The Network Is Your Customer: Five Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age

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"An incredibly useful and valuable guidebook to the new consumer economy. Buy it. Learn from it. Succeed with it."—Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do

"This is the stuff that every business and nonprofit needs to embrace if they're going to succeed in a changing world."—Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR With clear analysis and practical frameworks, this book provides a strategic guide that any business or nonprofit can use to succeed in the digital age.

Marketing expert David Rogers examines how digital technologies—from smartphones to social networks—connect us in frameworks that transform our relationships to business and each other. To thrive today, organizations need new strategies—strategies designed for customer networks.

Rogers offers five strategies that any business can use to create new value:

  • ACCESS—be faster, be easier, be everywhere, be always on
  • ENGAGE—become a source of valued content
  • CUSTOMIZE—make your offering adaptable to your customer's needs
  • CONNECT—become a part of your customers' conversations
  • COLLABORATE—involve your customers at every stage of your enterprise

Rogers explains these five strategies with over 100 cases from every type and size of business—from shoes to news, and software to healthcare. In The Network Is Your Customer, he shows:

  • How Apple harnessed a host of collaborators to write apps for its iPhone
  • How IBM designed a videogame to help sell its enterprise software
  • How Ford Motors inspired an online community to build brand awareness for its new Fiesta

...and countless other cases from consumer, b2b, and nonprofit categories. 

The book outlines a process for planning and implementing a customer network strategy to match your customers, your business, and your objectives—whether you need to drive sales, to enhance innovation, to reduce costs, to gain customer insight, or to build breakthrough products and services. Because today, whatever your goals and whatever your business, the network is your customer.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Rogers (Center on Global Brand Leadership/Columbia Business School; co-editor, Handbook on Brand and Experience Management, 2009, etc.) presents a guide to how businesses and other organizations can use emerging digital technologies to reach customers.

Customers are changing, writes the author. They were once isolated and passive, relying on a one-way flow of information from the mass media. Now they interact and share on the Internet (Facebook, YouTube, etc.), where their videos, review, and campaigns can reach millions and have profound impacts, both positive and negative, on companies. Rogers focuses not so much on the digital technologies as on the behaviors of connected customers, what they value and what they will pay for. Based on interviews with executives at companies that are applying innovative thinking to customer networks, the author identifies five key network behaviors of today's customers: the desire to access (everything and now), engage (content relevant to their needs), customize (choose from an array of information, products and services), connect (share ideas and opinions) and collaborate (on collective projects). The examples clearly show the possible benefits of network strategies. Dell used its "Idea Storm" website to attract 10,000 new product ideas from customers; Kraft Foods created an iPhone application featuring thousands of recipes made with Kraft products and charged customers for the app (selling more than 1 million copies); author Stephenie Meyer built an early cult following for her vampire novels by reaching out to fans in online communities; and Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign gave millions of supporters online tools to raise funds, register voters and organize for caucuses. Such strategies, writes the author, can be used to achieve diverse business objectives, including product differentiation, speed to market, effective sales channels, reduced costs for customer service, customer loyalty and word of mouth, brand awareness among hard-to-reach target segments, customer insight, expanded innovation resources and improved knowledge management.

Level-headed advice for companies contemplating a leap into the digital arena.

Jeff Jarvis
“You are holding an incredibly useful and valuable guidebook to the new customer economy. Buy it. Learn from it. Succeed with it.”—Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do
Vivian Schiller
“This is the stuff that every business and nonprofit needs to embrace if they’re to succeed in a changing world.”—Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR
Bob Garfield
“I call it Listenomics. Others call it The Relationship Era. You can think of it as salvation. What David Rogers details in this compelling book is that the very forces that are destroying mass marketing—i.e., the digital revolution—also power the bright and bold future of commerce.”—Bob Garfield, host of NPR's On The Media, editor for Ad Age, author of The Chaos Scenario
Craig Newmark
The Network Is Your Customer shows in real terms how networks have changed our lives, as customers as well as citizens. The book explains how marketing and customer service demand constant engagement and commitment to customers, and it shows you how any business can meet that challenge for better returns.”—Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist
Penry Price
“You don't have to be a company like Google to benefit from the world going digital. With dozens of revealing case studies, Rogers shows how large and small businesses in every industry are tapping into the power of networks to drive their bottom line.”—Penry Price, Vice President, Google
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300165876
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/11/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David L. Rogers is executive director of BRITE and faculty director of the Digital Marketing Strategy executive program at Columbia Business School.

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