How to become better attuned to the evolving needs of customers: Interview with Miriam Burrows

With the needs of consumers and businesses changing dramatically in 2020, marketers are left wondering where to focus their efforts in order to nurture customer relationships in a challenging economic environment.

We recently caught up with Miriam Burrows, the head of field marketing APAC at business transformation solutions provider, Signavio, about the rise of customer-centricity, staying atuned to changing behaviours and the value of customer mapping.

What role do marketers play in customer-centricity today? 

Miriam BurrowsFor a long time, the main focus for successful organisations was running a smooth operation; creating a consistently good product, standardising costs, and meeting compliance expectations. While these are all critical elements of running a business, somewhere down the line, they realised that their offering was no longer relevant to their customer. 

Fast forward to today, and the most successful companies keep their customers – not product – at the heart of everything they do, meaning every decision or ambition aims to improve the customer experience. 

Marketers are naturally attuned to this concept, as each campaign or strategy has a customer-focused outcome in mind. But the rise of customer-centricity now means that marketing departments are no longer siloed; rather, they are a part of the end-to-end process. Within successful organisations, they collaborate with other functions to reinforce customer relevance from product development, right through to a go-to-market strategy.  

Is offline marketing extinct? And how can companies nail digital marketing? 

Since the spread of COVID-19, offline marketing has virtually become extinct. Whether that will return, only time will tell, but traditional marketing as we know it has definitely been reimagined. 

In a post-pandemic era, digital marketing and social communication channels are the name of the game, and when used correctly, can offer more specific insights into your customers’ behaviours. If your company has an online media presence, each customer touchpoint is a goldmine of data that can help you understand their needs, desires and frustrations. 

Tapping into that data could be as simple as surveying your existing customer base, or as complicated as using natural language processing to sift through unstructured data to make it analysable and actionable. 

Remember, though, individual customer interactions might not give you the whole picture. The trick is to gather as much of your customer data as possible, as this is likely to provide you with better insights into the behavioural patterns of your broad customer base. 

How can businesses nurture those customer relationships in challenging economic environments? 

A loyal customer base is a company’s bread and butter. But winning loyalty is about more than just offering the lowest price – it’s about establishing a true connection with your customers.

COVID-19 has thrown the world into an extreme and uncertain environment, and as a result, customers want dependability, confidence and trust in the brands they choose to do business with. 

Retaining loyalty is about adapting your offering depending on the changing needs of your customers, and in some instances, knowing what they want before they do. From a marketing standpoint, this means understanding how your business operates, as well as when and what you need to change to keep up with your customers’ changing expectations. 

Gaining loyalty is about offering loyalty in return and marketing plays a pivotal role here. As COVID-19 has forced many businesses to switch solely to digital forms of communication, marketers along with customer service and sales teams, are on the frontline of customer contact. This means they can listen, interact with, learn and adapt to their customers’ evolving needs.

What is Customer Journey Mapping, and how does it add value for marketers? 

Utilising data can help marketers understand how their customers interact with their business by providing detailed insights into each touchpoint along the customer journey. 

To develop a comprehensive picture, it helps to combine each touchpoint into what is known as a ‘Customer Journey Map’ (CJM), a high-level, intuitively readable diagram that enables you to view the customer experience from an outside-in perspective. 

Instead of assuming how customers interact with your business, CJM provides evidence-based insights, typically through a graph or other visual representation, to put the customer perspective into even sharper resolution. 

Miriam Burrows is the head of field marketing APAC at Signavio.

Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash.