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  • Writer's pictureSteffan Willis

Building Better Customer Relationships: Insights from UK Brand Marketing Decision Makers

In high-intensity world of modern business, building strong, lasting relationships with customers has become a critical factor in achieving success. With so many options available to consumers, companies that can establish deep connections with their customers are better positioned to thrive.

The Key to Good Customer Relationships: Reaching Out

However, achieving this is no easy task, and requires a strategic approach that is grounded in a deep understanding of customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors. According to a recent study of UK brand marketing decision makers by Skout found that many B2B companies struggle build strong customer relationships due to factors such as ineffective targeting, lack of differentiation, and failure to engage with customers at the right points in the customer journey.


In this article, we'll take a look at the challenges and opportunities involved in building better customer relationships. From conducting research to managing risks at each stage of the customer journey, we'll provide actionable insights for businesses looking to improve their customer relationships.


Building Good Customer Relationships is Easy...Or Is It?

According to the study, 63% of brand marketing decision makers in the UK believe that building good relationships with existing customers is easy. While this may seem like a positive finding, the reality is that many companies struggle to build and maintain strong customer relationships.


One of the biggest obstacles to building good customer relationships is ineffective targeting. If a company's marketing efforts aren't reaching the right people, they won't be able to build meaningful relationships with customers. This is why it's important for companies to have a clear understanding of their target audience and to tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.


Another factor that can hinder efforts to build strong customer relationships is a failure to engage with customers at the right points. For example, if a customer has a problem or a question, and they can't get in touch with the company to resolve it, this can damage the relationship. Companies need to be proactive about engaging with customers and ensuring that they're meeting their needs at every stage of the customer journey.


Finally, lack of differentiation can also be a barrier to building strong customer relationships. If a company's products or services don't stand out from the competition, it can be difficult to build a loyal customer base. This is why it's important for companies to focus on what sets them apart and to communicate that effectively to customers.


The Role of Research in Building Strong Customer Relationships

While many companies understand the importance of building strong customer relationships, they may not be taking the necessary steps to make that happen. According to the study, only a third of B2B marketers implement any kind of research, such as customer journey mapping, audience analysis, or CRM/data cleansing. This means that many companies may be missing out on valuable insights that could help them improve their customer relationships.

Less than 40% of B2B marketers utilize customer journey mapping (39%), audience analysis (36%), or CRM/data cleansing (33%) to gain valuable insights into their audience's behaviors and preferences.

Source: Skout


One of the most important types of research for building strong customer relationships is customer surveys. By gathering feedback directly from customers, companies can gain a better understanding of what they're doing well and what they need to improve. This can help companies tailor their marketing efforts to better meet their customers' needs and build stronger relationships as a result.


Another important type of research is customer journey mapping. By mapping out the customer journey and identifying pain points and opportunities for improvement, companies can ensure that they're engaging with customers effectively at every stage of the process. This can help to build trust and loyalty over time.


Audience analysis is also crucial for building strong customer relationships. By understanding the demographics, behaviors, and preferences of their target audience, companies can tailor their marketing efforts to better resonate with those customers. This can help to build stronger relationships and ultimately drive more sales.


Finally, CRM/data cleansing is an important part of maintaining strong customer relationships. By regularly cleaning up their customer data and ensuring that it's accurate and up-to-date, companies can avoid communication breakdowns and other issues that can damage the relationship.


Managing Risks at Each Stage of the Customer Journey

At each stage of the customer journey, different risks arise that could endanger the relationship. Let's take a closer look at these risks and how companies can mitigate them.


Awareness

Ineffective targeting can be a major obstacle to reaching the right audience, preventing companies from building awareness about their brand. To mitigate this, companies need to focus on developing a clear understanding of their target audience through data analysis, and tailoring marketing efforts to specific groups of customers. They can also use targeted ad campaigns to increase brand awareness among their ideal customer base.


Key Risks:

  • Ineffective targeting

  • Lack of awareness about the brand

Mitigation Strategies:

  • Develop a clear understanding of the target audience through data analysis

  • Tailor marketing efforts to specific groups of customers

  • Use targeted ad campaigns to reach specific groups of customers


Consideration

During the consideration stage, the biggest risk is a failure to engage with prospects at crucial points, resulting in lost business to competitors. To avoid this risk, companies need to be proactive about engaging with prospects and providing them with the relevant information and resources to make informed decisions. They can also offer free trials, product demos, or other incentives to encourage prospects to take action.


Key Risks:

  • Failure to engage with prospects at crucial points

  • Lack of information or resources for prospects to make informed decisions

Mitigation Strategies:

  • Be proactive about engaging with prospects

  • Provide prospects with relevant information and resources to make informed decisions

  • Offer free trials, product demos, or other incentives to encourage prospects to take action

Purchase

Lack of competitive insight can hinder companies in positioning themselves effectively and winning business. To avoid this risk, companies need to conduct regular competitive analysis to understand what competitors are offering and identify areas for improvement based on customer feedback. Companies can also position themselves differently from their competitors by highlighting their unique value proposition.


Key Risks:

  • Lack of competitive insight

  • Difficulty differentiating from competitors

Mitigation Strategies:

  • Conduct regular competitive analysis to understand what competitors are offering

  • Identify areas for improvement based on customer feedback

  • Position the company effectively to stand out from competitors

Retention

Gaining feedback from customers is essential to maintaining strong relationships and improving products or services. To achieve this, companies need to be proactive about soliciting feedback from customers, responding to feedback in a timely and effective manner, and implementing a customer service program that encourages customers to share their experiences and provide feedback. This can lead to stronger relationships and increased customer loyalty.


Key Risks:

  • Failure to gain feedback from customers

  • Inability to address customer issues or concerns

Mitigation Strategies:

  • Be proactive about soliciting feedback from customers

  • Respond to feedback in a timely and effective manner

  • Implement a customer service program that encourages customers to share their experiences and provide feedback

Loyalty

A lack of a dedicated advocate program can result in missed opportunities to generate new business from loyal customers. Companies can mitigate this risk by developing a dedicated advocate program that rewards customers for referring new business or providing positive feedback. Incentives such as exclusive content, events, and discounts can also be offered to loyal customers who refer new business, or provide positive feedback to further build brand loyalty.


Key Risks:

  • Lack of a dedicated advocate program

  • Failure to reward loyal customers for their advocacy

Mitigation Strategies:

  • Develop a dedicated advocate program that rewards customers for referring new business or providing positive feedback

  • Offer exclusive content or events for loyal customers

  • Provide discounts or other incentives to customers who refer new business



Conclusion

Building strong customer relationships is essential for business success, but it's not always easy to achieve. By understanding the challenges and opportunities involved in building better customer relationships, companies can take proactive steps to improve their relationships with customers. This includes conducting research to gain insights into their target audience, engaging with customers effectively at every stage of the customer journey, and managing risks to protect the relationship. By following these best practices, companies can build lasting relationships with their customers and achieve long-term business success.

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