Rethinking Marketing and the age of consumer capitalism

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In this months Harvard Business Review, Roger Martin writes that “modern capitalism can be broken down into two major eras. The first, managerial capitalism, began in 1932 and was defined by the then radical notion that firms ought to have professional management. The second, shareholder value capitalism, began in 1976. Its governing premise is that the purpose of every corporation should be to maximize shareholders’ wealth. If firms pursue this goal, the thinking goes, both shareholders and society will benefit. This is a tragically flawed premise, and it is time we abandoned it and made the shift to a third era: customer-driven capitalism.

I couldn’t agree more. Information is power and information has now passed into the hands of the consumer. Never before have customers been able to find information on available products and services easier and quicker, and with the rising power of peer reviews brochure style marketing is fast becoming obsolete.

In the new world of work talented companies will rethink marketing. The role and function of marketing will change quickly. Customer experience will be placed at the top of the strategic agenda at board meetings and the CCO (Chief Customer Officer) will become as important if not more important a role as the CFO. Companies that fail to identify this shift and implement these strategic changes risk ending up on the dust pile of corporate dinosaurs.

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