The 3 secrets of customer centric marketers in the Age of the Customer

Recently we noticed this really interesting article from Google about the three secrets of Customer Centric Search Marketers, in which the value of customer centricity was pointed out as the path of success followed by succesful brands.

According to this article, the three things that succesful customer centric companies do really well are the following:

  • They uncover the true value of customers. They identify most valuable customers (that can be a new meaning to the MVC acronym 🙂 ) by creating a customer scoring system, based on a mix of metrics, related to Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
  • They apply customer segmentation to digital. They create segments based on CLV and examine the habits of high value segments (i.e. users who purchase twice in the first month are 3x more profitable than average).
  • They pick the right KPIs. They calculate lifetime profits of a customer and define a target CPA or RoAS for each segment.

Humans are not only users. Behaviour data and purchase habits do provide great insights and are a great way to segment customers, but to be able to really focus on the customer and be customer centric, the “citizen” part of humans (=customers) should not be forgotten. Trust, experience, (bi-directional) communication and many more details that cannot be measured by time on site or bounce rates should be an integral part of an insights system of a customer centric brand.

In this context, following we extend the excelent points made by Google, bringing the “citizen” part of the customer in the center of the discussion.

Behavioural metrics are good, but do not forget experience

In the process of creating a scoring system, the metrics mentioned in the article are mostly behaviour based (i.e. time on site, number of purchases). An addition to this would be to consider the value of a customer that would recommend your brand or business to 3 friends (or a customer that has already done it before). e-satisfaction’s Refer a Friend Humanize Marketing Automation is used on average by 28% of customers that are asked for a referal. The value of these customers has been automatically increased and an e-business should find ways to attract more of them or engage them with even more ways!

Data FROM the customer should be used to create segments

It is great to predict the value of a client  based on behavioural facts and this should be an integral part of an insights mechanism, but there is a missing bit of information there. By working and researching on customer experience and customer satisfaction data in more than 160 e-retail businesses, we discovered 18 experience-based customer segments, related to prices, assortment, shipping and packaging. These segments are indicators on whether a customer will buy again or not and if the customer will recommend or not a brand to friends. Thus, it is important to create a customer insights system with data for the customer (such as behaviour data, CRM data or analytics data) and data FROM the customer, which can be collected by asking the customer directly.

Cost – Value KPIs are good, but where are loyalty KPIs

Developing cost – value KPIs for each customer segment is great but “softer” KPIs should also be in the mix. A great example is NPS (Net Promoter Score) which is a really important metric, linked to the positive word of mouth (and free marketing) your brand can potentially get from customers (or the negative effect detractors may have in your brand). NPS should be a core metric for any customer centric brand, despite the fact that it is not directly linked to CPA or RoAS. Whether you add NPS score in the equation of calculating CLV or you create a custom “Cost Per Ambassador Client” KPI, you should not forget to include this important metric to customer centric metrics system.

Today e-businesses and brands have lots of data about customers in hand and are in the process of structuring new KPIs that will help them make better and faster decisions. By extending the closing statement of Google’s article, we close ours by adding the section in italics “After all, an individual sales is great, but acquiring high-value, loyal customers and making sure they have a great experience that will share will pay off more in the long run”

Also published on Medium.