Customer strategy is already one of the cornerstones of today's business strategies. The business sector is going through the era of customer-centricity and, in this context, having a well-defined and well-focused customer strategy is a must.
At a recent webinar hosted by Merkle, something rather interesting happened. The company's CEO, Dave Nash, asked attendees if their company had a customer strategy. 80% said yes, but when asked about all the aspects that a customer strategy should include, more than half of those who answered affirmatively admitted that their strategy only included some of the aspects that a proper customer strategy should include.
In a customer strategy survey conducted by Strategy& and PWX to 161 business leaders, more than 80% of respondents stated that they plan to increase their investment in customer strategy within 3-5 years. Despite this, there is still a long way to go in terms of highlighting its key aspects and executing them in the right way.
It is clear, then, that the vast majority of companies have now realised the importance of investing in well-designed, comprehensive and effective customer strategies. However, there is still some confusion about what customer strategy is and many companies end up reducing their customer strategy to one of the elements that a complete customer strategy should cover, rather than building a 360 customer strategy.
Let's start at the beginning.
What is Customer Strategy and Business Activation?
Customer strategy is an approach whereby the customer is the foundation of business strategy and leveraging data is the key to maximising the financial value of customers.
Thus, customer strategy encompasses any strategy related to increasing customer value through data: customer segmentation, customer experience, customer retention models, go-to-market strategies, etc.
An efficient and functional customer strategy should include all these elements and combine in-depth knowledge of customers —their behaviour, needs, expectations, etc.— with the ability to attract the right customers, deliver exactly what the target customers need, provide them with an optimal customer experience taking into account all the touch points of the customer journey and maximise the customer relationship through retention models.
In this sense, customer strategy is closely linked to business activation. For this reason, in our services, we understand both elements as parts of one entity.
As we explained in the presentation post 'We Are Kale: The Story Of an unstoppable Idea', nowadays it is unfeasible to think about business activation strategies without them including customer strategies. At the end of the day, the generation of business opportunities and the profitability of a company depend on customers and, therefore, pretending to promote business without having a complete customer strategy is simply a mistake.
To sum up...
Customer Strategy & Business Activation is the new model for acquisition, retention, extension of customer lifetime value and activation of the conversion funnel. Basically, it is the basis for acquiring customers, moving them to action —converting potential customers who have just discovered the brand into customers—, building customer loyalty and converting them into repeat customers.
Customer strategy replaces the conventional approach to customer acquisition, which was simply a matter of choosing a market segment and developing products and services geared towards that segment. In a frenetic world where increased competition, digitisation, optimisation of shopping experiences, technology and rising customer expectations complicate everything, this perspective is no longer sufficient.
The customer strategy goes further and, when well designed, should enable lead generation, customer acquisition, increase retention rates, deliver personalised and innovative customer experiences, and develop the right marketing and sales strategies for each type of customer.