In a recent study we read, the role of marketing is changing to become the chief advocate for customers. In fact, the #1 priority of B2B marketers in 2016 will be “understanding buyers,” according to a recent survey from the IT Sales and Marketing Association. In today’s world of empowered buyers, the marketers who are getting it done are those who understand their buyers best. Customer-centricity is a competitive advantage!

We tapped into the growing Cintell community for perspective from the front lines of customer-centric marketing. Here’s one of their stories: 

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Andrew Davies, Customer-Centric Marketer

Andrew Davies is the Co-founder and CMO of idio, and fuses a deep knowledge of digital marketing with 10 years starting and running technology businesses. Andrew works with leading marketers who use idio’s Content Intelligence platform to deliver rich audience insight, content personalization, and sales intelligence. He previously co-founded a digital agency that built social media analytics systems for clients including O2, Sky and the UK government, and worked for Deloitte Consulting in their TMT division. Andrew also relishes the role of underdog.

When it comes to B2B marketing, his hidden talent is “not having much prior experience in B2B marketing.”

His Take on Customer-Centricity:

  • To me, the phrase “customer-centric” means: understanding the felt needs of the customer, and using that to serve them more effectively.
  • Buyer personas in my company are: fundamental and provide tangible value to every department: product, marketing, sales, and customer success.
  • The role of buyer personas to me are: to guide all activity from and towards a customer viewpoint.
  • Here are some tricks and tips I’ve learned from creating personas:
    1. Don’t make it up. Actually talk to real customers and prospects. Like, not just through Survey Monkey. ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS.
    2. Store them in a format that each department can actually use. They need to be accessible and understandable.
    3. Keep them up to date. Your buyers change and evolve. Well, ours do anyway.

His Philosophy:

  • If companies are struggling to put buyers first, I recommend: jumping off a cliff.
  • To help sales understand our buyers, we: demonstrate how this knowledge saves them time and closes deals faster.

The Good Stuff:

  • To understand our buyers, we: interviewed 30 people for 30-60 minutes each on their role, background, behavior and pain points.
  • We share personas, or information about our buyers, with the rest of our company by: embedding them in the workflow of each department. They are in our product management software, in our marketing automation system (as tags against prospects which guide nurture programs, and as tags on content), in our sales process in Salesforce (with decks and propositions that map to each persona), and in our customer success process (mapped in each account plan).

The Other Stuff:

  • I think it’s hard for marketers to create and use personas effectively because: marketers rarely talk to customers.
  • I think the biggest challenge for marketers when understanding buyers and/or building buyer personas is: that marketers (especially those marketers that are marketing to marketers) often assume all marketers think like themselves.

 

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Thank you to Andrew for sharing his perspective.

Follow him on Twitter, and stay tuned for more   in our series, Habits of Customer-Centric Marketers.