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Users, Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"CEO of the digital marketing agency Huge, Shapiro argues that companies need to stop focusing on scrounging for the customer dollar in favor of improving a 'user experience' that will keep prospective consumers engaged. In one generation, we've seen a dramatic shift in how we buy things; we are, in short (the eponymous), users not customers. Our engagement with brands goes far beyond merely purchasing a product or service; we're more motivated by the ease and experience of our engagement with the brand, and the quality of a company's digital presence. Shapiro discusses companies that have gotten it right (Hulu, Zipcar, Groupon) and those who have failed (JetBlue, Borders), walking readers through becoming a truly user-first company: structuring the business, balancing goals with technical feasibility and consumer needs, creating social value, and attracting users by giving, not taking. Shapiro's ideas are smart and perceptive, and his approach to strategy pleasingly concrete; he urges business owners to create a digital experience that's in service of customers, not trying to trick them. A much-needed, incisive guide to creating a genuinely appealing digital presence." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Shapiro, the CEO of a digital marketing agency, presents a user-first approach to running a company and attracting online customers by selling a service or product that solves a basic consumer problem. Examples from both large and small organizations illustrate the structure of a business that can effectively meet user needs and the value of combining trust, convenience, price, and fun. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
If you're still chasing customers online, you're looking at the challenge backward.
Aaron Shapiro helps companies build thriving digitally driven businesses. In his firm's extensive study of the Fortune 1000, a clear pattern emerged: the most successful companies drive sales by focusing on users instead of just customers. This is a fundamental strategic shift.
Rather than trying to get people to buy stuff online, these companies home in on the user experience. They've realized that building relationships between people and their brand has huge value, even if those users aren't spending a dime on their products (yet).
It's no secret that Internet-based companies like Google and Facebook thrive by building their user base before turning to monetization. Shapiro's big insight is that offline companies can successfully do the same, integrating offline products with an online presence and building platforms that create a lasting relationship between their brand and their users. Shapiro provides a strategic approach to refocusing your business in every way, from technology infrastructure and management to product design and marketing.
About the Author
Aaron Shapiro is the CEO of HUGE, a digital marketing agency that helps companies including PespiCo, JetBlue Airways, NBC Universal, Target, and Unilever reimagine how they interact with their customers and manage their business in the online economy. Prior to HUGE, Shapiro was a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and management consultant. He lives in New York City. Visit aaronshapiro.com.
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