For marketers, a mindset that puts the customer first is critical to competitive success. That's something marketers know. Yet, during day-to-day execution, that customer-centric mentality tends to get pushed aside, more so in Marketing than in other, client-facing parts of the business, such as Sales and Customer Support.

It happens easily, even to the best of us.

With so much going on in our pipelines at any one moment—from lead gen campaigns, events, new product launches, and more—marketers can't help but get caught up in the weeds of project execution. We run fast, focusing on what needs to get done now; in those moments, the customer-centric mindset is important, but not mission-critical. Or so it seems.

The truth is that a customer-centric mindset is necessary for our marketing to be successful. It helps campaigns resonate with prospects and customers, leading to more sales and enhanced client satisfaction and engagement. Those results benefit everyone, and taken together they can offer a powerful differentiator from your competition.

So how can busy marketers implement a customer-centric mindset? Here are five ways.

1. Get to know the real people behind your personas

Once prospects become clients, the tendency is to "set and forget," or to treat them as personas that doesn't evolve. The risk of not listening to clients and their needs is that you then operate in the dark, on the basis of on an outdated persona. Not to mention that you miss an opportunity to validate who they actually are.

Avoid that trap by interacting with your customers as real people rather than labeling them into personas or categories. Customer focus groups can help you understand what clients need and which messages resonate best—whether that's regarding awareness of new product features or reasons to buy again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Michelle Huff

Michelle Huff is chief marketing officer at Act-On Software, a marketing automation provider.

LinkedIn: Michelle Huff

Twitter: @michelle_huff