The primary value of customer information is that it allows a company or brand to become customer-centric.
Now, nearly every company calls itself “customer-centric.”
But when pressed, most executives either don't have a good definition for customer-centric, or their companies aren’t living up to it.
So here's what it really means to be customer-centric, according to a professor at Harvard Business School:
“Becoming customer-centric means looking at an enterprise from the outside-in rather than the inside-out — that is, through the lens of the customer rather than the producer. It’s about understanding what problems customers face in their lives and then providing mutually advantageous solutions.”
Here's the problem: Many companies have little to no way of knowing what their customers are facing and what they want in their lives. This lack of innate understanding is why keeping track of customer behavior analytics is so important.
It’s also why when Proctor & Gamble was seeking the best approach to introduce Gillette razors into India, 20 US-based executives made over 300 visits to the country. Often, American P&G staff stayed in the homes of Indian consumers for days on end in order to observe their shaving habits firsthand. By the time they finished their project, they knew how to position both their brand and products to be successful in the Indian market.
If you’re a small business, collecting customer data like this may seem impossible.
Thankfully, you don't have to send your executives to live in your customers' homes to gather useful customer data.
There are several methods you can use to become more data-driven.
You can do small things like survey your customers or track their behaviors on your website.
Or, better yet, a well-connected agency can provide you with actionable consumer insights based on their stores of data.
Taking these small steps to accumulate and use your customer and industry data can help you drive your brand strategy to become customer-centric, decreasing costs and increasing sales through better targeting. —RS