Is truly consumer-centric marketing policy possible in the modern world?

Osborne and Ballantyne, while skeptical of a modern firm’s capacity to practice authentic customer-centric marketing in favor of firm-centric, offer valuable insights on behaviors marketing managers must be wary of in order to validate this identity.

While there are many aspects of marketing whose strategies and practices can involve nearly all department of a large firm, it is believed by Osborne that four elements are majorly involved players:  the 4P’s marketing mix, market-based assets, relationship marketing, and customer equity.


Researchers believe, besides the 4ps, these other marketing frameworks are inherently firm-centric, preventing marketing managers to truly embrace meeting all conceivable needs of the customer in their full marketing approach.


One of the stronger points mentioned includes the requirement for managers who wish for their firms to incorporate customer-centric approach in all their day to day actions require internal marketing. In addition to Internal marketing efforts and the like, fostering a culture an identity with help from Human Resource managers can be the holistic team approach that catalyzes a company’s ability to focus on customer and stakeholder needs.  


With regards to Relationship marketing, the market can be a minefield depending on what key business relationship your firm or related firms may have. With regards to the fast pace nature of social media, a never-ending appetite for online content, and heightened sensitivities to nearly all social groups, relationships are very difficult to manage in today’s business world. One slip up can potentially lead to public relations nightmares, loss of profits and valuable strategic partnerships (possibly to competitors).


The Customer Equity framework mentioned is a more controversial way to establish customer-centric marketing. Although consumers may find identity and value by feeling represented by certain brands, the weak per dollar value by customer may fall flat depending on how exclusive and luxurious a customer the company targets their marketing towards.


While advances in technology have occurred and customer-centric marketing has risen in many unexpected ways, Osborne and Ballantyne certainly put forth worthwhile arguments that marketing managers can find a use for in campaign development.


Osborne, P. and Ballantyne, D. (2012). The paradigmatic pitfalls of customer-centric marketing. Marketing Theory, [online] 12(2), pp.155-172. Available at:


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