Being Customer Focused Doesn't Sell Anymore - 1

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In most business seminars or schools, you will be told that being a customer centric business will help you earn more market share. Whether that still holds today,

is left for scholars to tell us. Every business you can think of tries to define its business and marketing activities around the customer. You hear phrases like - know your customers’ need and provide it for them, understand your customer, get closer to your customers etc.

If business is as easy as being customer focused, every entrepreneur will be smiling to the bank everyday. The fact that not all businesses that are customer centric succeed means that that strategy is now old; you need a broader definition of your market. Even the customers know that your business is not about them; rather it’s more about you.

Today, business has moved from being customer centric to being people centric. Successful businesses have discovered that focusing on your customers is such a myopic way to do business in the 21st Century considering that needs change with time. When Philip Kotler discussed about the holistic kind of marketing, he was talking about doing business in such a way that both your customers and non-customers benefit from your activities directly or indirectly. This type of business mindset recognizes that everything matters – not just your customers alone.

The key to engaging more people in your business is to go beyond designing your product and all your marketing campaign around your customers. Think of the value an individual will experience through your business or product.

Ezinne Ikejiani 
When Company design their products/services around customers ... these customers are not just "Those who buy from them alone" rather, they incorporate buying(loyal) and potential customers. For non-customers benefiting from a company as you have stated, This is executed as part of the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR), the company's ethical stance and environmental management policy. So you may feel they are not doing it right, but the truth is, it is usually managed by different department of the company. However, if you pick up any standard company's annual report, you will find the product/service segments, marketing segment, CRS segment & the Company's code of ethics ........ All these diverse department work together to achieve one goal ....."Meeting the people's needs" ..........

Ofunre Iriobe 
Yes I agree with you that CSR is the way to go for big corporations, how about small business owners who don't have the resources to embark on CSR, how will they incorporate other stakeholders?

Ezinne Ikejiani 
CSR is voluntary not compulsory ..... so a small company should not spend massively on CRS. What management of the company can do is identify their major/primary stakeholders(Those whose power & influence can affect the company's growth prospects i.e the employees, local community where business is situated) and concentrate on them ......

Ezinne Ikejiani 
As the business grows ..... they can then increase/widen their CSR to other/secondary stakeholders .....

Ofunre Iriobe 
Ezinne Ikejiani Good opinion, however, being customer centric, goes beyond doing CSR. CSR is just another branding tool used by corporations. I deliberately left it out since this is a forum for SMEs and I know SMEs don't do much of CSR. I have decided to publish the 2nd part to distinguish btw CSR and people centric business. thanks

Ezinne Ikejiani 
Yes, but it depends on the country where your business is located i.e. in the UK, child labour, damaging the environment(illegal refuse disposal) & staff exploitation is seriously frowned at ....... so even though a company has the best product and marketing technique, If they exploit their staff or use children in Asian countries to produce the good, people will boycott the company's product. An example of companies in the UK that suffered as a result of this is M&S (Marks & Spencers) & Primark ...... So being customer centric encompasses tailored product, services, ethical behaviour etc .....

Segun Ogunlana 
@Ofure; I dont accept the fact that SME's cant engage in CSR projects. It doesnt need to be massive but something even little can count a lot. it all depend on the strategy deing employed. I gave a ciient of mine a suggestion in a strategic consultation that if we could get a contact in his local govt council, we could paint part of the road where school children do cross the road to create a Zebra crossing. The business is a laundry business and it would speak well for his business in the eyes of busy parents who will still bring clothes to his laundry. The former big in business is now small. Its just how we approach it. Cheers!!!!

Ofunre Iriobe 
@ segun, I completely agree with you. That is why I said they dont do 'much' of CSR.

Read 716 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 01:15
Ofunre Iriobe

Ofunre Iriobe is a researcher, and facilitator at the Redeemer's University Entrepreneurship Development Centre. He is also a private consultant to young aspiring entrepreneurs.

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