User-Centric Marketing — Review

From traditional to digital!

This week’s topic from the CXL Institute was User-Centric Marketing. What is user-centric marketing? User-centric marketing revolves around the customer. The way we market is going to be based on how they are feeling, which we will talk more about later in this article.

To start off, we must understand that user-centric marketing is way different than traditional marketing. Digital marketing has changed our relationships with customers — good and bad. With how fast the internet is growing, one single TWEET or post could hurt your brand. For example, let’s say we own a restaurant and have a celebrity stop to dine in, but has to wait soooo long for service, well… let’s say the customer isn’t patient and tweets how horrible the wait is. Within seconds, your restaurant has the attention of thousands of customers who will most likely avoid your restaurant in the future. There have also been instances where frustrated customers build a web-group, where they discuss how horrible a company is.

Digital marketing allows us to listen and respond, which is why we need to upgrade from a traditional marketing approach. With traditional marketing, our normal campaigns such as billboards and flyers require us to completely start over if small tweaks are needed, but with digital marketing, small tweaks can be done within seconds. Which is one of the unique characteristics of digital marketing. Another unique characteristic is having an unpreceded amount of data. With traditional marketing we aren’t going to know how many times a customer opened a brochure, how long they looked at it, which pages they spent more time on, but now that we are in the digital age, we are able to collect that data and learn from it with the click of a button.

Two Unique Characteristics of Digital Marketing

1.) Simple tasks can be easily adjustable

2.) Able to obtain unprecedented amounts of data

Why do we need a user-centric approach to marketing?

User-centric marketing draws on user research and user experience design. It aims to adapt our campaigns once they have launched to maximize effectiveness

A user-centric approach in marketing starts by understanding the customer/audience. You want to know what the customer is trying to do, what they want to know, their goals, what they are trying to achieve, what influences them, which in turn helps you get to know a little more about them personally, because let’s face it, we cannot convince someone to do something if we barely know them. The better we know them the easier it will be to persuade them to do something.

The better we know them the easier it will be to persuade them to do something.

This is where user-centric marketing starts.

So, how do we get to know our audience a little better? One tool is called empathy mapping. Instead of focusing on personas, this empathy map focuses on what the user is thinking:

What does he/she think and feel?

What does he/she see?

What does he/she hear?

What does he/she say and do?

What tasks are they wanting to complete?

What their goals and pain points are?

These end up being more useful for designing a marketing campaign, rather than knowing someone’s personal tastes.

The only drawback of empathy mapping is that it is only for a short duration of time. Our thoughts and feelings fluctuate throughout the week, month and even day.

How can we better understand our audience without spending a dime?

The answer to that is simple. Users are already posting their daily lives freely among social media, so that is where you DON’T hire a research team. Instead, you look at research that is already published and collect as much information as possible. The people we SHOULD turn to is our sales team and our customer support team. Another great source to turn to for information is who is in charge of your social media. Find out what questions they are being asked, what they notice, what the audience seems to respond to, etc. Not only that, but you are able to find out who your customers are. Another resource to turn to is your analytics team. And last, but not least, is the customer.

Instead of hiring a research team, some sources to collect insights from are:

Sales Team

Customer Support Team

Social Media Team

Analytics Team


Seems never-ending right? Well, we can’t solely rely on the data we collect from “investigating” the audience, we also have to see what search terms are being used and which pages of our website are they visiting? By knowing which pages they visit and for how long, we get a little better understanding of what they care about. Social media is also a powerful tool. People post what they care about on social media. We have to look at who they follow, are they following our competitors, what types of things do they share. Yes, this list just goes on and on and on, but all circles back to getting to know our customer’s thoughts and it didn’t even take a dime to figure all this out.

Surveys are a great tool to better understanding our users IF DONE CORRECTLY. You don’t want to ask tons of questions and exhaust the customer or ask a question just out of curiosity. You want yourself to achieve an answer by asking the right question. Back to our empathy map. We want to figure out those exact questions and implement them into the survey. Well, one problem we may run into is how are we going to get people to complete the surveys? You’re first going to want to know the appropriate time to ask such as when they are exiting the page. Maybe instead of multiple questions, you want to add one question about WHY they decided to leave. This could give us insight on what we could improve or maybe something we don’t offer that our competitor does. Adding multiple questions with different subjects may make the customer give up and not complete the survey at all.

Okay, so now that we know what use-centric marketing is, let’s put it to good use. Remember, the customer is (almost) always right.