Marketing has always been inherently customer-centric. However, companies still struggle to create and communicate real value and thus fail to attract the right customers.
Also, customers constantly evolve their interest and buyer behaviour, making the task even more difficult. Find out how customers make their decisions, why marketing campaigns fail, and why you should strive to create a customer-centered firm yourself.
How customers make decisions?
In order to reach the customer and influence his choices, first, you must understand the decision-making process behind every purchase decision.
The process entails the very important element of need recognition as a result of discomfort or pain, which the customer then attempts to resolve by engaging in an information search. Once he has familiarized himself with the options, he evaluates the alternatives and makes his choice.
The last step which can’t be excluded is the post-purchase feelings of the customer. They determine if he will recommend it to others, or buy again.
Stages of the process are generally the same, although not always in the same order. For example, sometimes the customer only discovers he is experiencing discomfort after a solution is presented to him in the form of an advertisement.
This 5 stage process is the general blueprint, however, every industry and market, just as every individual customer, varies in the details. This is why understanding your niche market is very important.
Customer leave breadcrumbs, especially digital ones, so following those is a great first step in learning about your customer’s behaviour. Also, avoid the mistake of assuming you know how the customer uses your product.
Instead, make an effort to Discover customer needs and habits by talking to them and observing their behaviour in person. After gaining key insight, with the tools of the Design Thinking methodology, marketers can start to think like the customer. And in that way, you can create a user-centered marketing campaign.
Why did campaigns fail?
The success of a marketing campaign is not only a result of the campaign itself. Marketing is the combination of the product’s appearance and performance, its price, the packaging, where its sold, the user experience and the advertising efforts. Even if a campaign is exceptionally creative and engaging, if the other elements are not aligned, the product will not sell.
Marketers need to focus on the customer and view the world from his perspective, but so do product developers. A product which was not created with the customer in mind will not be able to appeal to him regardless of the advertising.
Creating value for the customers is easiest with the Design Thinking approach. It enables the creators to think with empathy and combine different ideas into testable prototypes. Through teamwork and collaborative effort, they create a product that will appeal to the customer because it satisfies his own unique needs and wants.
Once you create this kind of product, the next step is communicating its value with the public. As a marketer, you can also use Design Thinking to create a successful advertising campaign. With powerful messages that are tailored for the customer and in that way achieve the desired goal.
Why should you strive to create/become a customer-centered firm?
Customer-centered firms as a concept are has grown in popularity massively in the last decade, and for a good reason.
Many companies make the mistake of focusing too much on the competitors, watching their every move like a hawk.
In contrast, becoming a customer-centered company is a pledge to creating real value for the people which you want to sell to. Only in that way you can hope to have loyal customers. That comes with great word of mouth advertising and sustainable advantage in the market.
The most loyal customers are those associated with your brand. Of course, they are attracted only by a unique value proposition.
Think of Apple and the hype before every single launch of the iPhone. People are camping in front of the stores just to be the first to get their hands on the device. There are more powerful phones on the market, for a lower price, too. But “surprisingly” the majority still want that new iPhone.
Apple was able to create and sustain the unprecedented loyalty of its customers. They achieve this by always putting them first: in creating the product, the packaging, the stores, the advertisements, and the whole user experience.
They are able to achieve that by using the Design Thinking methodology in all their internal processes, and their results speak for the methodology’s effectiveness.
Becoming a successful brand is no easy task. Using a customer-centric approach in all aspects of marketing is key. The Design Thinking methodology can help you achieve it more efficiently. Follow the example of the greatest companies in the world and include Design Thinking in your company’s creative processes today.