A customer-first approach is, at this point, something that should be a default of any effective marketing or sales strategy. Customer obsessed takes the idea of putting your customers at the heart of everything you do a step further. We can’t take all the credit here – our inspo comes from ‘Stressing customer obsession: a conversation with Sequoia Capital’s Pieter Kemps’. But it got us thinking about the crucial role content plays in this approach, which puts your customer on a pedestal, rather than just front of mind. If you’re looking to provide a seamless customer experience, carefully planned, exceptionally well-written content can be used to inform, inspire, trigger action and … well, we could be here all day. It’s not just something B2C businesses should be thinking about either. Even if you’re speaking to a corporate or professional audience, they’re still people under those suits and ties. And everyone wants to be treated like they’re a priority, don’t they?
A customer first vs customer obsessed content strategy
At first glance, both approaches look pretty similar. But during the conversation, Kemps shared some insight into how organisations can go that step further.
“Some think it’s enough to have a chief customer officer or a chief innovation officer, while others opt for an innovation team. So you’re saying innovation is the responsibility of this team, not my team, not me. But the reality is that the entire organisation is sales. The entire organisation is innovation. The entire organisation needs to work toward the customer.”
For example, a customer-first content strategy could mean that you’ve identified your target audience and are creating content around topics that are relevant to them. Customer-obsessed means going a step further by analysing how people are engaging with your content. You could track key metrics, get a trusted outsider to regularly audit your content and make sure agility is built into your strategy, so you can produce content that responds to news your audience is likely to care about.
The benefits to your business
Being customer obsessed doesn’t just give your customers a better experience. It could also be a crucial part of driving better business outcomes. Removing the pound (or dollar, euro, yen) signs from your vision might seem counter-intuitive, but it could be the change of pace your company needs. Prioritising customers leads to easier acquisition, as you’re showing them you care about more than just their money. It can also lead to higher retention, as the content you’re producing is genuinely enjoyable for the right people, and cheaper advertising, as your audience shares content they find useful or interesting.
What customer-obsessed comms look like
Amazon calls its approach to championing customer experience ‘walking backwards’ – making a business case for new products by working out how they can add value to customers’ lives. Here are just some of the ways you can become a little bit more obsessed with your customers (but not in a weird, GDPR-violating way).
Pushing customer persona boundaries: It’s not enough just to know what a day in your customers’ life looks like. To make content that really stands out, you need to be obsessed with them. Find out what makes them smile, makes them cry, makes them spring into action and how your product/service could make a real difference in their lives. This approach is especially important (and often neglected) in B2B; remember, there’s always a human behind the job title you’re targeting.
Customer journey mapping: A study by Econsultancy found that just half of brands are actively engaged in customer journey mapping, with only a quarter of this group describing themselves as ‘proficient’. Yet of the companies that have applied it, 85% cite it as a key competitive advantage.
Consider the context: You have the chance to make your content even more engaging by considering its context. In some cases, it’s obvious how your customer feels about what you’re providing (hence why we don’t see funeral directors confirming funeral plan purchases with ‘yay, thanks for choosing to die with us’). But most of the time, it’s more nuanced. Sending a letter of acceptance about something like a mortgage or small business loan is exciting, but your customer will be receiving it at the start of a stressful, nerve-wracking and uncertain journey. Make sure you infuse the message of ‘we’re here to support you’ into your congratulations to show you genuinely get it.
Go beyond the buying: It’s a bit like any good relationship. You need to continue to put the effort in even after you’ve sealed the deal. Think about:
- How your products/services are being used
- What this will look like in three to six months
- How often they need to come back for more
- Opportunities you can encourage customers to take your relationship to the next level
Treat every touchpoint like it’s an occasion: There doesn’t have to be a reason for you to make your customers feel valued. Remind them that they’re your priority everywhere, from your confirmation emails to returns receipts, and you might just keep them coming back (or get them to come back) for more.
Using content strategy to turn obsession into something sweet
As markets across the world continue to change and get more competitive, we predict companies that champion their customers will be the real, long-term winners. And by committing to a customer-obsessed comms plan, you can show them you’re genuinely interested in what makes them tick. Need a hand putting together a customer-obsessed comms strategy? We can help. We’re a little obsessed with our clients (not in a creepy way, we promise!) and know a thing or two about content strategy. Get in touch to see how we can help.