I had a dream: To write my own book! For myself, for my team at moweb and basically for everyone who is interested in the customer concept "persona" and the phenomenon of "disruption".
And in no time at all, barely 18 months have passed and the book is finished. The title: "Customer Centricity Mindset® - Really Understanding Customers, Successfully Mastering Disruption.”
For the foreword, I was able to win over my friend Kai Schmidhuber, currently Managing Director of the e-commerce division at ALDI, at an early stage. Some of his statements make me particularly proud: That my book "teaches the basics and is not short-lived digital gossip". That it rather goes "into the nitty-gritty" and that I have not put down on paper a "buzzword zombie" on 179 pages, but on the contrary "language, techniques and images that come from life".
Probably only with the mentioned language from the life a book can and may call itself also "advisor". In my case, it is a guidebook for managing directors, owners and decision-makers in marketing and sales who want to retain their room for maneuver in these uncertain, volatile and sometimes crazy times.
With Customer Centricity Mindset®, I describe an entrepreneurial concept that places the customer in the focus of all actions instead of a product. Or more precisely: their individual wishes and needs. This one customer, known as a "persona" in business jargon, holds the power in our already thoroughly digitalized times. A power that no sensible corporate decision-maker should be able to ignore. Unless he or she is on a mission of self-destruction and deliberately wants to endanger their own brand success.
What do concepts like user story, moments of truth, touchpoint analysis or customer journey mean to you? Sound too specific and technocratic? Wrong! They all shape our everyday lives as customers of any number of products and services. We all write our own individual story in the purchasing process every day. We constantly react to a wide variety of offers and providers, or we deliberately ignore them. Some information is important to us, while others are completely irrelevant. Everyone, really everyone, experiences the phases between initial contact, product purchase, aftersales or possible post-purchase dissonance differently and very personally. As a salesperson, you really have to realize this. Decision-makers and basically all employees of a company need a lot of empathy, i.e., the willingness to completely put themselves in their customers' shoes in order to know how they feel, think and act.
This is where disruption comes into play, because only with the consistent adoption of the Customer Centricity Mindset® do companies have their finger on the pulse of their customers, so that they can recognize coming changes early on and still react actively. Or in other words: to anticipate a disruption as an all-pervasive transformation in good time, so as not to be simply swept along by this destructive process as if by a tidal wave.
"The customer is king, emperor, count and pope at the same time! Customer centricity has never been more important than NOW! You must focus on your (potential) buyers, understand them, put yourself in their shoes. This is the only way to develop an understanding of needs and (future) expectations that will help you succeed."
"Get to know your customers! Sociodemographic profiles and statistical target group definitions are far from enough here. I mean, really get to know your customers!"
"Think of problems as friends. Welcome mistakes, analyze them, find the causal relationships that contributed to their creation, and we'll move from a finger-pointing culture to a learning culture."
"Disruption is like a tsunami wave that, driven by innovation, digitalization and globalization, overtakes everything in its path: existing business models, corporate cultures or even entire markets. But if you can master riding this wave, you can harness the power of disruption and enter unimagined spheres of entrepreneurial success."
Do you sense that this topic is really a matter of the heart for me? Otherwise, it would also have been a waste of time and I would never have written the book. I have been a market researcher for 30 years now, and yes, during this time I have definitely developed, cultivated and nurtured my very special "Herbert touch". Namely, being direct, humorous, lively and sometimes "at odds" with the current prevailing opinion. This attitude characterizes my book, that's what makes it special, because there's one thing it shouldn't be: Interchangeable.
Some of the "dark" keywords in my work are tsunami, globalization and the new power of the customer. But I am by no means acting as a doomsayer. No. On the contrary. Throughout the chapters, I want to encourage a constructive, positive mentality. By the way, completely independent of Corona, after all, the starting signal for my writing was given even before the pandemic and the foundations of the Customer Centricity Mindset® were laid long ago.
Back to attitude and opinion. I now ask you, the reader: Do these lines sound exciting enough to pick up my book? Or do you say: Nobody needs all this marketing nonsense! In the end, it's always experience and gut feeling that decide!
Shall I tell you something: You could be right. Not every marketing sow should be driven through the village. But sometimes it's not a sow, but a truffle pig, and then the pursuit is worthwhile after all! And hey, I have always been an enthusiastic market researcher and therefore a curious truffle pig with a passion.
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Herbert Höckel is a managing partner here at moweb research GmbH. He has been a market researcher for more than 25 years. In 2004 he founded moweb GmbH, which he is still the owner today. moweb from Düsseldorf operates internationally and is one of the first German market research institutes specializing in digital processes.