The 3 Pillars Of People-Based Marketing
The defining characteristic of today’s most successful brands is a full-scale, customer-centric business strategy that nimbly integrates digital platforms and ecosystems to place people at the core of everything they do.
Indeed, many CMOs now realize that a truly people-based marketing paradigm is the only way forward for their organizations. People-based marketing can affect greater business outcomes by infusing an enterprise-level customer approach that differentiates your business from the competition.
At the heart of this transformation must lie a commitment to the integration of three major pillars: customer strategy, technology, and infrastructure execution.
Integrate Your Customer Strategy
By shifting your brand’s orientation from a narrowly focused marketing strategy to a holistic customer strategy, you are making a fundamental change that will ultimately result in a more complete and nuanced profile of the desired audience. By untethering your brand from a legacy channel-driven approach, you have the freedom to actually ask your customers how they want you to talk to them. You’ll be able to plan from scratch by focusing totally on being responsive to customer actions.
By keenly listening to your customers, you may discover insights that debunk long-standing beliefs about their behaviors and motivations. For example, you may actually find they are not as effectively engaged through the traditional search marketing efforts as they once were, so it might be time to devote a larger portion of your budget to an upper-funnel channel such as online video.
Making such a distinction might catalyze a drastically new dynamic marked by a flexibility in how often, when, and where you deliver messages and offers. In so doing, you are empowering customers to define their own path to engagement with your brand. You will be rewarded with a happier, more deeply satisfied customer relationship that will be sustainable over the long term.
Integrate Your Tech Stack
A customer-first strategy can only be effective if marketers also make a profound commitment to forging an integrated tech stack that acts as the engine for audience knowledge and engagement in the most comprehensive, nimble, and sophisticated manner. Regrettably, most brands’ internal data flows occur through loosely connected systems of manual or partially automated processes. It is enough for them to feel like they are integrated without actually being integrated, putting them at a distinct disadvantage to their more technologically progressive competitors.
If you are truly committed to tech stack integration, you must focus on three primary components: a platform for enterprise integration and access to data; an active repository for the ongoing, real-time collation and assessment of customer profile data points; and a singular platform for the orchestration of the marketing strategy across channels and media that emerges out of this integrated data collection and analysis. These components are the key to enabling a people-based marketing strategy.
Integrate Your Execution
Once you’ve crafted a clear vision of the integrated customer strategy and enabling technology platform, your brand team will be ready to execute an integrated plan upon which you layer the people and processes required for execution. A complete reorg is not a consideration for most companies. Also, while the idea of breaking down silos may sound heroic, remember that silos originally emerged from a need for specialization and deep expertise. With a people-based marketing strategy, that need doesn’t disappear. What is required is bridging, not breaking. By making that vital distinction, you will see that the problem is not with the silos themselves but the barriers to cross-team coordination and collaboration that they create.
A truly integrated marketing unit will include familiar constituents, including strategy and planning, insights, and analytics. It should also blend in those with channel experience delivery and marketing technology—functions that have typically been bolted on at the end to execute against a predefined strategy. Finally, a customer interaction management function, new to most companies, should be created. The responsibility of this team is to look across channels, guide prioritization of messaging across products, and design marketing programs from the customer’s perspective.
A large super-regional bank we worked with adopted this three-pronged integration process and reported positive results that validate a customer-first, people-based marketing approach. The brand reported a 76% year-over-year increase in direct incremental revenue from customer cross-sell programs, a 56% improvement in incremental response from increased personalization of messaging, as well as a 66% improvement in speed to market on analytics-informed enhancements.
With proper planning, investment, and support, brands of all stripes and sizes can generate similar success.