Are You Focused on the Wrong Things?

A recent article in Advertising Age touted how CMOs should go about making sure their companies are “customer-obsessed.” Sounded good to me. Early on the author posited this question: “Marketers are predisposed to think about the market first. So why are marketers not naturally predisposed to be customer-obsessed?”

He answered this question by suggesting that marketers, due to P&L pressure, find “this all adds up to marketers knowing more about the product than their customers, and performance gravity creates an increasingly inward-looking team.” Makes for poor marketers since I believe the primary skill required of a great marketer is to think like a customer.

So how does one fix this, since Marketing can hardly be expected to drive a customer-0bsessed culture if they are not customer obsessed. What should the CMO do about all this? Three things according to the author:

  1. Gain intellectual agreement that the customer is at the center of all. He states, and I agree, this is pretty easy to get people to say yes to. However, saying yes and acting that way are two different things.
  2. Act on that agreement by putting the customer at the center of all conversations
  3. Measuring what matters, which is customer-centric

Once the CMO gets Marketing on board then comes the hard part, which is getting the rest of the company on board.

This modern marketing stuff puzzles me. I wonder if we went back in time before modern marketing, and told some CEOs about this new fangled idea of being customer centric. Would they just laugh their faces off at our silly idea that this was a new idea.


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