The Lie of Consumer Centricity

If you are in advertising, you might came across that phenomenal buzzword of “Consumer Centricity”. Companies tend to call their activities Consumer Centric, when it´s pretty obvious that they´re not. These companies still care more about packshots, their brand and other vanities than about the people using it.

But people out there hold down a job every single day per week, earning money that they are keen spending on their products so please:

Make the effort to investigate what they really want and how can you really make a difference to their live, rather than slapping them with boring product ads.

Companies should ask themselves

“How can I be sustainable for people, or even useful? How can I make the shift from simply pushing my products to a sustainable, long lasting relationship with potential and existing customers?”

But, what is Consumer Centricity? Its an attitude, right? A process that leads to a positive Consumer Experience at every touchpoint with a company. From actually using the product, to purchase at the POS on a brick and mortar location. Also on the countless digital platforms or even in traditional communication channels. Consumer Centric thinking adds value to a company, as is stand out against competitors.

Now, think about yourself as a consumer!

Who would you rather deal with? An administration office in your town whose processes and formalities only serve themselves, which means an enormous hassle for each individual to deal with those administrative authorities, only by their rules. This “product” is broken. I wouldn´t use it if wouldn´t have to. It´s useless and not up to date.

Meanwhile, a so called startup from the “digital age”, creates a completely new way of customer service. By answering tweets in seconds, enabling livechat functionalities to help during a online purchase process, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to create a positive product experience, they create a USP. They know consumers have a strong voice and companies will be screwed if this voice is digitally amplified.

Ok, it´s a drastic comparison, but it points out the different mindsets you still find in companies out there, does it?

So, to wrap it up, Consumer Centricity is an attitude. A genuine approach that you live by conviction, regardless if you work in a highly ventured startup, a furtune 500 company or even if you are a stand alone service worker.

If you don´t appreciate the people buying your product, you´ll be fucked up pretty fast.

What is it that one can do to provide a consumer experience that appreciates consumers, that creates a perceived mood of care and support?

Frankly, this is not a “10 things you need to do” kind of post, because companies need to find their own way into Consumer Centricity with all their individual characteristics. It´s a huge change for a company, and it has to do with technology, processes, but more important with people.

But let´s stick to the advertising view that I opened that post with (that’s the area I feel comfortable talking about) and try to understand the situations marketers deal with today.

Put yourself in the position of a marketer. If you´re lucky developing something new, you might kick off with an open innovation approach to gain relevant insights on what´s really needed. You collect data using traditional market research. Develop an MVP and bring it to market. Iterate your evaluation phases and adapt the product until its ready for market, then scale.

If you´re less lucky (and in my perception that’s the sad majority), you get an abstract of a product that you need to sell in your market. With limited to no influence on how this product works and how you may present it to the market using all know channels, touchpoints and relevant brand platforms.

Many companies put Consumer Centricity on top of their agenda, which makes absolutely sense. But for companies assigned to the the second case above, this buzzword gets pasted into agency briefings. Reading briefings like “…create a Consumer Cenric campaign for…” is compareably funny as“..create a viral that…” if you see what I mean 😉

It appears that many marketers mistake Consumer Centricity for Content Marketing (attention, buzzword alert) . Switching the communication from simply advertise “products” to a state of the art YouTube approach showing a young fellow using our product, does not make a campaign consumer centric, or am I wrong? It may be in line with the “language” the target audience understands an appreciates, but it is certainly not a Consumer Centric Campaign.

So, I´d like to end with my thesis:

There is no such thing as a Consumer Centric campaigns.

Why? Because no one needs advertising. Advertising doesn´t help you with anything. It may be research wise tested if you like it or not, but you would´t miss it if it wasn´t there, but loosing a Consumer Centered product that adds value to your daily live hurts.