For example, most lifestyle apparel companies will benefit from being highly customer-centric, but the level of customer centricity may vary among geographies or product categories. Commodities-based raw materials companies with price-sensitive customers, on the other hand, are likely better off being organization-centric, as too much investment in the customer could result in a lower ROI.
2. Use data and analytics to optimize the ROI of innovation, marketing, sales and service efforts
Once seen as cost centers of the business rather than contributors to the bottom line, today's marketers are now seen as key business advisors in engaging customers in personalized ways during "moments that matter" within each customer's stage of the purchase and repurchase journey.
However, marketers — and the business as a whole — need to evolve their view of costs and benefits by keeping in mind the balance between cost and profitability when triggering the right customer behaviors.
Data and analytics allow companies to leverage more granular insights at a single customer level. Companies can engage with customers dynamically every time they interact with the brand, triggering purchases and driving loyalty, while also understanding the ROI of those interactions so that they can optimize the value in the customer's life cycle.
3. Enable customer-centric, high-performance teams
Customers have higher expectations. It's incumbent upon companies to deliver on those expectations — and be profitable. For example, some companies have several different brands in their portfolios, some of which could be closely aligned to a particular lifestyle, such as sailing, surfing or adventure, whereas others may speak to a broader customer base. Companies need to look at each brand and determine how customer-centric, versus product-centric or experience- driven, they need to be.
To gain this insight, companies need to provide a 360-degree view of the customer to every business function. Companies must also position the right people and technology to decipher and analyze the data, and then action the insights. This allows companies to offer the right experience across the marketing, sales and service journey, while maintaining profitability.
This requires working closely together horizontally, in teams that are incented to tear down functional silos and deliver on the customer promise holistically, while allowing clear, fast internal communication for agile decision-making.
With the right strategy, and the right execution, companies can reap benefits to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Customer needs and desires are constantly shifting. Digital technologies are obliterating industry barriers, intensifying competition and upending traditional business models. It's a level of disruption that's only going to accelerate.
Enhanced customer engagement, leveraging data and analytics to increase the ROI across the customer journey and creating high-performance teams aligned to the organization's purpose can help drive sustainable, profitable growth. Companies will also see a tangible impact because they will be more agile and flexible in meeting changing customer demands.
However, in choosing to follow this path toward customer centricity, companies will want to remember that, in today's environment, implementation is not a marathon. Rather, it is a series of sprints, with people, processes and technology working hand in hand.