Last Thursday evening about 60 people joined the team from Marketsoft at The Attic on George Street to debate Customer Centricity. The panel comprised executives from Telstra, Dell and DMG:Events.

The debate topic

The four speakers were broken into two teams, the affirmative and the negative:

>> Guest speakers for the affirmative: customer-centricity is the only way forward for marketers
>> Guest speakers for the negative: customer-centricity is an expensive fad that distracts us from our real objectives

Our Observations

There were certainly some interesting viewpoints and insights from the evening. For me, the discussion about pragmatic vs customer centric marketing was based on an underlying and incorrect assumption that customer centricity needs to cost a fortune in technology and change management. It does not.

Take telco, an area we have worked in for several years. Typically they know much more about their phones, the next launch and the latest features, than they do about their customers. As one person raised last night, even whether someone is a customer or not!

This is not about the colour of someone\’s shoes or underwear, it\’s fundamentally whether or not you know you have a trusted relationship already!

Then there was the famous Henry Ford misquote “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. I think there is merit in this and you cannot rely on crowd research for product or service development. However, it\’s not only the product or service and new features but how you deliver it.

People do know whether they prefer frequent emails and about what areas. They do know the channels they prefer to use. They do know whether they prefer video, info-graphics, ebooks or face to face meetings.

So ask them, and care enough to deliver them your service or product in a way that they would prefer. And if you can\’t ask them, and you don\’t have a stated preference, maybe we can be smart enough to deduce it from their Digital Body Language™.

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