Placing the customer at the center of a marketing strategy is a common refrain in the loyalty marketing world. Some brands execute on this key strategy more proficiently, while for others it might only lend itself to lip service.

According to NGDATA, the goal of becoming customer-centric involves exceeding customer expectations with messages and offers customers actually want, not ones that are based off a company-centric agenda.

“Not knowing customers well enough to deliver these relevant offers and personalized experiences is the biggest hurdle to customer experience marketing,” the study says.

Here are some tips for creating your own customer engagement marketing strategy to truly engage your customers.

TURN YOUR DATA INTO DATA-DRIVEN MARKETING: Ensure that your data is fed by as many customer behaviors as possible, and that data from multiple sources is integrated and made accessible Move beyond merely using static data, and add behavioral and contextual data to understand each of your customers completely. Gather your data, from all customer touch points, into holistic customer profiles to gain the insights needed to engage with relevance and timeliness.

AIM FOR CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY: Customer-centricity requires that everyone in the organization be onboard, and that starts from the top. Make every interaction with a customer a “moment of truth,” to be as relevant and personal as possible. Provide omni-channel engagement. The customer experience needs to be consistent, integrated, and seamless across the entire journey.

SATISFY CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS: Know that the customer journey is no longer an undeviating process, but rather a more complex and convoluted non-linear experience. The entire organization is responsible for touch points along a customer journey. Deliver messages and offers in a personalized, timely, and relevant manner.

CONSIDER EACH STAGE OF THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY: “Understanding the customer journey is about learning what customers experience from the moment they begin considering a purchase, and then working to make the journey toward buying a product or service as simple, clear, and efficient as possible,” McKinsey & Company.

ADAPT TO CUSTOMER DEMANDS: Focus on meeting the needs of your customers and examine how you can meet those needs with your products or services. Listening, observing, quick and relevant responses … these will guarantee you customers for life. You can only exceed customer expectations by delivering value, listening and engaging, and creating personalized, branded experiences.

ENGAGE CUSTOMERS IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT: Marketers need to connect with customers in the manner that best suits them–inbound or outbound−on the device, channel, and at the time that meet their individual needs. Be prepared and able to interact with your customers consistently, across all your channels. You must strive to engage customers in the right context at each step of their journey.

MARKETING PERMEATES THE ENTIRE ORGANIZATION: Customers don’t separate marketing from the product, marketing from their in-store or online experience, or marketing from the company, which makes everyone in the organization responsible for marketing. Companies should become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization should become the customer-engagement engine that’s responsible for all tasks relating to customer engagement approaches. There must be a mindset around customer interaction touch points that add up to create the customer experience.

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