PRODUCT VS. CUSTOMER CENTRIC APPROACH

It’s easy to talk about yourself, your products and services. The challenge is, nowadays talking about yourself hardly is going to win success in business. Customer centricity isn’t anything new, yet many companies still fail making it real.

Ultimately, customers want outcomes. It might sound somewhat trivial, but most customers are seeking a feeling that you understand them, their challenges and that you can provide them with customised solutions.

PRODUCT CENTRIC BUSINESS

Product centric companies focus on new product development and strive to make great, lasting and innovative products. Product centric companies look inward to leverage their own internal skills and technologies. They maximise profits through volume sales, cost reductions and market shares as their KPIs.

Product-centric mindset places its trust and faith in product and service features, made visible on marketing and sales initiatives, and how the organisation presents itself.

Some common product centric characteristics are:

  • Focus on we arewe canabout usour people, etc.
  • Focus on products/services, highlighting features, specs, etc.
  • Focus on selling a product/service to as many as possible
  • Fact-based segmentation, usually size
  • A culture of self-promotion, lack of humbleness
  • The buying decision often comes down to price

Product centric companies invest money and effort in developing new, better products, and their product lines define their business identities. Companies driven by their products center marketing and sales around new product launches and developments. Their corporate imagery features product photos.

CUSTOMER CENTRIC BUSINESS

Customer centricity places an emphasis on the overall customer experience in order to build a loyal customer base. Customer centricity requires the company to be willing and able to change its organisational design, performance metrics and incentive structures to focus on value creation process.

Some common customer centric characteristics are:

  • Focus on understanding the customer journey
  • Focus on providing solutions to answer current problems or needs
  • Focus on the Customer Lifetime Value
  • Ability to respond to changing customer behaviour
  • A culture of creating value and building relationships

Customer centric companies have mechanisms designed to augment customer experiences. Such firms value and consider customer satisfaction in everything they do. They talk about experiences, and benefits, and often feature imagery of people on their marketing pieces.

PRODUCT OR CUSTOMER CENTRIC?

A product centric company will come and go with its products. This type of company only lasts as long as the product lasts and will die off over time. It can be difficult for a product centric company to continually produce new products, and not every new product is a hit.

A customer centric company is more likely to be sustainable because the company itself is in a better situation and can respond to failed product or service better. This type of company can adjust its efforts to the customer to retain them. The right type of offering can be created for each type of customer in a flexible way.

The right balance between product and customer centric approach comes from a deep customer experience understanding. Starting with the beginning of the buying cycle and ending with engaged customer. Defining customer needs at each phase of the buying and customer life cycle. 
Finally, it’s not really this versus that though. Customer centricity also means having a decent product or service to start with.