For marketers, customer centricity can't just be about abstract talk and the latest jargon. In an era of high customer expectations, increased brand competition and the explosion of social channels, successful marketing teams must take meaningful, in-the-trenches action in order to create compelling, long-term value for customers.

However, while this action-oriented attitude can pay valuable dividends, it also leads to a long list of must-haves: You need to listen to your company's customers and gather data. You have to glean insights from that data and bring them into your organization to drive product development and enhancements, messaging and strategy. All of this, within the framework of a strong, clear brand identity. Simple? Not!

Clearly, becoming truly customer-centric is complex. But what if you had a secret weapon in your marketing arsenal to help with every step on the customer-centric journey? What if you could take the confusion and anxiety out of the process and seamlessly engage in what is truly a cultural shift in how organizations relate to customers?

With Jive, you do. And you can.

Jive's comprehensive social business solution creates, cultivates and supports a culture of collaboration and insight-driven connection between employees, partners and customers. This strong dialogue (or even tri-alogue), uses the power of internal and external social communities, as well as cross-functional collaboration tools, to empower and enable everyone involved to advocate for the brand and keep improving products and services. Now, employees and teams can easily listen to and respond to customers and partners, and weave a customer focus into all product and marketing strategies.

Want to build a laser-sharp customer focus? Start now with these 8 concrete steps:Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 5.20.12 PM.png

1. Listen to what customers are already saying about you.

A clear brand identity is essential for any successful marketer. But to understand how customers and prospects perceive your brand, you need to know what they are saying to friends, family and peers. Jive Fathom social media monitoring lets you listen in on social web, tracking conversations and spotting trends that impact your company and brand. Jive Anywhere lets you capture reports from any web-based social media tool, such as Visible Technologies, and easily share them with colleagues within Jive. And Jive Resonata analytics mine the interactions in your Jive external communities to produce deep, actionable insight into prospect and customer needs, motivations and sentiment.

2. Dig into customer support data.

Customer service is an essential brick in your effort to build a customer-centric focus, so it makes sense to dig deeply into the support data you already have. Jive customer support communities provide a motherlode of information -- on customer issues, concerns, perceptions and suggestions -- which you can marry with trends in support cases to help you develop a stronger strategy and prioritize actions.

3. Make sharing the latest customer feedback simple, easy and fast.

Jive makes it simple to tear down your departmental silos so customer feedback can be freely shared, discovered and addressed. Internal employee communities provide a central hub where cross-functional teams can gather to have discussions, give status updates, and pinpoint actions. And integration with your external customer community and customer support allows everyone has a 360-degree view of what customers are saying.

4. Develop your own branded external community to facilitate deeper engagement.

An external community in which you own the content and media -- as opposed to a Facebook page, for example -- allows for authentic interaction with and among customers and prospects like no public social network can. With Jive, you can customize it with your own identity and connect it to internal customer service and marketing teams. You can observe, participate and identify trends that can then be brought internally to discuss and take action -- driving new product enhancements, improving customer service, and strengthening your messaging.

5. Co-create content and product ideas with customers & partners.

Customer-centric marketing means no longer just pushing ideas out through email blasts, Facebook posts and in-person events, but inviting your best customers and partners to become an empowered part of your messaging efforts, sales process, product innovation and content development. Jive's external customer and partner communities provide the rich interaction and collaboration capabilities that go far beyond conventional online forums, allowing users to connect, form groups and discussions, share a wide variety of content, write blog posts and more.

6. Empower and incent anyone in the company to participate.

You should inspire, empower and incentivize everyone in the company to work towards boosting the customer experience, from the C-suite to the front lines. Employees who are informed and engaged within a tightly aligned and coordinated organization will want to drive innovation and customer engagement -- and with Jive's gamification capabilities, you can recognize and reward their participation with game mechanics such as points, badges, trophies and other achievements.

7. Recognize and reward customers and partners for their participation.

A customer-centric ecosystem nurtures brand champions and advocates by encouraging customers and partners to participate in your public community, to give feedback about your new products and services, and to spread the word across the social web. With Jive's gamification tools, you can reward the behaviors you want to perpetuate, whether it is reading or commenting on a blog post, sharing an update, creating new content or completing a specific task such as going through a training session.

8. Use internal collaboration to strengthen strategic planning.

So, you've got a goldmine of feedback and analytics gleaned from social web data, customer service cases and public community profiles, comments and discussions. Now what? With Jive, you can use one platform to come together to share data and insights, make informed decisions and take action. With all teams aware of the latest data insights and how they can take advantage of them to drive the business forward, you can strengthen the strategic planning process across the entire enterprise, from marketing and R&D to product, finance, legal and creative.

Moving towards true customer-centricity can seem like a daunting challenge. But Jive provides an end-to-end answer that provides assistance along every step of the way, from gathering and harvesting insights to sharing data across functions and crafting strategies and programs. By aligning around a strong customer focus, you can quickly move beyond just talk to specific actions that lead to better results.

Learn more about how Jive can help you transform your organization into a customer-centric powerhouse here.