Life In A Customer Centric Universe

HubSpot is widely recognized as an innovator and all-around kick-butt operator in the inbound marketing industry, which has grown to mammoth proportions in the last 10 years.

They have also provided a lot of educational materials, like the ubiquitous graphic of customer lifecycle stages below. I like the image, but I’m going to use the same ingredients to slice, dice, chew into, and serve up a different, customer centric vision.

It’s a vision that’s been working for us at BlogMutt nicely as we integrate our marketing, sales, and customer support teams to address the needs of our customers.

In this graphic, HubSpot is telling us that as marketers we attract, convert, close and delight our customers. It’s a great image, except it misses the biggest point about inbound marketing to start: The customer is the center of the universe!

In the old world, we as marketers advertised our product because we had this great thing and we needed to tell EVERYONE about it.

But that sucks. We spent thousands of dollars on the highway billboards and broadcast TV ads to tell an uninterested population about our stuff. They would never think to convert to our product or service…because they weren’t asking for it.

With the exploding interactivity of the web in all its forms, we can listen and pay attention to our customers in ways we never could before, long before they’ve signed a contract, purchased a product, or swiped their credit card. This change puts our customer at the center of our minds, products, and thus — the universe.

So much so, in fact, that we may even name her, like in the image I doctored up above. With our customer persona (Jane Smith) at the center, we can do much better work as entrepreneurs, marketers, salespeople, and account managers.

You will notice I made some other changes to the language on that graphic in order to draw it into focus — namely, focusing on our customer, Jane.

Every day our customer, dear Jane Smith, is Learning — Selecting — Committing — Experiencing.

Let’s break that down.

Learning

We need to think about our customer, think like our customer, or just flat-out ask our customer what she needs. What questions is she asking? In order to create good content for our customer, we need to start by taking our expert hats off. Seriously. Be a newb for a minute and think: What do I need to know about this company/product?

The best way to do this is to actually ask your customer what she needs. Shoot, interview her.

Then, answer her questions. Seems simple — and it is — but this is all part of the process. You could even have BlogMutt write an entire blog post answering her questions.

In just those few steps, you did it. You made valuable content for your actual, living, breathing (and soon, buying) customer.

Selecting

So Jane Smith is searching for the answer to her question. Say she finds you on Google, or in her Facebook feed, then visits your website. Great.

Once there, you need your customer to DO something. This is where calls-to-action come into play. CTAs are how we convert prospects into leads. It is Jane saying directly to you, “Hey, I want to learn more about this thing you just showed me.” Don’t lose that moment. Have your customer fill out a form to express her interest.

After that, don’t wait around. Get back to her.

Do it fast.

Committing

However you get back to your customer, you need to do it in such a way that the next steps for her are totally clear. Infuse your brand personality and create an experience. Above all — be nice and helpful.

Equally important, make it easy. Minimize total clicks required to buy.

Is there a barrier to entry? Remove it.

And BOOM. $$ in your hands.

Now that they’re in…

Experiencing

You got your customer. All right. Done. Take a vacation, you’ve made it. Right?

WRONG.

This is where the work really begins and where the gold is found.

Tell me, how many of your customers only have one pain point in their lives? Anybody? Bueller?

Of course not. And Jane Smith is no different. So, as soon as you have Jane here at this stage, experiencing your product or service, remember to keep asking her more questions so that you can discover what else she wants to LEARN about. Pretty soon she’ll be making her way through this lifecycle again on her way to another experience. Sometimes this is called a cross-sell or an up-sell, but either way, it’s the best way to grow your business: Happy customers getting happier.

Feedback

Word of mouth is so powerful. You want Jane to be psyched. And you want to give her opportunities to tell you that she’s psyched.

Why? Because if she is telling you, she is telling herself and people love to convince themselves that they are right. If Jane tells you she loves Skittles, for example, by God she’s going to keep loving Skittles — mostly so she doesn’t contradict herself. (But also because Skittles are awesome.)

There are a few ways to find out if a customer is loving your product or service. Spoiler alert: They all involve asking her directly. One of the most popular/effective ways is to ask: “Hey, on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends or colleagues?”

When you gather the results, you will be able to build what is called a Net Promoter Score. You will want to measure your NPS regularly so you can watch it change, find out why, course-correct and replicate success. Here’s a helpful link so you can learn more about NPS from the experts.

OK, great customer centric theory, you say. But it won’t work for me. Not my business.

Color me intrigued. Let’s hear about it. What is different about your business? How can we alter the steps above to work for you and engage your customer?

Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the next couple of installments, where I’ll walk through a couple examples and tell you more about what I mean by a customer centric lifecycle.


Originally published at www.blogmutt.com.

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