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When your business is small and you have a low volume of support requests, using a distribution list or group Gmail or Outlook mailbox may be an effective way to handle customer service. After all, it’s simple — everyone knows how to use email — and it’s inexpensive.

But it’s important to remember that distribution lists and group mailboxes aren’t built for customer service. As your company and support volume grow, they often create more problems than they solve, leaving employees frustrated and customers itching for a better experience.

Instead of forcing your email client into a role it was never designed for, consider the benefits of a shared inbox tool — software deliberately created to enable great customer service.

But the secret isn’t a secret.
Put your customers first.

By focusing on customer centric selling, you elevate the people who matter and create real, resilient relationships that anchor a sustainable revenue stream.

What is customer-centric marketing?

Customer-centric marketing is an approach to marketing that prioritizes customers’ needs and interests in all decisions related to advertising, selling, and promoting products and services.

Successful customer-centric marketing requires a deep understanding of why your customers need what your company provides. The goal isn’t business growth alone; it’s growth driven by showing customers how your product/service will improve some aspect of their work or life.

And it works: McKinsey found that “companies with a customer-centric, data-driven marketing and sales platform improve marketing ROI by 15-20% or more.”

The 3 main priorities of the customer-centric marketer

Customer-centric marketers keep three main priorities front-and-center when planning their strategies and campaigns.

1. Customer success

Customer-centric marketing is all about putting the power into your customers’ hands and helping them to become their best selves — even if they don’t end up using your product.

A company that does this exceptionally well is Gainsight. They’ve created a community for customer success professionals to grow their skills and knowledge through Gainsight University and their Pulse conferences.

Through this community, Gainsight has become known as the go-to company for customer success knowledge, which makes them a leader in the space.

Rather than spending all of their time and energy preaching about the benefits of Gainsight, their marketing team works to advance the interests of the customer success industry overall.

2. Customer advocacy

Customer-centric marketing organizations thrive on advocacy. They work hard to uncover what their customers really want from their relationship, and they go to bat for them internally and externally.

This might mean creating more helpful resources to help them get better at their jobs, or it might look like sharing a customer’s success on social media to help spread their news.

Jill Rowley explains that, when done well, advocacy goes both ways:

“You need to craft experiences that evoke emotion. Advocacy is reciprocal, and earned. Be an advocate for your customers so your customers will want to advocate for you.”

3. Get to know your customers

To succeed with customer-centric marketing, it should go without saying that you have to take time to get to know your customers really well. There are a lot of different ways to do this:

  • Conduct one-on-one interviews with current or former customers.
  • Send surveys out to customers to get mass feedback on a specific set of questions.
  • Use social media monitoring tools and Google Alerts to see what people are saying about your company online.
  • Use the data that you have available to you in any analytics tools your company subscribes to.
  • Spend time helping your support team by reading and responding to customer emails.
  • Jump on calls with your sales team or listen to recordings of their calls with prospects.

Getting closer to your customers requires getting closer to the people who speak to them every day. Front-line teams like customer support and sales have a wealth of information about what customers are asking for and what they want.