Q&A: Customer-Centricity with Dorit Posdorf, Operating Partner Marketing, NuCom Group
A truly customer-centric campaign is the Holy Grail of marketing — and like the Holy Grail, it remains elusive. That’s why we’re talking to seasoned marketers about how to build frameworks and processes that result in truly customer-centric marketing.
We recently had the chance to ask Dorit Posdorf, Operating Partner Marketing, NuCom Group, some questions about the role of customer-centricity in building better customer journeys, the mistakes marketers make, and more. An experienced digital expert and strategy consultant, she supports e-commerce companies with regards to all facets of marketing strategy and marketing operations. The NuCom Group’s portfolio is focused on Direct-to-Consumer companies and includes among others Flaconi, Verivox, Jochen Schweizer, Amorelie, and Aroundhome.
Dorit will join us for The Great Marketing Debates Panel on May 19. Until then, read on to get a sneak peek into some of the insights she will share during the discussion and take a deep dive into the idea of customer-centricity.
A: True, there is no one common definition. For me, customer-centricity means that the whole company puts the customer in the focus of their attention, their thinking, and actions. So, it is not about the theoretical or technical possible outcome but about the outcome, that engages, entices, or empowers a person to get something they want.
To be more specific, as a company you listen to your customers, you understand what they need and want, you have a firm interest to reach them and you genuinely care if they are happy and satisfied. Last but not least, you measure all of this so you can check if you are on track and adapt when needed.
In the end, if you are running a business you want to do business, and this is always a give and take. Customer-centricity for me is closely linked to the experience you have with a brand. That does not mean as a brand you must do it all or you can be everything for everybody, it is rather to find that sweet spot where engaging in a business relationship has value for both sides.
I sometimes feel the word customer is a bit misleading since you should include consumers in general in your business plan. This means potential customers as much as existing customers. And if you want to grow and scale your business your centricity needs to be broader than the existing customers only.
Q: What is the business impact of understanding the customer and knowing the customer journey, and how can it best be measured?
A: Understanding the customer for me is the basis for doing business in the first place. Of course, innovation is also about creating products and offers that consumers did not explicitly ask for. So, understanding goes beyond simple straightforward listening, it also entails observing behavior, analyzing deeper-lying motivations, and focusing on value creation. Ultimately consumers and brands will engage when both sides find value in their relationship.
Knowing the customer journey is equally fundamental since it is the path consumer and brands must walk together to close the deal. Having clarity on the journey enables marketers to distribute budgets where they matter and tailor messages across channels to push the necessary buttons for awareness, consideration, and conversion.
With regards to measurement, I am strongly advocating for a cohort-based view of your business to keep an eye on new and repeat business. That entails that you have clarity on the buying frequency, average order sizes, the customer lifetime value, and your profitable customer segments. That for me should be the foundation of your business strategy to ensure you eventually get to profitability and market share. With regards to measuring customer journeys, I believe that conversion tracking is key as well as transparency on the return of ad spend (ROAS).
Q: What is the biggest mistake marketers make on the path to achieving greater customer-centricity in their marketing and messaging?
A: I would say the biggest mistake marketers can make is not to listen to their customers, and to consumers, in the first place. Marketers need to understand what is driving the intention, the behavior, and the attitude of those people they want to reach and convince. Ultimately doing business is a give and take — and therefore to engage in some form of dialogue is essential to achieve an understanding and win your customers time and time again.
An additional miss I have experienced many times is that customer-centricity is not a goal for the total company. Rather each department expects the others to take care of customer-centricity. Therefore, customer-centricity needs to go beyond marketing and messaging. If it doesn’t, it may lead to a selected good initiative — e.g. a highly relevant new service offering or a great commercial that boosts business — but in the end, will not yield sustainable relationships between consumers and brands.
Q: If you had to design a billboard ad to keep marketers inspired and motivated as they address the chief challenges and opportunities in the year ahead, what would it say?
A: Get up! Go out! Grow now! Create content and contribute to the change.
To hear more from Dorit, and her fellow panelists, join The Great Debates on May 19.