Long ago when I wanted to purchase groceries in my village I go around neighborhood shops and regularly purchased items from them. The shopkeeper knows which brands I prefer the most and what’s my attitude towards new brands if he wants to introduce any of them to me.
Shopkeeper know my family very well, he also had a decent idea about our basic preferences; not that everyone in our family went to that shop and explicitly mentioned our preferences. He somehow managed to understand our preferences decently well.
Shopkeeper treated us like family, we trusted him whenever he made a suggestion because he understood our preferences very well. We felt he is not trying to push it through our throat, but he truly believes we needed that product for our own good. When he make a suggestion we think about it very seriously before we ignore it.
Then when I moved into London and got the first-hand experience of purchasing at big stores like Lidl, ASDA, Morrisons. I liked the experience of going around the entire store picking my own goods those I felt good based on my intuition, heard in advertisements, etc. However I regretted most of my decisions when I tried new items based on advertisements, next time when I visited the shop again I started interacting with store assistants there and they didn’t know a thing about the product.
When I’ve seen around all those 20% discounts, 2+1 offers, coupons everything they do is to just choke the products into my throat even without understanding who I’m and what I need. Eventually, I stopped going to the same shop and started purchasing in different shops wherever I felt like buying anything for us, lost my loyalness for a particular store. Because it didn’t make any difference to me.
I basically wanted some personal touch like our previous shopkeeper, at least those attendants in these big stores could’ve been little more interactive unless they interact with me they don’t understand my needs or preferences.
a) Businesses should focus more on customer needs than products. Stores should stop finding customers who will purchase their products, but they should identify the products which customers might buy in future and start positioning them well with customers.
**Example: **A world famous University in UK where I used to consult wanted to start one of their PG degree programs, having decided we wanted to find out whether the customers are really interested in these types of programs. We then did a small analysis in Google Adwords what’s the search is like and found out there’s a decent number of students looking for those kind of courses and moved ahead to introduce the course.
b) Stores like Morrisons, ASDA, Big Bazaar tries to spam customers pushing their marketing messages in all the various channels possible. They cry for more customers, and send out discounts, offers to all existing customers hoping they’d buy more.
Messages should be targeted for individual needs of customers, Amazon does it perfectly well. There’s no 100% right solution for this but even if we match 50% to customers expectations we are still good.
Personalised customer interaction with targeted messages is important to achieve this.
c) Increasing repeated purchases of a specific customer (Increasing LTV).
Marketing costs are skyrocketing, customer loyalty at its low. Unless you retain your customer for certain number of months businesses are not making profits forget profits they don’t even break-even.
It is important to retain customers for a maximum period with repeated purchases for registering profits.
How to achieve it?
a) Learn more about your customers continuously.
b) Match the preferences of your customers at a macro level with products
c) Be there at every touch point your customer come across.
It’s important brands/businesses should start caring for customers, with many options at customer’s table brands will succeed only when they understand their customer needs as well preferences very well.
Are there any brands who does customer-centric marketing? Share your views below.