Empowered customers are disrupting every industry; competitive barriers like manufacturing strength, distribution power, and information mastery can’t save you. In this age of the customer, the only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers.

The successful companies will be customer-obsessed, like IBM and Amazon.com. Executives in customer-obsessed companies must pull budget dollars from areas that traditionally created dominance…

  • brand advertising
  • distribution lockup
  • mergers for scale, and
  • supplier relationships

…and invest in four priority areas:

  1. real-time customer intelligence
  2. customer experience and customer service
  3. sales channels that deliver customer intelligence, and
  4. useful content and interactive marketing.

Those that master the customer data flow and improve frontline customer staff will have the edge.

From The QoE, January 2013, ‘Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Customer’