Daniel Burstein

Customer-First Marketing: Do you put your customers’ interests first?

June 21st, 2016

fiduciary-dutyFiduciary duty. These words have been in the news lately, as the government seeks to require that financial advisors have a fiduciary duty to their customers in certain cases.

A fiduciary duty is a legal duty to act solely in another party’s interests. So what this new regulation essentially means is, financial advisors must put customer’s interests before their own. And the financial industry has been fighting this.

As marketers – this should be crazy to us! This is what we should do every day: Put our customer’s interests before our own. How can a business, much less an entire industry, be against the customer?


Remember: You are not your customers

Customer-first marketing begins with the realization that our desires and goals are not necessarily the same as our customers’.

Let me give you an example. Mary Abrahamson is an Email Marketing Specialist at Ferguson Enterprises.

Usually if you go to marketing industry events, and a mobile vendor asks, “Who has a smartphone?” we see that everybody raises their hands. And so the vendor says – “See, everyone has smartphones.”

Well Mary realized – she wasn’t her customer. Her customers were plumbers and HVAC professionals. These people often had flip phones. So, when she launched a mobile campaign, she made sure that text messaging was an important part of her campaign … not just apps. The campaign ultimately generated more than $10 million in online revenue.

So next time you’re launching a campaign – take a fiduciary responsibility with your customers. Think of their needs … and not just your own.


This fiduciary responsibility should permeate the company

Of course, approaching your marketing campaigns this way is important. But this fiduciary framework of thinking should permeate your entire advertising agency, marketing department or entire company.

In a Harvard Business Review article, University of Michigan professors Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank said that the highest level of corporate culture is when a company has an outside-in culture.

The article read: “Leaders should begin to define the firm’s ideal culture by asking, ‘What is the shortlist of what we want to be known for by our best customers?’”.


Begin the transformation to customer-first marketing

The financial industry is currently struggling with the pending transformation wrought by the upcoming fiduciary rule.

But how would your business fare? Do you run customer-first campaigns? Is your company driven by a customer-first culture?

The first step of a customer-first transformation is acknowledging the need for a change of focus to the needs of the customer.


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Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

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