Users, Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business

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9781591846314: Users, Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business

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 Netflix 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.

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From the Inside Flap:

If you still think "the customer is king," you're probably 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.     By next year, the Internet will drive the majority of all consumer purchases in the United States--a figure that will only grow as young people who have never lived without the Internet increase their spending power. The result: there's no longer such a thing as an offline business; every company must have an effective digital strategy to survive.     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. To explore the subject further, he led an extensive study of the Fortune 1000. He has found that the most successful companies focus on users first, and look at customers as just one subset of this immense and influential group. 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. Rather than just trying to get people to buy stuff, the companies that truly excel home in on the user experience at every level:

  • They focus on their users' true needs: 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.
  • They make their technology disposable: Netflix 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.
  • They market themselves in a way that truly inspires their users. Pepsi redirected its Super Bowl advertising budget to the "Pepsi Refresh Project," a nonprofit, grant-giving program that generated massive free publicity and goodwill.

From the Back Cover:

Advance Praise For USERS, NOT CUSTOMERS     Aaron Shapiro and his team at HUGE have cracked the code on achieving real business results in today's digitally driven environment. In this book, Shapiro convincingly shows how critical it is for organizations to connect with their users in meaningful ways and demonstrates how to push your company and brand to the next level. -Michael I. Roth, Chairman and CEO of Interpublic     Users, Not Customers provides an insightful and pragmatic road map for transforming the focus of marketing at your company. It goes well beyond cataloging the expanding set of ways that digital can be applied to drive more innovative marketing, addressing the capabilities and cultural shifts that are required for success. -Matthew Egol, Partner, Booz & Company (Consumer Media & Digital)     Users, Not Customers is a must read for anyone seeking to integrate digital experiences with their products and services. Aaron Shapiro presents a wonderful novel perspective on the evolving role of digital in business as a tool for interacting with customers as well as suppliers, partners, and employees. -Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School     A clear blueprint for success in our growing digital economy. Shapiro's research outlined in Users, Not Customers will become the seminal work on digital transformation--a sink or swim exercise for most companies over the coming decade. -John C. Williamson, SVP, GM, Comcast.com     User experience is critical to business success, yet it is frequently misunderstood in most corporations. Shapiro offers extremely valuable insights into build-ing a usercentric company, addressing organization, governance, culture, and technology. -Bernardo Rodriguez, Chief Digital Officer, Kaplan

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