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The Network Is Your Customer

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

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Network Is Your Customer
    Book Description:

    "An incredibly useful and valuable guidebook to the new consumer economy. Buy it. Learn from it. Succeed with it."-Jeff Jarvis, author ofWhat 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. InThe 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 matchyourcustomers,yourbusiness, andyourobjectives-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.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16601-9
    Subjects: Marketing & Advertising, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. How to Read This Book
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. PART I: A New Model for Customers in the Digital Age

    • CHAPTER 1 The Customer Network Revolution
      (pp. 3-26)

      Look closely at a bee.

      You may see it flying from tree to bush, seeking the best nectar to drink. You may watch it gather pollen on the bristles of its hind legs. Or you may marvel as it secretes wax to build hexagonal cells in its hive. Observing the bee up close, you might mistake this industrious insect for a solitary hunter-gatherer, seeking food, building a shelter, acting alone.

      But look at the bigger picture, and you see a different story. This single bee is part of a vast, thriving colony of more than ten thousand bees: highly social...

    • CHAPTER 2 Network Science and Lessons for Business
      (pp. 27-50)

      Putting on a comedy show for a hundred people in a Manhattan club may require months of effort and organizing. But for Charlie Todd, producing an Improv Everywhere event requires only a clever idea, an email to his network, and a video uploaded to YouTube to reach millions of followers.

      In one such gambit, Todd sent an email to the list who had signed up at the comedian’s improv shows and his blog. The email invited recipients who were men to meet him in Central Park on a fall Saturday: he stipulated only that they be willing to take off...

  7. PART II: Five Strategies to Thrive with Customer Networks

    • CHAPTER 3 ACCESS: Be Faster, Be Easier, Be Everywhere, Be Always On
      (pp. 53-79)

      On the day of his inauguration as the forty-fourth American president, Barack Obama received a gift from the Secret Service: a specially encrypted BlackBerry. For weeks, behind closed doors and in the light of the press, the president-elect had been waging a battle with the national security and legal offices of the federal government. Obama was determined to hold onto his favorite digital device as he transitioned into the presidency. While aides complained of his obsession with keeping it, the president- elect complained to reporters, “They’re going to try to pry it out of my hands.”¹

      For Obama, the BlackBerry...

    • CHAPTER 4 ENGAGE: Become a Source of Valued Content
      (pp. 80-105)

      Mone was just the kind of young woman whom Japanese pundits decried as evidence of the death of reading; her generation seemed to spend all their time on cell phones, while book lovers of any kind were a vanishing breed. Mone was twenty-one, a college dropout and newlywed, when she went home from Tokyo to her parents’ house in the country for a visit. Melancholy and reflecting on her life, she began to while the hours composing a story of a girl not unlike herself, written in short screens of Japanese characters on her cell phone. Mone (the pseudonym she...

    • CHAPTER 5 CUSTOMIZE: Make Your Offering Adaptable to Your Customers’ Needs
      (pp. 106-132)

      I have seen the future of television, and it looks good. No longer will the flat screen in the living room, the most expansive screen in our increasingly multiscreen homes, be confined to showing cable and television broadcasts. In keeping with our networked lives, our TV, too, will be networked, allowing us to view our choice of digital media.

      Video from across the Web will appear in large-screen glory from sites like, ComedyCentral, and Movies from Netflix, television shows from, and music from sites including Pandora and will all stream live to the big screen. The...

    • CHAPTER 6 CONNECT: Become a Part of Your Customers’ Conversations
      (pp. 133-175)

      When U.S. Army soldier Jeff Taylor was considering the difficult decision of whether to reenlist for another tour of duty in Iraq, he discussed it with his wife, Sarah. She was back in their home in Fort Riley, Kansas, but could see Jeff in his room in Baghdad, thanks to an Internet connection and the video webcams connected to their laptop computers. Sarah would leave the video connection on much of the day, her own laptop propped on a coffee table so that Jeff could watch their infant daughter and young son. With grainy video streaming from Iraq, Sarah would...

    • CHAPTER 7 COLLABORATE: Involve Your Customers at Every Stage of Your Enterprise
      (pp. 176-218)

      Thomas Gensemer was watching his computer monitor carefully when Senator Barack Obama took to the stage in Springfield, Illinois, to announce his long-shot candidacy for the presidency of the United States. It had been only nine days since the Obama campaign had hired Gensemer and his partners at the small, new media company Blue State Digital to prepare for the launch of his candidacy. Those nine days had been spent furiously transforming Obama’s Web site into the digital platform for a new kind of voter participation in politics:

      Gensemer’s partners had tried to use the Internet four years before...

  8. PART III: Leadership and the Customer Network–Focused Organization

    • CHAPTER 8 Planning and Executing a Complete Customer Network Strategy
      (pp. 221-242)

      As we have seen, the five core strategies for customer networks—access, engage, customize, connect, and collaborate—can be used by companies and organizations of all kinds and sizes to build more fruitful relationships with customers and to drive such key business objectives as product differentiation, customer loyalty, sales efficiency, reduced costs, brand building, and innovation capacity.

      No two organizations will apply these strategies in precisely the same way. A midsize retail chain, a Fortune 100 financial services company, and a small technology start-up each have very different customers, they possess different organizational skills and strengths, and they have to...

    • CHAPTER 9 Creating the Customer Network–Focused Organization
      (pp. 243-276)

      The rise of customer networks is very recent. Yet we can already see how networks have begun to transform many aspects of organizations, from communications to innovation to strategic planning. The scope and impact of customer networks are not confined to any single department, though, as they reshape marketing, public affairs, engineering, sales, senior leadership, and more. What then are the implications of customer networks for the shape of organizations as a whole? And how will the organizations of the future change to adapt to them?

      At the end of the twentieth century, most thinking on how organizations should relate...

  9. Self-Assessment: How Networked Is Your Business?
    (pp. 277-282)
  10. How to Continue the Conversation Online
    (pp. 283-283)
  11. Cases and Examples by Industry
    (pp. 284-286)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 287-300)
  13. Index
    (pp. 301-312)