Modern Marketing Agency

What is customer-first marketing?

By Kieran Sheridan-Lawler |



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

Find out more

March 24, 2021 | 5 min read

Customer-first marketing is a marketing philosophy that puts your customers and prospects at the heart of everything you do.

Putting customers first allows your organisation to create long-term sustainable profits. It’s not a customer vs profit competition, it’s a hybrid of both.

Top performing businesses measure their successes through a balance of customer satisfaction and financial victories.

Customer first marketing

When was the last time you spoke to one of your customers?

To truly understand your customers, you need to engage with them. Only then can you see what it is they’re looking for. Once you understand this, you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

Segmenting your customers will allow you to create relevant and personalised content for the correct group. Everyone is different and sending a generic advertisement or message to one large target audience, regardless of what stage of the customer journey they’re at, might not be the best use of your time or budget. It may also do more harm than good as sending an irrelevant message may put people off your product or damage your brand.

It starts at the top

It doesn’t matter who has the great ideas at your company. If the leadership team is not behind it, it’s going to be really difficult to see it through.

Hallam 2

That’s why it’s fundamental for customer-first marketing to be taken as a priority by the C-suite right through to the customer-facing team members. Senior management cares about achieving overall company objectives, customer acquisition and retention and the bottom line so keeping customers at the centre of the company’s activities is something they’ll care about too.

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

Getting stakeholder buy-in early on will be a game-changer for how successful this style of marketing can be for your business.

Empower your staff

Simply doing this for your marketing advertisements isn’t enough as it doesn’t make a difference to the customer or prospect if it’s a retargeted advert they have seen on Facebook or a phone call they have had with your receptionist. To them, they’re both interactions with your company.

This highlights the need to train and educate your whole organisation on the importance of being a customer-first business. Using this as an opportunity to also highlight and deliver additional training your colleagues may need – to make these interactions with customers the best they can be.

Empowering your staff also helps motivate them to do a better job as it’ll make them feel that they’re valued, part of the bigger vision and that their work and contributions make a difference, not just to the business, but to customers and their lives.

Become relevant: the three Es of great content

The simple truth is that if you’re not providing relevant and useful content and interactions with your customers they’ll eventually go elsewhere.

Hallam 3

That’s why you need to make sure that you’re constantly looking for ways to improve your marketing and communications strategy, allowing you to provide educational, entertaining, and engaging content.

You want your content or message to solve your customer’s problems but your competitors can already do that too, so to set you apart from them you need to tick these boxes and put the customer first.

No organisation is fully customer-first. Think of this as a journey. Each step you take to become more customer-centric is a step towards business longevity and greater profits.

Kieran S-Lawler is head of marketing and Rachel Holey is SEO consultant at Hallam.

Modern Marketing Agency

Content by The Drum Network member:

We’re a multi-award winning full-service digital agency based in the UK, and a trusted partner to some of the world’s biggest national and international brands.

Find out more

More from Modern Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +