No more customer centric – no longer the customer owns the conversation.


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I know, being customer centric sounds good. It is supposed to make the customer and the internal team think there is nothing more important than the customer. Likewise “The customer owns the conversation” – or – “Now, the customer is in control”.

Well – isn’t that a similar marketing BS just from a different angel? If a CEO tells you their company is “customer centric” do you really believe that? I guess you don’t. Do you feel customer ‘owning’ the conversation is really a conversation – or is it just a new one sided monologue? We can’t gain customers’ trust as long as we continue broadcasting messages we hope it may resonate – even with very best intentions – like recognizing the importance of a customer.

No, I’m not just picking on words I am arguing with a mindset that leaders, and their consultants, implant in teams, clients and markets where one is equally unbelievable than the other. Company centric is as bad as customer centric – both make no sense.

Customer centricity, as good as it sounds, is still based on a one sided “decision” to get a “message” to a “market”. It doesn’t feel that those terms and definitions evolved form “collaboration” where “people” jointly formulated a better “behavior”.

It takes a “customer integrated approach” to get to a higher degree of success for both sides. “The integrated customer” is nothing new – however only rarely people took it from “integrate the customer in our thinking” to “working with the customer in an integrated series of actions“.

A Customer Integrated Processes would mean that even in the early stage of a sales strategy development a representation of customers is required. CRM decisions and it’s feature definition should involve customers. Marketing campaigns should be jointly developed with customers. And why not discuss pricing levels and schemes with customers. IBMers did that already in the 70’s with their mainframe clients, why not expand this on a grand level? With the new social powers we can even involve a large number of customers in such a process. And: It doesn’t cost a dime.

Customer Integrated Processes are slower to begin with as it takes longer to get a strategy going and it takes longer to agree on things and it takes longer to implement such a strategy and fine tune it. But it pays off under way. Customer Integrated Processes are faster to execute, provide a higher success rate and inherit an early warning system as changes arise in a market.

And while there are only a few companies thinking that way – it may make sense for all of us to consider the thought.


Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000.


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