If you keep up with the marketing and sales industries (and not just B2C, but B2B as well), then you’ve probably heard the phrase “customer-centric” at some point in your professional career. Modern consumers are changing the way that companies market and becoming a “customer company” is one way that businesses are rising to the occasion.  

What does this mean, exactly? Your buyers have become less and less tolerant of the marketing strategies of old (think batch-and-blast style messaging, door-to-door sales, and push-style advertising), and have begun to realize that they hold the power in both the selling and customer relationships. It’s now up to companies to figure out what their customers want and to learn how to deliver it at exactly the right time.

Today’s buyers are connected, social, research-savvy, mobile, and in-the-know. The companies who can cater to this new type of buyer by actively listening to their needs, maintaining a presence across relevant channels and networks, and providing helpful content are the ones that are going to succeed — not the companies that insist on pursuing outdated processes that put their own needs ahead of the customers.

Fortunately, technologies like marketing automation can help marketers and salespeople alike keep up with changing buyer preferences. Here’s how:

1. Be Social

With so many of your buyers taking to social media to conduct research, air their grievances, and seek out opinions, it’s imperative that your company has a presence on any relevant social media channels. Keep an eye on mentions of your brand, engage as often as you can, and maintain a consistent presence over time using the social posting features at your disposal. See what kinds of content resonate the most with your audience, then do your best to tailor your messages to these preferences.

2. Escort Leads Through the Sales Cycle

Your buyers won’t all be ready to buy when they enter the sales cycle. Instead of letting them slip through the cracks in order to conserve resources, lead nurturing can help you help them move through the sales cycle at their own pace. By sending helpful resources based on their interests, stage they are in, or actions taken on their part, you can make sure your buyers are always getting the information they need, when they need it.  

3. Personalize Your Communications

In the past, we relied on simple tactics like variable tags to personalize our emails. Today’s buyers expect more — they’re looking for relevant, valuable, and timely marketing that speaks to their specific needs, not a generic message from your entire sales or marketing team. Fortunately, with marketing automation, you can segment your database and target your communications based on criteria like product interest, location, and more, allowing you to send the most relevant messages possible.

4. Personalize Your Web Experience

Not only can you target your email messages using segmentation, but you can also personalize the web experience with dynamic content, which allows you to change call-outs, messages, emails, or other areas of your website based on prospect fields, like location or industry. Dynamic content ensures that your web experience and marketing messages are always focused on what’s relevant to your customers; in fact, according to eConsultancy, businesses that are personalizing web experiences are seeing a 19% increase in sales.

5. Act on Real-Time Activity Alerts

To really connect with your customer, you have to know them first — and guesswork is no longer a feasible option. This emphasis on making data-driven decisions is nothing new, but using this data to build a complete image of the customer is. This means learning who your customers are, what their goals are, what’s keeping them from achieving those goals, and how your company can help. Marketing automation can collect detailed behavioural data from your buyers in order to start filling in the gaps in this prospect profile, helping to improve sales intelligence by giving sales reps the information they need to keep their conversations focused on the customer.

If you’d like to learn more about customer-centric business practices, take a look at Pardot’s latest white paper by clicking on the banner below.