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Product Driven vs Customer Driven: What is the best way to build your business strategy?

Every company today claims to deliver value to its customers, establish leadership, be unique and profitable in its core market. In this highly competitive world, it is imperative for marketers to look at every manner of business. While generating leads, driving sales and making profits are critical, the totality constitutes to just one of the most crucial aspects of running a business.

When it comes to building the right strategy, you must understand the bottom line of a business and ask yourselves some of the questions like

  • What is the kind of company you operate, are you product focused or customer focused?
  • Can the business be transformed?
  • Is one type better than the other?
  • Which one suits your business personality?
  • Can it be hybridized and get the best of both?
  • Should you listen to your customers? and more.

No two businesses are alike and focusing blindly on one particular is not the route that every company should take. Depending on your answers you will have a clear idea whether Product-Driven or Customer driven marketing is suitable for your business.

Half of the marketers are currently operating without any marketing strategy.

As per Smart Insights, 34% of the companies are clear with the approach integrated into overall marketing strategy, 16% say they do digital marketing but have no defined plan and the rest 50% say they have no strategy at all. If your business is new and looking for long-term success, the below steps will help you determine and understand what to implement in your business strategies. If you’re an existing business and have no idea, you must learn to leave the old methods behind and develop an in-depth content marketing plan.

What Is Product Driven And Customer-Driven Marketing?

As the name says, product driven means building a product and then search for a market niche. This methodology takes advantage of the company’s in-depth internal marketing and technical expertise to develop products they think will fill a gap to reach customer base. This can be risky as it operates under the assumption that great products bring great customers, which then brings in profit and revenue.

Customer-driven marketing strategy involves identifying your target markets and reacting to their needs. Offerings, strategies, and plans here are motivated by customer demand or experience. This method help retain customers and use them to help gain additional business.

Why Is There A Need To Distinguish One From The Other?

Let’s admit it, the role of an online marketer or any marketer for that fact is to drive sales and raise brand awareness. Then why does it matter to distinguish from one another when the purpose is to become profitable? It probably is one of the first and the best question that an entrepreneur would have to wrestle upon.

Though it does not matter if the company follows customer driven or product drive, choosing one or the other or both have a role to play. Most companies are bound to select depending on the type of products or services they sell. This will help clear the picture towards the direction that the business would take when you start a new business, or decides to go back and redefine the identity of your business.

Elements And Strategies Employed By Product-Driven Businesses:

Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.”

1. Focus on your positioning and product:

This means providing direction and focus to your business organization and has no statement of how your company is perceived in the minds of your target audience. It all starts with identifying your brand as the perception that your consumers would like to hear. The brand here is not just a name, product or service, it is a picture of your company representing the customers. In product-driven marketing, it is always an opportunity to influence the market perception of your products or services.

2. Use mass marketing:

Today mass marketing is seldom being used everywhere and is very common. Even an ordinary thing like a pen branded is used for gifting, or an item is brought to rise socially in life. Such is the effectivity of mass marketing, and this is achieved not based on the demands of the customer, instead achieved by focusing on creating a need-based product.

3. Create unique products:

Today creating sustainable and unique products appears to be challenging and rare as everything seems to be already built. But uniqueness is a thing of innovation, and there is no end for creativity. If your company stands to be product driven, it is necessary to create a product with unique product attributes that are difficult to copy.

Examples Of Product-Driven Business:

Apple: A product-driven Business

Apple is a shining star who is focused on product-driven culture. They never cared about what consumers wanted but thoroughly operated on “build it and they will come” strategy. Whether it is their iPhone, iMac, iTouch, or iPad, the company always has focused on delivering the great product starting from its designing, technology, packaging and delivering.


Amazon is also one other example who have successfully adopted the product-driven culture. Amazon is known as the big daddy who has the tremendous amount of data which they use to determine where to move next.

Some Elements Of Customer-Driven Business Strategy:

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Says Seth Godin, who is the famous American author and former dot com business executive.

It is evident that the businesses should produce the quality product and also focus on the needs of the customers. This further affects the purchasing decisions and the profitability of the company. Along with the quality of the product, businesses are supposed to ensure some of the techniques to earn value.

