Customer Centric Marketing

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The modern business environment is characterised intense competition in most sectors which has led businesses to increase efforts to differentiate themselves from their rivals. One way to achieve this is perfect the art of marketing. While this seems rather simplistic, it takes much effort and thought to formulate and implement an appropriate marketing plan. In this regard, different approaches have been developed to cater to the marketing needs of various organisations. This paper will review the following marketing approaches: “customer-centric marketing, product-centric marketing, channel-centric marketing, and event-based marketing.” With the customer-centric approach increasing in popularity over the recent past, the essay will compare the other three approaches to the former, with a view of establishing why it is regarded as superior to other marketing approaches.

Customer-Centric Marketing

The approach centres on the individual customer in order to determine the design and delivery of marketing. It is based on the realisation that the behaviours and preferences cannot be generalised across an organisation’s entire customer base. This, therefore, provides an opportunity for a business to move past strategies that assume a “one-size-fits-all” approach. In the modern age, organisations are becoming increasingly customer-centric resulting in the overhaul of the perception of what makes a marketing plan successful (Morrish, Miles, and Deacon 2010, p.305). Using the approach, it is now commonplace for organisations to prioritise the customer when thinking about any marketing activity.  

            When many hear the term customer centricity, the first thing that comes to mind business going out of their way to make people happy through aspects such as customer feedback and customer satisfaction. However, sustained success is the most important aspect of a customer-centric marketing approach. It is therefore imperative that businesses understand needs and wants of their customers in addition to ensuring that there are appropriate strategies to satisfy them.

            The increased popularity of data science in business has fostered the formulation of pillars of customer centricity. The pillars alluded to, in this case, include, “experience, loyalty, communications, assortment, promotions, price, and feedback” (Lamberti 2013, p. 600). Excellence in providing the perfect customer experience is important in the context of customers centricity since triggers customers to share their interactions with an organisation’s offerings thus increasing the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. Organisations that adopt a customer-centric approach also recognise and reward their customers consistently to show their significance to the business. Personalisation is key to customer centricity as is shown by the communications and assortment pillars. The former advocates for firms to personalise customer messages based on their purchases and preferences while the latter emphasises that businesses should have a range of products that cater to the needs of their various customers (Heinonen and Strandvik 2015, p.475).  The pricing of products, according to the approach, should be in line with the customers’ perception of an organisation’s products. With regard to customer feedback, paying attention to the concerns of customers enables organisations to form an emotional connection with their customers. The analysis of the perceptions of customers against these pillars ensures that organisations can effectively use the customer-centric approach. This provides a practical framework for businesses and helps in comparing different approaches to marketing.

Product-Centric Marketing

            A marketing approach that is usually contrasted to customer centricity is the product-centric approach. The fundamental difference between the two approaches is the organisation’s priority with regard to approaching its market. In the case of a product-centric approach, the focus is primarily on the development of newer and more advanced products. In most cases, this is done without regard for existent demand. Therefore, the organisation aims to introduce a product that will create a new customer segment (Kumar 2015, p.3). An organisation that exemplifies this marketing approach is Apple. The rise of the organisation to a household name in the consumer technology industry can be attributed to innovation in the development of products. When the iPhone was launched, there was nothing that directly compared to the offering. The company had no prior experience in the mobile phone sector, and the market for their product was virtually non-existed. However, the company’s hierarchy trusted in the potential for the phone’s quality and utility to disrupt the industry. This assertion proved to be right, and it transformed the organisation into a major player in the cell phone industry. In comparison, a customer-centric organisation will focus on developing products that fulfil the needs of customers. Such an organisation would naturally enter new markets with the aim of targeting similar customers to their current base. The perfect example of a customer-centric company is Amazon. The company targets individuals who are always connected to the internet and avails a wide range of products aimed at fulfilling their every need.

            The product primarily drives the process flow in a company that adopts product-centric marketing. The innovative offering is then expected to provide customers with a great experience. This approach focuses on selling as many units of a product as possible relying majorly on self-promotion of the product through its inherent qualities. This means that pricing ultimately influences buying decisions. The review of the characteristics of this marketing approach emphasises how limited it is. By focusing entirely on the product, organisations that adopt this approach could render it oblivious the customer’s perspective with regard to important aspects such as potential opportunities and requirements. The result of this blindsided approach is that the organisation might lose relevance and consequently lead to the loss of market share. In extreme cases, companies could even go extinct. In this context, Xerox Corporation comes to mind. It was a pioneer in printing and copying technology but focused too much on selling as many products as possible that it did not realise the changing nature of the consumer market. The lack of consideration for the needs of its customers greatly affected the company, and it lost its place in the printer industry.

Event-Based Marketing

            This marketing approach is based on the identification of key events in the lifecycle of the customer and business. Specific marketing activities are only initiated when such an event occurs. This approach is extremely targeted is mostly initiated in response to a buying decision. The events alluded to in this form of marketing are wide and varied and may include even personal events such as marriage. The result of such an approach to marketing is that it can help form an emotional connection with customers. Event-based marketing usually leads to high customer response rates. While the approach is effective in many situations, it greatly limits an organisation’s long-term planning. The firm is so fixated on personalising marketing messages that it fails to get the bigger picture regarding changes in the market. This is a disadvantage, especially when compared to the customer-centric approach. The latter considers implications of the market for its product and adjusts accordingly changing needs and preferences.

Channel-Centric Marketing

            This marketing approach revolved around the optimisation of an organisation’s marketing channels. In the digital age, many companies are concentrating on building the capabilities across multiple channels. This is usually in a bid to drive the engagement of customers and probably provide opportunities to interact with customers directly. The evaluation of a marketing initiative’s success under this approach is based on metrics that are specific to channel. If a company is driving a marketing initiative through Facebook, for example, an organisation could look at metrics such as likes or followers. The major drawback of this approach is that the information provided through individual channels is more often than not, limited. The result of the channel-centric approach is a customer experience that is at best disjointed. A customer expects to find extensive information about a product and get support despite the channel used. This places this approach at a great disadvantage to the customer-centric approach which is associated with a greater understanding of the customer. In this regard, qualitative research that is synonymous with consumer centricity helps organisations deliver enjoyable experiences to all customers.

Conclusion

            Each of the marketing approaches is relevant to unique situations in the market thus conferring varying benefits. However, the consumer-centric approach stands out among the bunch due to the ability to maximise opportunities to learn more about individual customers. Unlike other marketing approaches, the consumer-centric approach empowers the marketing department which is tasked with targeting the right customer and formulating the right message to convey across an appropriate channel. This ensures that all aspects of marketing are considered, and the marketing initiative aligns with organisational strategy.

               

References

Heinonen, K. and Strandvik, T., 2015. Customer-dominant logic: foundations and implications. Journal of Services Marketing, 29(6/7), pp.472-484.

Kumar, V., 2015. Evolution of marketing as a discipline: What has happened and what to look out for. Journal of Marketing, 79(1), pp.1-9.

Lamberti, L., 2013. Customer centricity: the construct and the operational antecedents. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 21(7), pp.588-612.

Morrish, S.C., Miles, M.P. and Deacon, J.H., 2010. Entrepreneurial marketing: acknowledging the entrepreneur and customer-centric interrelationship. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 18(4), pp.303-316.

September 18, 2023
Category:

Business Economics

Subcategory:

Corporations Marketing

Subject area:

Company Customer

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6

Number of words

1489

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