Constant customer orientation

How to ensure you focus on your customers by using digital marketing

What can small companies achieve if they pursue constant customer orientation in digital marketing? Martina Dalla Vecchia, a lecturer in e-commerce, digital marketing and social media at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), provides the answers.

Why is it becoming increasingly important to focus on constant customer orientation in marketing?

Constant customer orientation simply means a company focusing intensively on its customers to gain a better understanding of them. The company aims to find out about the customer’s situation when they have interactions with the company. That is nothing new in itself. However, the situation has become more complex – virtual as well as real contact points have to be taken into account along the customer journey during the purchase process. Customers generally find out about the product or service online – not just on the company website but also on ratings sites, blogs or YouTube. All of these contact points – from initial interest to after-sales customer service – are included in the customer journey using one or more customer profiles, also known as personas, which we derive from the target groups.

The digital points of contact in marketing include Google searches, websites/blogs/shops, newsletters/webinars, Xing/Linkedin/Google+, Facebook/Twitter and Youtube/SlideShare. Examples of offline points of contact are local branches, events, advertising/PR, seminars, direct mail / flyers and trade fairs.
Examples of digital and non-digital points of contact on the customer journey.

How can small companies produce such personas?

The objectives, requirements, interests and search profile of the company’s typical customers are determined from experience and customer data. Let’s take a camera business as an example. It plans to launch a customer acquisition campaign in early summer. To ensure the campaign is carried out in a targeted way, the company produces the persona Jenny based on existing sales figures and customer requirements. Jenny is 24 years old, she wants to buy an underwater camera and needs to be able to take fantastic underwater photos. Her interests are travelling and diving. She usually uses Google for searches, is active on Instagram and Facebook and is a frequent smartphone user. In terms of customer experience, she is looking for a cool look and a bargain. Campaign objectives can now be derived from this persona description.

This example show the persona Jenny who is 24 years old, works in a bank and is single. She is described as follows: Objective: to purchase an underwater camera Requirement: fantastic underwater photos Interests: travelling, diving Search: search profile on Google Online: very active on her smartphone User experience: cool look, bargain Call-to-action: test now with no obligation Social: Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp  The company’s objectives and benchmarks are: to measure purchase of an underwater camera with sales; measure newsletter subscriptions with registrations, measure recommendations from social media with social signs.

What might the goals be?

Here is an example: we want Jenny to buy an underwater camera, to sign up for our newsletter and to recommend our product on social media. The customer journey is now defined on this basis, visualizing Jenny’s contact points with the camera shop in relation to her decision-making process. This process covers the initial interest, the information and offer comparison phase, the actual purchase, the delivery and customer service.

The following measures are implemented over the stages of the customer journey: video blog with newsletter subscription in the interest, information and comparison stage, special offer in the comparison and purchase stage and photo competition in the service phase.
The stages of a customer journey.

The camera shop’s task now is to provide the persona Jenny with the correct information at every stage of the decision-making process. The camera shop decides to produce a video blog with great ideas for underwater photos. At the end of the video, there is a reference to the newsletter and a special offer to encourage customers to buy the product. Customers are then encouraged to give recommendations with a photo competition on social media in the after-sales phase.

What advantages do small businesses have in modern marketing?

You know your customers very well. Your big opportunity lies in applying this knowledge in the digital world. To do so, you require a fundamental knowledge of digital marketing. This could be systematically acquired through advanced training or developed by working with an agency. The key factor is the general willingness to focus on digital marketing as a permanent task. The company can stand out from the competition with comprehensive customer understanding and the right mix of measures.

What should small businesses avoid in digital marketing?

Using the famous vendor’s tray for the sake of simplicity. Due to a lack of resources, small companies should limit themselves to a few channels, but they should make optimal use of them.

About our expert

Prof. Martina Dalla Vecchia is a lecturer in e-commerce, digital marketing and social media at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). As early as 2000, she launched Switzerland’s first course in e-commerce and online marketing. Her areas of expertise include marketing automation, campaign management and digital business networking (XING/LinkedIn).

This might interest you too