Earlier this year, Forrester’s South African PR team approached me with an opportunity to share a bit of our B2B thought leadership worldwide.  Mark Eardley, Johannesburg-based author and a regular column contributor to Marklives.com, came across our team’s predictions for 2018.  He was delighted to find a kindred-spirit in heralding a revival and reawakening in B2B marketing. Mark wanted to do more than just point to this report; he wanted to dig deeper and engage directly.

First of a 5-part series: www.marklives.com

Long story short, over the next few months, Mark will publish a five-part series of Q&As that he and I will exchange from across the world.  The first post deals with what it takes to move your customer-centricity from lip service to full service. Mark posits critical questions about the following:

  1. Shouldn’t customers be at the core of everyone’s purpose (not just marketing)?
  2. What’s the goal of being customer-centric; what does it yield in business benefits?
  3. How important is it that everyone agrees that customers are the most critical component of the business?
  4. How can organization break through the barriers to becoming customer-centric?
  5. What milestones need to be set and how can you measure progress?
  6. Who drives the business from merely paying lip-service to customer centricity and turns it into a business-benefitting reality?

And I do my best to give him Forrester’s practical, provocative perspective on each.  This first post includes highlights from a major study Forrester conducted about “what does it take to be customer obsessed?” Shar VanBoskirk led the charge here with the Customer Obsession Assessment. I jumped on the train to take a closer look at how B2B firms stack up maturity-wise and what customer-obsessed B2B marketers do differently when they achieve the highest maturity level. (Hint: The answer starts with an “e”.)

I hope you will follow this series with the same interest and enthusiasm that I have found for this project.  Like Mark, I’m just “chuffed” to know that Forrester B2B marketing research is getting exposure as far away as Cape Town and Pretoria. (South Africa! Who would have thought?)