Customer centricity - The obvious opportunity

Julie Dorthea Bøge
PLAYBOOK - A Better collaboration is our gateway to success

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Eric Fulwiler Co-founder at We Are Rival

– If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.
(Marcus Tullius Cicero)

This is a universal truth in communication. It’s been known since the ancient Roman Empire, and why we keep forgetting it is a mystery. Start by asking yourself: Do I have a deep and differentiated understanding of my customers? And do I align all my efforts to solve my customer’s needs? 

If ”no”? Then we suggest that you read on.

– One obstacle that keeps especially banks and accountants from getting closer to their customers is legacy. Many larger, traditional banks and the accounting industry lack a deep and differentiated understanding of their audience, Eric Fulwiler states.

Eric Fulwiler is an entrepreneur who builds businesses through modern marketing, management, and innovation practices. Over the last 15 years, he has helped build some of the biggest brands in the world, from billion-dollar startups to Fortune 50 enterprises, and learned from some amazing people along the way. He spent 10 years in the agency world and was a first-15 employee and Managing director of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) for VaynerMedia. He was the Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for 11:FS, a global FinTech consultancy company that builds digital banking and insurance propositions from scratch for the world of today. Now Eric is the CEO and co-founder of We Are Rival, a growth consultancy company that builds challenger brands, strategies, and capabilities to disrupt categories.

Marketing is our point of departure – this is where we will seek perspective when we investigate how accountants and banks can optimize the knowledge of their customers – knowing who they are and their needs.

After all small businesses are what make the world go ’round’. We need to understand how the customers think in order to build stronger companies.

Legacy: The innovation blocker

If we want to get closer to the customer, we need to know why legacy is preventing innovation from happening. Eric explains it through the terms: “challengers”, meaning startups and innovative players, and “incumbents”, meaning offices holding legacy. 

– Economic opportunity is a race between challengers trying to get scale and incumbents trying to get innovation. It’s often much harder for incumbents to get innovation than it is for challengers to get scale, and it might be due to legacy, silos and bureaucracy, Eric says and continues:

– For us, at Rival, the interesting part is working with incumbents to create innovation and use the scale they already have to create value for the customers. The traditional providers might even have better opportunities to win in this space because they’ve got scale. If only, in many cases, they could get out of their own way to deliver true customer-centric innovation. Legacy and silos are both crucial elements as to why we don’t see fundamental innovation coming from the more established players in the financial industry.

Apart from the obvious blocker: legacy, it’s also a matter of seeing the customers on a holistic level, Eric explains.

Before you begin to think of vegan foods and spiritual meditation, we’ll clarify the term for you. Talking about a holistic manner means thinking of the customer as a whole – knowing their needs and wants.

– Customers don’t care about the individual elements of a solution - they care about what it does for them collectively. We are seeing more and more challenger businesses and brands that are speaking to the holistic need of the customers and not the independent providers or technologies. It’s about creating experiences for the customers and not single solutions, Eric explains and continues:

– If ERP data is the glue that holds the system of accountants, companies, and banks together, then a deep and differentiated understanding is the ingredient that will improve, optimize, and scale the system and ultimately create stronger businesses.