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Users, Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business Hardcover – October 27, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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"The Industries of the Future"
Innovation expert Alec Ross explains what’s next for the world. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews

Review

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. -Publisher's Weekly

Users, Not Customers is so interesting and important... Mr. Shapiro has produced something of real value for marketers. - AdAge


Users Not Customers provides an insightful and pragmatic road map for transforming your company. It goes well beyond cataloging the expanding set of ways that digital can be applied to drive more innovative marketing, addressing the capabilities and cultural shifts that are required for success.-Matthew Egol, Partner, Booz & Company


Users Not Customers is a must read for anyone seeking to integrate digital experiences with their products and services. Shapiro presents a wonderful novel perspective on the evolving role of digital in business as a tool for interacting with the world. -Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School


A clear blueprint for success in our growing digital economy. Shapiro's research outlined in Users Not Customers will become the seminal work on digital transformation--a sink or swim exercise for most companies over the coming decade. -John C. Williamson, SVP, GM, Comcast.com


“A much-needed, incisive guide to creating a genuinely appealing digital presence.”

Publishers Weekly

 

Users, Not Customers is so interesting and important... Mr. Shapiro has produced something of real value for marketers.”

AdAge

 

Users Not Customers is a must read for anyone seeking to integrate digital experiences with their products and services. Shapiro presents a wonderful novel perspective on the evolving role of digital in business as a tool for interacting with the world.”

—Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

From the Inside Flap

If you still think "the customer is king," you're probably falling behind. Today's most powerful growth engine is users--people who interact with a company through digital media and technology even if they have never spent a dime. Become indispensable to users and the profits will follow.
     By next year, the Internet will drive the majority of all consumer purchases in the United States--a figure that will only grow as young people who have never lived without the Internet increase their spending power. The result: there's no longer such a thing as an offline business; every company must have an effective digital strategy to survive.
     As CEO of the digital marketing agency HUGE, Aaron Shapiro goes inside blue-chip companies to advise them on how to thrive in this new business reality. To explore the subject further, he led an extensive study of the Fortune 1000. He has found that the most successful companies focus on users first, and look at customers as just one subset of this immense and influential group. Look at Facebook and Google. They built their businesses before they even figured out what they were selling, let alone who their customers were.
     Shapiro argues that every business needs to stop obsessing about customers and start creating powerful user experiences. Rather than just trying to get people to buy stuff, the companies that truly excel home in on the user experience at every level:
  • They focus on their users' true needs: Mint.com made the easiest and most effective interface for controlling your personal finances, and once there, you can follow ads that let you improve your financial performance even more.
  • They make their technology disposable: Netflix took down Blockbuster by treating its subscribers as users, not customers. It continually changed and improved its technology to create the best possible experience instead of maximizing rental fees and late fees.
  • They market themselves in a way that truly inspires their users. Pepsi redirected its Super Bowl advertising budget to the "Pepsi Refresh Project," a nonprofit, grant-giving program that generated massive free publicity and goodwill.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (October 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591843863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843863
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aaron Shapiro is the CEO of Huge, a digital marketing agency that helps global companies reimagine how they interact with their customers and manage their business in the online economy. Prior to Huge, Shapiro was a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and management consultant. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a broad based Technologist by trade, it always surprises me when other professionals in my industries miss a huge paradigm shift. We are, after all, technologists. But sometimes we fail when we make subjective assessments about technology usefulness while ignoring the change it could make in the lives of its users.

I remember when Windows first came out and so many said it would never be allowed in their enterprise. It was wasteful with resources and the features weren't needed. The same people were saying that Local Area Networks were not needed as long as a floppy was available and a printer was close by. Then the internet came onto the scene and others like them could not see the value of email, or see what could justify the cost of getting good bandwidth (ISDN at the time) into their offices. Smartphone's were similarly dismissed as a young adult toy. I actually had a highly respected peer tell me after I purchased one of the very first Androids that the Google Android was a fluke and would die out soon. Now Android has taken over smartphone sales.

The sad thing about all of this is that many good people saw their careers fade into obscurity when they missed a technology curve. The pundits against windows were technologically obsolete when windows 3.1 came out and everyone adopted windows. A vast sea of top notch PC vendors who specialized in local support were relegated to commodity level vendors when Local Area Network houses started moving in and taking the high spot for local office technology support. Most of the executives that dismissed email and the Internet were no longer leading anything just a few years later. And smartphones, well that story tells itself.
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Format: Hardcover
Aaron Shapiro in "Users, Not Customers" offers an update on how to view our customers. Since the world - and it seems everything and everybody in it too - has gone digital, we need a refresh and new lens through which to view our customers. And here it is! This is a transformational view of the customer constituency, one that is non-partisan, meaning neither B2B nor B2C. It is universal, i.e., B2U. Shapiro's message is that, unless we incorporate all the various new 360º elements into our marketing perspective, we are missing out and will be on the way to obsolescence. It boils down to being a cultural issue. Customers, prospects and leads are still important but we can't be limited to these alone. We need to visit the total user experience and that now includes likes, fans, followers, contacts, influencers, favorites, page views, visitors, et al. Who is going on line? Where are they going and why? We need to think of everybody as "users" and make them happy so they will eventually become customers. And everybody does matter.Users, Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle edition and enjoyed reading it. Along with the new B Corporation [...] movement the author promotes serving users (stakeholders?) as well as customers primarily by advocating quality digital design in addition to the the businesses other forms like stores. The examples including JetBlue, Apple, American Express are mostly large businesses but Crutchfields in Charlottesville (one of my favorites)was mentioned as well. I would have also enjoyed some examples of universities, govt and some professional services focusing on users. This book is a good start on the subject of business design that will be a big part of business education in the future especially as the "Post Digitals" come on board.
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Users Not Customers is a fascinating exploration of what it takes for a business to succeed in the digital era. Shapiro provides numerous examples of companies who had the right digital strategy as well as cautionary tales of those that did not-- forming a comprehensive portrayal of what works and what doesn't. The book contains not only enlightening anecdotes but also actionable steps readers can take to ensure their businesses thrive online. On top of that, it's a great read. I highly recommend Users Not Customers to anyone looking to understand the digital space.
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Format: Kindle Edition
For those who are looking for new vision and guidance in the role of digital in their organization, the first chapters of this book are for you. The "how to" portion is a little less impactful, owing to the custom nature of everyone's solution, no doubt. Still, I would have appreciated more time spent in how to determine and develop one's strategy, as the examples that make up half the book are a little predictable and not easily translated to the challenges the reader is likely to face.

A worthwhile read, and a catalyst for rethinking every organization's view and valuation of customers versus users.
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Format: Hardcover
A unique point-of-view that I found to be quite refreshing. Turning the perspective toward the user experience really hit home. It highlights how the users are the true influencers in making your product/service the best. We all strive to meet the demands of our customers; yet listening to those key users who ultimately create perceptions and share insights with your customer base is invaluable to keeping a leg up on the competition. It's a must read and a keeper for the bookshelf.
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