A focused world – Product centric or customer centric?

More companies embrace social media every day, building better websites and trying to figure out a substantial mobile strategy to integrate with their business model. It’s becoming clear that companies are beginning to realize the power and importance of digital media in relation to telling a believable brand story.

However, companies can try as they wish to get better at creating content or trying to engage with consumers on Facebook,Twitter or Pinterest, but if – at the end of the day – it’s just marketing blah and not truly relevant, all is lost… including the marketing investment, time and resources. Because digital media is open to all, this strategy backfires. Great design is clearly not enough and trying to use social media to put lipstick on the proverbial pig, means you are trying to design and market your way out of a flawed business model.

What must businesses ask themselves? They need to ask the same questions that keep the rest of us up at night.
  • What are we doing?
  • Why are we here?
  • Who do we serve?
  • Are we doing this right?
  • Would anybody care if we disappeared today?
  • How can we get closer to the people that matter most to us?

Digital media marketing has forced businesses to change. This is old news, but what’s intriguing is that we’re seeing two, distinct breeds of business focus being born – Product centred and customer centred.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, you can’t have one without the other moving forward. As essential as product centred businesses are, so too are customer centred businesses, and this is where our business world could, possibly, get very exciting: when the best of companies become the perfect balance of both.

We’ve already started to see some emerging signs of this (like AnswerFirst, they now offer customer support via social media), where a hybrid of product focused organizations have an equally compelling customer focused drive as well – be it driven top-down by the corporation or enhanced via peer to peer engagement.

It seems to make perfect sense, but we have to remember that social media isn’t just about companies being able to talk to customers and provide platforms that serve customer service as the prime driver. The digital platform and channels have enhanced how we feel about companies and how companies can express (or react) to that in much more powerful and profound ways. It has switched from a traditional “old school”, linear, approach to a much more circular one.

Is your business more product focused or customer focused? What are you going to do to bridge the gap? And yes, in this day and age, that is the ultimate goal, it can’t be by leveraging marketing as lipstick coating to the business.

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