If you're still chasing customers online, you're looking at the challenge backward.
Aaron Shapiro helps companies build thriving digitally driven businesses. In his firm's extensive study of the Fortune 1000, a clear pattern emerged: the most successful companies drive sales by focusing on users instead of just customers. This is a fundamental strategic shift.
Rather than trying to get people to buy stuff online, these companies home in on the user experience. They've realized that building relationships between people and their brand has huge value, even if those users aren't spending a dime on their products (yet).
It's no secret that Internet-based companies like Google and Facebook thrive by building their user base before turning to monetization. Shapiro's big insight is that offline companies can successfully do the same, integrating offline products with an online presence and building platforms that create a lasting relationship between their brand and their users. Shapiro provides a strategic approach to refocusing your business in every way, from technology infrastructure and management to product design and marketing.
CEO of the digital marketing agency Huge, Shapiro argues that companies need to stop focusing on scrounging for the customer dollar in favor of improving a "user experience" that will keep prospective consumers engaged. In one generation, we've seen a dramatic shift in how we buy things; we are, in short (the eponymous), users not customers. Our engagement with brands goes far beyond merely purchasing a product or service; we're more motivated by the ease and experience of our engagement with the brand, and the quality of a company's digital presence. Shapiro discusses companies that have gotten it right (Hulu, Zipcar, Groupon) and those who have failed (Blockbuster, Borders), walking readers through becoming a truly user-first company: structuring the business, balancing goals with technical feasibility and consumer needs, creating social value, and attracting users by giving, not taking. Shapiro's ideas are smart and perceptive, and his approach to strategy pleasingly concrete; he urges business owners to create a digital experience that's in service of customers, not trying to trick them. A much-needed, incisive guide to creating a genuinely appealing digital presence.