts happening and anticipated to happen in customer retention, loyalty and growth strategies in the next 1-3 years. For B2C businesses, this is already happening with consumer buying and loyalty patterns affecting the growth strategies of businesses.
For B2B businesses, the shift is also taking place, and it is demanding a more focused, business-wide look at customer engagement programs including: segmentation approaches, digital investments and content marketing strategies as well as internal alignment around the customer. To be successful with these programs, you must take a long-term view and commit to the fact that you will be driving change that will eventually hit all areas of the organization. Those companies that stay the course with their client-focused strategy will rise above.