The most important person in your business, is outside it.

By Bernard Jansen


Who’s the boss in your business? Are you the boss?

Someone asked me recently what’s the difference between business strategy and marketing strategy? In simple terms the one deals with your company, i.e. what you make and how you do it, and the other with the customer, i.e. who they are and how to reach them.

But here’s the thing: in the past the business could largely ignore the customer and just focus on what it produced. It was a case of “make it, sell it”. This production orientation meant that whoever ran the business, was the boss.

But today the boss no longer sits inside the company, but outside it in the form of the customer. The production orientation has made way for a customer orientation.

So why this sudden change? Why are you no longer the boss?

The answer is the internet. It has revolutionised how customers think about their purchase decisions. No longer do they rely on limited, hard to come by information. They now have the world’s information at their fingertips and this has tilted the power in their favour.

There is a new reality today. Instead of being the boss you are now a servant to the customer. Understandably this is a big mind-shift for owners used to calling the shots. But it doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is treat the customer in the same way that you want to be treated by your employees:

  • Do you want your employees to talk to you? Time to talk to your customer.
  • Should your employees listen to you? Start listening to your customer.
  • Do you want staff to know what your expectations are of them? Time to know what your customer’s expectations are of you.
  • Do you want employees to go the extra mile for you? Now go the extra mile for your customer.

It boils down to becoming a customer focused business – one where the customer is central to everything you do. The best way to do this is to give more focus to the one function tasked with obsessing over the customer: marketing.

Move marketing from the outskirts of your business to the centre in order to elevate the role of the customer.

In this internet age, marketing strategy is quickly becoming the driving force for overall business strategy. The small company that takes advantage of this will win by treating marketing as a strategic tool and not an after-thought.

Could it be that marketing is now the boss inside your business?

How times have changed.

Image credit: Flickr