Ever heard of it? I hadn’t until recently. I downloaded a report from the Vanderbilt eLab research manuscript area that describes Customer Centrity as “… maximizing the understanding of our customers within a time frame and a context ń short of long duration ń to achieve business objectives and maximize customer value.”
I read over the report and thought to myself “is this any different than what I’ve been preaching at my current place of work for the last 18 months?” The answer to that question is “no,” but I haven’t used those words. I’ve read a lot of books recently like Good to Great and Built to Last, and the funny thing is that they also talk about customer focused companies that are very successful, too, but they don’t deal stricly with the internet, which is what the eLab does – quite well I might add.
So, I picked up a few great nuggets that I’d like to share with you:
The many-to-many communication model reverses the traditional one-to-many broadcasting paradigm. Any user can be an information provider.
This is being proven today many times over by the decline of mass media and the proliferation of weblogs. You see, any user can be an information provider, and many all becoming one. I turn to many sources that are 360° from the sources I turned to a year ago for vital information. I read as many different things as I can during the course of the day, and still don’t find enough differing viewpoints to satisfy my urge… I surely don’t watch all that much TV anymore, except for the local news program every once and a while, and for some entertainment, but even then, only rarely.
The Web, much more so than traditional media environments, allows customers to alternate between experiential (non-directed, “fun”) behavior and goal-directed (“work”) behavior. Online commerce must take account of both.
I absolutely agree that this is one place that the majority of the marketing people out there just aren’t “getting it”. The people behind traditional marketing are trying desperately to put into context what they’re learning on the web, but the problem is that their context is all wrong.
You see, as this article states, “Traditional marketers think that we on the Web are markets. They define a market as a group of people who will respond favorably (i.e., 2% twitch) to a message.” But people on the internet don’t fit into a ‘market’ yet, and likely won’t until the internet adoption rate is up there around 90%, and when that happens, there’ll be so many places to find information, unless a marketing agency recommends to the ‘big companies’ out there that they need to transform their voice into a bunch of little voices speaking intently about their products, to the people that want to hear about them, they’ll miss out on a lot of sales.
We’ve still got a lot to learn about the web, and marketing on the web, but the key to all of this is that customers on the web require customer centricity. But they call it ‘giving a shit about me’.