Customer Centricity has never been more important

As part of the run up to the 2013 Incite Summit, we asked 300+ marketing and communications executives about the key issues they see impacting on their roles in 2013.Customer Centric 1
Incite uses crowd sourcing to discuss with marketing and communication executives key marketing questions.
Customer centricity is starting to become a focus because of the social channels or the conversation is coming from customers or us. We are directing the conversation and so companies have no choice but to be transparent, customer facing, responsive and empathic. I would challenge that many marketers would not have gone this route if it wasn’t apparent that they had to. On the other hand I come at it from a customer centric mindset because it resonates with my value set.
It will be interesting those companies that give it a token gesture as part of their campaigns and those who have it as part of their DNA and more importantly how customers respond.

 Ncustomer_centric_maturityote on definitions of ‘customer-centricity

One could read these results as a more cautious reading of what ‘customer-centricity’ means for a corporate audience. The ideal espoused by Bob Thompson of Customer Think is of a ‘customer-inspired’ business, which

“Thinks deeply about what customers are trying to accomplish in their business and personal lives, and create new ways to add value before they ask”

But perhaps corporate practitioners’ understanding of ‘customer-centricity’ is lower down Thompson’s “Customer-Centric Pyramid” – at the ‘Customer-Driven’ phase:

Incite shares some brilliant interviews with different marketers.

Nicki Briggs is the Chief Marketing Officer at Chobani, the US-based Greek Yogurt company. –

“To be honest, no, we didn’t. It’s naturally a part of who we are. It’s not forced, it’s what we believe. It’s how we have always been.

One of the core principles in our company stems from the notion of ‘the golden rule’ – treating our consumers the way we want to be treated ourselves if we were buying that product.

But because my team is so closely linked to the consumer – through our visual engagement team and customer loyalty team, amongst others – we make sure that everything we’re saying is consistent with our DNA. And that it’s something that consumers can really get involved in.Everything we try to create is around being authentic and transparent like that.”

What steps have you taken to achieve that aim? What have you done to make L’Oreal more customer-centric?

Marc Speichert is the Chief Marketing Officer at L’Oreal USA. 

“We’ve done a lot of work around the path to purchase. We partnered with McKinsey, to help us rethink how consumers are actually approaching, and how they think about purchasing, beauty.

That led us to move from the traditional funnel metaphor to a more circular path to purchase. In this circular model, it all starts with consideration, then moves to evaluation, to purchase, and then to advocacy. Understanding when people move from one step to another, by each category, is very important for us.

Moving forward, we then use those learnings to think differently about our Go To Market strategies as we launch products.”

Claire Burns, Chief Customer Officer at MetLife
“My role at Metlife is leading a transformation – we’re trying to transform the company from a product-centric to a customer-centric organisation. It’s a huge change remit – in terms of transforming almost everything that we do to an outside-in perspective, from what today is very much inside-out. –

To get there, we’re doing a lot around gathering customer insights, both in terms of improving our existing experiences, and in terms of helping design new experiences for customers.

We’re also fixing a whole lot about today’s experience, and we’re making more consistent experiences across multiple products, markets, channels of communications, channels of interaction.

For us, we’re trying to stand out in terms of our brand promise as enabling and emboldening consumers, and to act in their financial interests, and what we’re finding is that all of our competitors are talking about scaring people. Scaring people into buying this product because it’s something they need, and what we’re trying to say is that this is in your control –  solutions to help you secure your financial future and realise your dreams.

We’re spinning this as ‘we’re giving you the tools, you can do this’. And to do that and to be successful in delivering that promise, we absolutely need to be customer-centric. We need to be absolutely simple, intuitive, easy to work with, and be providing these kinds of tools that help people feel that confidence – and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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