Marketing is used to shape perception. But what is the perception of marketing itself? And more specifically, how many companies have marketing that is perceived in a positive light? Read on to see what 2,400 consumers told us about companies’ marketing.
In October 2016, we asked 2,400 U.S. consumers: Of the companies you interact with, how many put your needs before their own interests in marketing?
To see 27 more charts from the study, download the free report.
A huge opportunity for marketers
As we’ve shared previously in the MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week newsletter, the top reason customers are unsatisfied with a company’s marketing is because the company is not practicing customer-first marketing.
Which is why today’s chart is so powerful. When we asked how many companies put these customers’ needs before the company’s own interests in its marketing, only 7% of customers said that almost all companies did and 16% of them said that many companies did.
In other words, 77% of American consumers think that many companies do not practice customer-first marketing. So if you do practice customer-first marketing, you will stand out from the crowd and have a significant competitive advantage.
“It’s not surprising that so many customers think companies don’t practice ‘customer-first marketing,’” said Kristin Zhivago, President, Cloud Potential.
“As marketers, while we endeavor to master the latest ‘tactics,’ we have abandoned basic principles. Tactics win battles, but principles win the war. One of the most important principles is that the customer comes first. With the ability to interview customers and the reams of data provided by online tools about customer desires and behavior, marketers can no longer claim that it’s too difficult to know what their customers are thinking.”
Zhivago credited automation with one example of how some companies are not following customer-first principles. “How many companies answer their phones with a helpful human being rather than you-jump-through-our-hoops voicemail? How many companies provide an email address rather than an anonymous web form on their site?,” Zhivago asked.
Customers certainly think customer-first marketing is possible
As we’ve publicized the study, most of the feedback has been positive. However, there has been some skepticism and an idea that this approach is impossible. For example, I chose a skeptic as a source for the first Chart of the Week article about this customer-first marketing study (in which you can also see a full definition of the term) to provide a counterpoint to the idea of customer-first marketing. “The term ‘customer-first’ is a bit misleading as it implies that the company puts its customers’ needs above its own. This isn’t what companies do — or should do,” he said.
However, according to this week’s data, only 8% of customers said none of the companies they do business with practice customer-first marketing. Which means that 92% of customers think that at least a few of the companies they conduct business with do, in fact, practice customer-first marketing.
And customers are likely to act on this positive perception as well. As mentioned, customer-first marketing is more likely to produce satisfied customers. And, as expected, satisfied customers are much more likely to recommend a company to others — 61% of satisfied customers said they are very likely to give a recommendation.
Zhivago provided an example. “One woman told her friends on Facebook that she had been subscribing to Chewy’s dog food shipments. Her dog died, and she got another shipment of dog food shortly afterwards. She told the company. Not only did they tell her they would refund her latest purchase, but told her not to send back the food. Instead, they recommended that she donate it to an animal shelter. And, shortly after that, she received a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Chewy is a shining example of ‘putting the customer’s needs before [its] own interests in [its] marketing,’” Zhivago said.
(And look, Kristin and I just gave them some more positive word-of-mouth marketing.)
So, follow this customer’s advice, who responded to the survey by saying, “Companies: put the interests of clients above yours. The customer is always right.”
Learn a customer-first methodology in the Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate program from the University of Florida and MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingSherpa)
Get Better Business Results With a Skillfully Applied Customer-first Marketing Strategy
The customer-first approach of MarketingSherpa’s agency services can help you build the most effective strategy to serve customers and improve results, and then implement it across every customer touchpoint.Get More Info >
Project and Ideas Pitch Template
A free template to help you win approval for your proposed projects and campaignsGet the Template >
Six Quick CTA checklists
These CTA checklists are specifically designed for your team — something practical to hold up against your CTAs to help the time-pressed marketer quickly consider the customer psychology of your “asks” and how you can improve them.Get the Checklists >
Infographic: How to Create a Model of Your Customer’s Mind
You need a repeatable methodology focused on building your organization’s customer wisdom throughout your campaigns and websites. This infographic can get you started.Get the Infographic >
Infographic: 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design
To build an effective page from scratch, you need to begin with the psychology of your customer. This infographic can get you started.Get the Infographic >
7 Steps to Discovering Your Essential Value Proposition with Simple A/B Tests
Drive better results when you discover what it is about your business that customers love.Get the Guide >
Receive the latest case studies and data on email, lead gen, and social media along with MarketingSherpa updates and promotions.