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There has been a fundamental shift in the way companies and consumers connect online. Businesses can no longer look at their customers as simply a sale. They need to consider all aspects of the customer’s journey and how it affects the ability to have a long-term relationship. Companies realize that to get the most out of the customer, they need to become customer obsessed. Let’s explore, in detail, precisely what that means.

Marketing is so much more than an independent function of a business 

A significant problem that has plagued businesses is how sequestered their marketing efforts have often operated from other departments. Marketing is usually only focused on itself, making it feel very disconnected from other aspects of the business. This silo-effect becomes a serious issue when your marketing efforts lose sight of the customer and their journey from one department to another. 

Many businesses have adopted a holistic approach to their marketing strategy to fix this disconnect.

Holistic marketing

Holistic marketing is a concept that advocates adopting a broad, integrated and global perspective of marketing strategies. In other words, all parts of the business operate cohesively to achieve a common goal.

Given that the entirety is more important than the sum of its parts in creating a positive impression on the consumer, in holistic marketing, businesses are viewed as a whole, rather than as a division of areas or departments.

Holistic marketing relies on 3 characteristics to achieve the best results:

  • A common goal: all parts of the business should focus on delivering a great customer experience
  • Aligned activities: processes, services, and all other business activities should be directed towards the common goal
  • The customer is at the center: all business activities must be integrated, creating a unified and seamless customer journey

Why has this shift occurred and what does it mean for the trends in 2022?

Customer-centricity is the fundamental building block of any business. It’s essential to have a model that revolves around your customers’ needs and desires, as it helps to provide them with consistent and personalized experiences online. This approach is key and increasingly important because, these days, establishing trust between your brand and the audience is the only way to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

Given customers’ high expectations, a business must respond to the current demand for personalized experiences with a laser-focused dedication to the customer journey. This approach is no longer optional and positions companies to thrive, not just survive.

This strategy not only strengthens a brand’s positioning in the market and its proximity to consumers. It also increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the company’s internal processes, creating value for the company and consumers.

Understanding the importance of the Customer Journey

The customer journey is the path they travel through their interactions with the brand. It covers the customer’s entire relationship from awareness to their eventual role as a brand advocate. Recognizing this journey is vital as it lets you track the loyalty shown by the customer to your company or product. The focus should not be transactional but rather on how the customer feels after interactions with the brand.

Drawing or mapping the customer journey is a strategic approach in understanding customer expectations and allows you to have a logical sequence of all interactions with the customer. Therefore, it helps you visualize how they perceive the relationship with the company and their expectations. It is tremendously helpful to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and analyze the service provided from their point of view.

The customer journey will illuminate your inbound marketing strategy to create content and messages that match people’s needs. To use the customer journey map properly requires in-depth research that shows what challenges your target audience faces, what stage of life they are in, and how to help them at every stage of the buyer’s journey, not just at the time of purchase.

Benefits of mapping the customer’s journey

  • Achieve a customer-centric view of the customer journey. You get to put the customer at the center of the process and analyze it from their point of view.
  • Visualize the impact on your internal team. All departments contribute directly or indirectly to the customer. Having the customer journey drawn helps to visualize it.
  • Adaptation to different customers. You can draw different journeys for different customer typologies and thus adapt to different buyer personas.
  • Improve customer service. Identifying gaps in the user experience is very easy by analyzing the customer journey.
  • Innovation. When you go deeper into the analysis of the relationship with your customer, you discover unmet needs or new ways to serve them.

Remember that your successful marketing efforts rely on appealing to your customers’ emotions. You want to connect with them on an emotional level. Why? Because it’s their emotions and feelings towards your company that determine whether they stay or leave. Mapping their journey, what makes them happy, what went right, what went wrong, which departments need to improve their customer service, and so on, can be transformational for your business.

Creating delighted customers in 2022

Creating customer delight will be the primary goal of companies looking to get ahead of the competition in 2022. As more businesses adopt online strategies, customer satisfaction and building an emotional connection will become increasingly important to differentiate one brand from another.

The process of understanding customers begins with active listening and remaining aware of what they wish to convey during online interactions. Recent changes mean life has shifted online more than ever in the past. So, companies need to capitalize on every digital marketing touchpoint. The better a company can get at meeting the needs and wants of their clients or prospects; in essence, creating that connection, the greater the chances are of gaining their long-term loyalty. These delighted customers will become evangelists for your brand and advocate on your behalf. 

Building long-term relationships with customers means investing in a strategy to provide them with everything they need, at the correct time, at each stage of their journey. It goes far beyond just checking in from time to time with a promotion. These relationships are cemented by providing value upfront so you can establish trust and loyalty throughout the entire relationship. The result is a delight that helps prevent customers from feeling undervalued and becoming a one-time transaction.

Customers do more research than ever ahead of a major purchase; you need to make sure you’re giving them the information they need. Building trust from the first time they see an ad or social media post, through their conversations with sales, getting them set up for success with your product or service, and keeping them engaged with your brand long-term. Delight your customers over their entire lifetime, and you will be successful.

Becoming “Customer Obsessed”

We’ve described what companies need to provide customers for success at every stage of their buyer’s journey, but it’s essential to also consider how customer obsession looks internally as well.

  • Companies need to build automated processes that move customers effortlessly through the journey (when they are ready to progress). 
  • Companies need to have integrated processes across marketing-sales-service so they can identify where there are inefficiencies, how those inefficiencies affect the prospect/customer, and collaborate on solutions.
  • Using data, you can track how customers move through your sales funnel. You can also use data to inform how you interact with customers at various stages of the customer journey. Ultimately, data can help you turn someone who is merely casually interested in your company into a paying customer.

Key Takeaways for Marketing in 2022

  • The marketing trends that will dominate in the next 12 months will include Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, and Content Visualization.
  • The definition of what we consider as “marketing” is constantly changing and becoming broader and more integrated with other business operations.
  • Marketing has moved beyond branding and advertising; marketers must work with other departments to build excellent customer experiences and engage them for long-term relationships.