Here Are The Elements To Consider When It Comes To Customer Driven Business Marketing:

1. Knowing your target market: Any business looking to be competitive should have an effective marketing strategy. And designing a plan means knowing your target market. This can help you focus your marketing dollars and a brand message that is more likely to buy from the other markets. This enables you to understand your current customer base, check out your competition and design your content accordingly.

2. Maximizing customer contact: Maximizing customer contact means maximizing customer satisfaction. This will ensure an increase in opportunity and help you grow towards excellence. It is very vital to retain your existing customers and attract new customers. Creating a retention plan, sending the right communications, instilling loyalty, empowering services and streamlining process are some of the components that can build long-term over-all profit.

3. Meeting your customer needs: All that a customer wants is to feel satisfied and appreciated with your products or services. It is necessary to give them what they pay for. Communicating with your customers, knowing what and why they are buying, tailoring your level of service to meet their needs and wooing them with greater service are some of the surefire ways to meet the customer needs.

4. Using customer feedback to build loyalty: It is a known fact that loyal customers keep coming back. A study by Gartner Group reveals that 20% of your existing customers generate 80% of the profits. Also, according to the Huffington Post, 7 of 10 companies who rely on customer feedback deliver outstanding customer experience.

It is essential to focus on collecting customer feedback and analyzing it regularly. Asking the right questions and enabling real-time feedback helps you understand what your potential customers are saying. These insights will help you take the necessary actions as soon as possible.

5. Gaining Referrals: As per mopinion, 84% of the global customers believe recommendations from family and friends as the source to receive trustworthy information about the products. Gaining referrals is a part of the sales strategy. Though it is the first stage of the sales process, it is the way to grow your business and increase sales.

6. Include value-added benefits for customers: This art of creating value helps acquire, and engage the members of an organization. They have the power to increase member retention, drive customer acquisition and build lasting loyalty. These extra services can make all the difference between winning and losing in the competition. When you offer discounts and help them save enough to offset the cost of doing business with you, you are making it even easier to attract and retain them.

Examples Of Customer-Driven Business.


Samsung has always been profoundly interested in investing in customer care and after-sales services and efforts. They are the most significant tech business by revenue and the seventh most valuable brand today. It is the most popular customer-driven brand for establishing itself as the ones to believe in understanding the customers and the market.

Samsung is more focused on customer-centric innovations and has ever been committed to provide meaningful innovations making everyday living better for customers.


Are Product-Driven Businesses More Innovative?

Yes, in many cases, product-driven organizations are more innovative and ready to take risks. As specific customers’ needs don’t hold them back, they venture out to explore how the product could be further improvised to make life easier for the customer. They can envision the “future” needs of customers and are ready with the solutions in the “present” times already.

On What Fundamental Principles A Product-Driven Organization Works?

The basic principles, on which a product-driven organization works is having a defined market and targeted audience, having an effective product business strategy, building the product management organization, including customers’ voice, telling the product story, having a community that could highlight the product, and finally embracing the unpredictable changes.

Product-Driven Vs. Customer-Driven, Which Is Good For Small Businesses?

Most entrepreneurs decide early on the model, on which their business would run. They opt from these two strategies and pave the organizational structure on the directed path.

But it is observed the small-sized businesses, looking to drive more sales have their product development approach to meeting the customers’ needs. If you are a start-up, it’s better to have your marketing strategies customer-driven to first establish yourself in the market firmly.

What Extra Do Customer-Driven Strategy Offer?

The customer-driven strategy revolves around the customer. Brands execute every plan and action only after they are convinced that it would fulfill customer’s needs. They carry out this plan by developing and nurturing the relationship with their customer.

Define In Simple Words, What Is Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy?

Customer-driven marketing strategy primarily focuses on the requirements of customers. In this strategy, organizations need to be highly flexible so that they can immediately change the product features, and others to exactly align with the requirements that the customer asks for.

Fundamentally, here businesses convey the message,” We are for the customers from the starting till end.”

Take Away:

There is no one form better than the other. If you are product-driven business, technologists, engineers or executives define the overall strategy. The sales or the marketing determines the means to take this forward. If you are customer-driven marketing, it’s the project manager or the CEO who would define the overall strategy.

Whether you are a product-driven or a customer-driven, employ business strategies in a way that will be beneficial to your company. Whatever your approach is, the customer is never bothered if you are a product driven or customer driven. What matters, in the end, is the satisfaction and the happiness of the customer that makes the company more sustainable and profitable.

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