Over the last decade, developing a customer centric strategy has dramatically evolved. From its roots in the Total Quality Management (TQM) movement to Lean Six Sigma, focusing on the customer has improved productivity and enabled companies to become more nimble.
Now with rapid technological changes, social media and the digital economy, companies have developed an intimate relationship with the customer allowing them to follow their every move – from browsing history to social media posts to purchasing behavior. This trend is anticipated to intensify. According to McKinsey & Company’s recent research, two of the most disruptive trends over the next five years will be “Digital Intimacy” through social media and shifts toward “E-commerce Giants,” such as Amazon.com.  Additionally, consumer needs and desires are emerging more rapidly and trend lifecycles accelerating. “It took more than 50 years after the telephone was invented until half of American homes had one….but Facebook attracted six million users in its first year and that number multiplied over 100 times over the next five years.”
This rapid innovation has led to rapid shifts in what consumers want. Given these dramatic changes for the consumer, how will companies need to shift their approach to a modern customer centric strategy?
We sat down with Gail Galuppo, marketing strategist and former CMO at Aflac, Kindercare Education and Western Union, to understand how she sees companies changing their approach to strategy development to adapt to these customer centric trends. She identified five main practices that great companies excel at when developing their strategies:
On a final note, Galuppo shared that executives involved in strategy development need to make a practice of being curious about trends in other industries. “They need to understand what’s happening in other industries, follow trends and find ways to use that insight to drive better results and connect with their consumers.”
Given the speed of change, consumer-focused companies can’t afford to miss a beat in listening to their customer’s voice, capturing and understanding their needs and ensuring they are at the heart of the strategy development process. As you think about shifting the mindset of your company to be a more customer centric organization, consider how these practices can help move you in that direction.
Blog post developed in collaboration with: Linda Favero
McKinsey & Co., “The new model for consumer goods”, April 2018. Two additional trends cited as “highly disruptive” over the next five years were the “Better for You” and “Mass-merchant squeeze” trends. McKinsey & Co., “The four global forces breaking all trends,” April 2015.
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