If you still think “the customer is king,” you’re falling behind. Today’s most powerful growth engine is users—people who interact with a company through digital media and technology even if they have never spent a dime. Become indispensable to users and the profits will follow.
As CEO of the digital marketing agency HUGE, Aaron Shapiro goes inside blue-chip companies to advise them on how to thrive in this new business reality. He led an extensive study of the Fortune 1000 and found that the most successful companies focus on users first. Look at Facebook and Google. They built their businesses before they even figured out what they were selling, let alone who their customers were.
Shapiro argues that every business needs to stop obsessing about customers and start creating powerful user experiences. For instance: Mint.com made the easiest and most effective interface for controlling your personal finances, and once there, you can follow ads that let you improve your financial performance even more. And Net_ ix took down Blockbuster by treating its subscribers as users, not customers. It continually changed and improved its technology to create the best possible experience instead of maximizing rental fees and late fees.