3 Practical Steps to Execute a Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy

July 20, 2023
Contributor: Shubham Gupta

Drive loyalty, outpace competitors and transform your marketing approach with a customer-focused strategy.

Keeping customers engaged and loyal in today's hyper-competitive business world is tough. Marketing managers and brand strategists are struggling to keep up with what customers want, how to make brands stand out, and build a lasting connection with them. Recent insights from Gartner's 2022 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey[1] revealed that marketers who listen to their customers enjoy 1.6 times more growth.

Your customers are not just stats on a spreadsheet—they are the secret sauce to your success. This article will show you how to create a winning marketing strategy around your customers' needs to improve customer satisfaction and boost business to new heights.

What is customer-centric marketing?

Customer-centric marketing is all about putting your customers first. It shifts your focus from just pushing products or services to delivering value and exceptional experiences by understanding and meeting customers' unique needs.

It builds trust, fosters loyalty, and keeps customers coming back for more—fueling your business's success in the long run. It's not just about selling; it's about centralizing your growth around the needs of your customers.

Three critical pillars that make customer-centric marketing strong:

  • Customer understanding: Analyze feedback data, research, and gather insights to understand customer needs, preferences and behaviors deeply.
  • Personalized engagement: Tailor marketing messages, offers and experiences to individual customers based on their unique characteristics and preferences.
  • Continuous improvement: Regularly gather feedback, measure results and iterate marketing tactics to enhance customer satisfaction and drive long-term success.

The 3 critical steps to a customer-centric marketing approach

There is a three-pronged strategy for fostering a customer-centric marketing approach. Follow these strategic steps to place your customers at the core of your marketing endeavors.

1. Learn more about your customers

The bedrock of any customer-centric marketing strategy is deep understanding of your customers. This shapes resonant campaigns and makes your marketing efforts relevant and rewarding.

Your marketing strategy must be grounded on a comprehensive understanding of your customers, which can be achieved through the following tactics:

  • Conduct market research: Use qualitative (such as interviews and focus groups) and quantitative (like surveys and questionnaires) research methods to delve into customer expectations, preferences and needs.
  • Use surveys: Capitalize on different survey types to obtain direct customer feedback. This can be through emails, online polls or website feedback forms.
  • Analyze social media: Extract valuable customer insights from social media platforms. Monitor trends in engagement metrics like comments, shares, likes and mentions to identify customer preferences and sentiments.
  • Monitor customer interaction: Observe how customers engage with your brand across various platforms and channels, including your website, emails, and customer reviews to understand their needs and opinions.
  • Leverage intent data: Use signs of purchase intent, such as keyword searches, website visits or interactions with your product on software comparison sites to anticipate customer behavior. Using intent data enables you to tailor your marketing efforts to fit customers’ buying journey, enhancing conversion possibilities.
2. Add customer value to each interaction

This is the actionable phase of your customer-centric marketing approach. Your value in these interactions should differentiate your brand and engrave it in the customers' memory. 

Whether it's through informative content (blog posts, trends, video tutorials), engaging entertainment (brand story video or interactive quiz) or problem-solving advice (FAQ section and real-time chat support), every point of contact with your customers should serve a clear purpose that benefits them.

Here are some practical ways to infuse value into your interactions with customers:

  • Deliver relevant content: Provide content tailored to your customer's interests, needs, or phase in the buying journey. This could be insightful blog posts, helpful how-to guides or informative product demonstrations.
  • Personalize communication: Personalize your emails, social media responses and other forms of communication. Use their name and/or segment them based on their needs. Show the customer that you acknowledge them as an individual, not just another number.
  • Provide exclusive offers or rewards: Show appreciation for your customers' loyalty with special deals, discounts or rewards. This gives them a tangible benefit and promotes repeat business and referrals.
  • Educate customers: Use your expertise in your industry to educate your customers. This could be through webinars, eBooks or informative emails. This provides value by helping customers make informed decisions and positions your brand as a trustworthy expert.
  • Listen and respond to feedback: Create a two-way conversation with your customers. This can be through social media, feedback forms or review sites (like Capterra, Software Advice and GetApp). Respond to reviews, address criticisms constructively, and show gratitude for the positive feedback.

Also read: How to Collect User Reviews and Boost Software Sales: 5 Best Practices to Follow

3. Involve leadership

Active and dedicated leadership involvement is the third crucial step in fostering a customer-centric marketing approach. Leaders set the tone for the organization's culture, guiding its values, behaviors and priorities.

For a customer-centric approach to permeate all aspects of your business, it must be championed from the top. It's the leaders who, through their actions and attitudes, can embed the customer at the heart of your business practices.

Here are five key ways leaders can inspire and integrate a customer-centric approach:

  • Embody customer-centric values: Leaders should demonstrate customer-centricity in their decisions and actions. Prioritizing customer obsession throughout the business sends a powerful message about the importance of every customer.
  • Encourage open communication: Facilitate a culture where feedback is welcomed, not just from customers but also from staff. Encourage teams to share their insights into customer needs and voice their ideas for improving the customer experience.
  • Foster cross-functional collaboration: Break down silos between different departments. Encourage collaboration to ensure everyone understands and contributes to the customer journey, from marketing and sales to customer service and product development.
  • Prioritize training and development: Invest in training that empowers your team to deliver exceptional customer experiences. This could include workshops on customer empathy, resources using real customer quotes, or courses on user experience design.
  • Reward and recognize customer-centric behavior: Show appreciation for team members who go above and beyond for customers. This not only motivates the individual but also inspires others to follow suit.

Also read: From Reviews to Repeat Business: How to Build a Customer Review Strategy

Quick tips for improving customer-centric marketing

  • Build a customer journey map: Create a detailed visualization of your customers’ interactions with your brand across all touchpoints. This will help you identify gaps, improve experiences and ensure seamless transitions from one stage to the next.
  • Improve website usability: Ensure your website is user-friendly, with intuitive navigation, an accessible UI, and speedy loading times. A pleasant online experience can increase customer satisfaction and conversions.
  • Create engaging and relevant content: Develop content that captures your audience’s interest. This could involve interactive infographics, dynamic videos or insightful webinars. Ensure your content is valuable and aligns with your brand.
  • Provide excellent customer support: Use every interaction as an opportunity to exceed expectations. Quick response times, empathetic communication and proactive assistance are key to excellent customer support.

Today’s businesses need a customer-centric approach to excel

A customer-centric approach is pivotal for thriving businesses in today's competitive landscape. Prioritize genuine understanding and value creation at every customer touchpoint. 

One way to get started is to start building your brand through the feedback and experiences of your customers. Gartner Digital Markets' Review Collection Service makes it easy to collect verified user reviews from your users so your can strengthen connections with your present and future customers. By taking forward steps like this, you too can begin building your marketing strategy around the needs of every customer. 

Shubham Gupta

Shubham Gupta is a Content Writer at Gartner Digital Markets who ideates and creates purpose-driven content to help modern technology businesses achieve their goals. Outside of work, he enjoys reading thriller novels and Urdu poetry, as well as spending time with his dog. Connect with Shubham on LinkedIn.



1. 5 Action Steps for CMOs to Leverage Customer Data to Lead Customer-Centric Organizations, Gartner

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