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Writing and reading several blog posts over the last few weeks made me think about marketing and about business. Marketing by definition is customer/ individual centric, so why are there still so many people that see marketing just as advertising and promotion (brand centric)? The answer is quite obvious, because the majority of so called marketers just use it for these reasons. That’s a shame, but the truth.

So, after lots of tossing and turning, I came up with three questions that we all need to answer, if we want to run/work in businesses that are still relevant in the future and become more than just a short term money making machine.

What would happen if my business would become really customer (B2C, individual, consumer, candidate, the real value driver) centric?

I mean really customer centric, not just mission statement customer centric; such as solving their frustrations instead of searching for new revenue opportunities; such as treating them as human beings instead of numbers; such as engaging on their terms instead of sending another email shot; such as providing a special experience so they want to sign up instead of forcing them to register; such as understanding that nobody owns the individual but the individual; such as understanding that data is collected not to sell it to third parties but to get to know your customer better for his own benefit and  to provide outstanding and surprising recommendations. (Information and data is readily available, the value lies in the decision based on the data, not in the data itself) That is a lot of responsibility, be aware of it, use it wisely because it’s the customer who makes the decision if you are in or out.

What do you need to change if 80% of your user engagement comes via mobile?

In a previous post, I showed how mobile is already now changing user behaviour and we are only at the beginning of the adaption curve. Mobile is unstoppable and the changes it brings will be profound. It’s a new ballgame, and everybody can win it.  So instead of building the next website, jump straight away to a mobile development and place it right at the heart of your plans, your organization and your engagement. And this brings us full circle to the first question, customer centric will ultimately become customer defined –the individual decides the level of engagement, the individual decides what access rights he grants you and the individual can also remove them whenever he feels your brand has become useless or has breached his trust.  Mobile will tilt the power of balance even further to the individual. This leads us neatly on to the next question:

How will your brand gain access to the user’s browser?

This question refers to the remark “the web is dead”: Instead of visiting individual websites, the user will have one dashboard (ala iGoogle) and will invite brands to deliver information and recommendations into this user defined dashboard. Why would a user choose you? How would your brand stay relevant through less engaged periods? How do you stay connected?  You might think that it’s still a long time from becoming reality, but let’s think about it now –because it requires us to adopt or at least get used to a customer centric approach at this stage in the game and will make the engagement with your brand immediately more rewarding.

Change is the only constant but it always provides us with the opportunity to redefine ourselves, our companies/brands/services – so let’s take it. The first steps will be hard and will require some boldness, but every subsequent step will be easier and easier. So tell me, what would your answer be to the 3 questions above?

Painting by Clay Vajgrt

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