Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How to Define "Customer"

Steve Yastrow posted this on Tom Peters' blog ... his definition of a customer.
"Anyone whose actions affect your results."

I think he has over-simplified things, missing a critical component -- that customers are people who buy stuff from us. Steve's definition takes the most liberal expression and in some situations, this is a useful connotation. Steve would consider employees to be customers. Sure, we must pay attention to employee needs, but employees are not customers unless they buy the company's products.

So a still fairly simple definition could be "anyone who buys the stuff we produce." That has a minor glitch to it -- distributors or other middle-persons buy stuff from some companies and then re-sell it. Who are the end users? Are they customers? When P&G sells its Crest Toothpaste to Kroger ... then Kroger is P&G's customer. When I buy Crest a Kroger, I am Kroger's customer and Crest's consumer. But clearly, P&G must market to both Kroger and the consumer.

Another glitch -- advertisers pay for space in a magazine and subscribers pay to get the magazine. That makes them both customers. But what if the magazine is free to subscribers ... they consume the magazine but never pay.

So let me pitch out another attempt to define what a customer is: "anyone who pays for or consumes the stuff we produce."

How does that work for you. From a marketing point of view at least now I know the audiences that I need to aim programs at. I have to aim at my marketing at both my distribution channels and my end consumers. When we implement a CRM Solution, who is the object of our affection?

2 Comments:

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dale:

I enjoyed reading your article and would like to ask your opinion on the follow two cases.

Case 1:
Advertisers pay for TV ads to NBC and subscribers pay Time Warner $30 on average for 70 TV programs including NBC. Assuming NBC charges Time Warner $0.20 per subscriber per month, who are NBC's customers?

Case 2:
In a toy store, a father buys his 2-year old son a toy. How is the customer?

Thanks,
Nick

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger blaza said...

I Like the ebay and marketing
marketing

 

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