I had the good fortune to work with Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell and Empowered, on a groundbreaking new report. Along with colleagues from across Forrester, he has raised the red flag on a new era of competitive advantage that ties together what technology has brought us — information — with the end goal in mind — the customer — to define a new strategic focal point for companies that he and we now call the age of the customer. See his initial blog post here, or watch this video about the report:
Why is this so important? Because many companies have maximized the value of information that has dominated technology investment and decision-making since the early 1990s when the Internet boom began, computers got substantially cheaper and more powerful, and connectedness began to change the dynamic between people and companies. Over the next decade or more, the only way companies will truly stand apart from their competition will be a devotion to combining information, technology, and decision-making into a defensible and fundamentally stronger position — obsessing about the best customers that they have and demonstrating that value in terms of products, marketing, and service.
Do you think your company is customer obsessed already? Look at your customer systems and ask yourself some key questions:
- Do you know the share of wallet you maintain with customers?
- Do you engage customers when they are not in the buying cycle?
- Are you narrowing your focus to select customers rather than using mass efforts to reach them?
- Do you use CRM internally to support, or externally to engage, your constituents?
- Are your marketing and IT teams in alignment about how to define, serve, and measure customer attention?
If you are able to answer yes to all of the above, let us know. We are looking for examples of companies that embody this obsession now or are fast on the path to get there. You will need to get there; you have no choice. Let us know where you stand, here or in our community.