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The Foundational 4 Ps for Consumer-Centricity

Zachary Fleming, GM, Digital Health
Zachary Fleming, GM, Digital Health

Zachary Fleming, GM, Digital Health

Most executives know that consumer-centricity should be a top priority in this new, digital world. However, when you ask how they plan to reach this nirvana, you will see strategies that range from building an app to creating robust marketing campaigns to implementing a new CRM tool. The reality is these are no longer enough: consumers are demanding more.

To compete in this new world, you must strive radically transforming your company around the consumer. The companies that do this best have built a strong foundation on the 4Ps: Path, Pool, Power, People.


The first P stands for Path. To connect with your consumer effectively, you need to invest in an ecosystem of pathways to pull and push data. This can be a portal, app, website, survey, event, etc. Even though many companies are heavily investing in apps ($106B spent on apps in 2018) and websites, they should not be the only path you invest in. To be successful in this endeavor, you should leverage three foundational strategies:

• Invest in digital first but don’t throw out traditional channels. Constantly leverage ROI to drive investment decisions per pathway. Do not be afraid to get creative and find new connections through existing events, contact center, etc.

• Pathways should be all about the connection and not just what the company needs. Leverage their preferences across multiple channels to create a personalized, omnichannel experience.

  Leaders must have an unwavering passion for doing what is best for the consumer. 

• Your path goal shouldn’t just be ‘build an app’ or ‘get # of likes,’ it should be an ecosystem that enables both pull & push communication. Where you need both, there are important distinctions in the investment strategy. Pull from ANYWHERE you can (e.g., webform) and do not let great be the enemy of the good of setting up these channels. The bulk of your capability and resources should go into your channels that you will need to push information through (e.g., customer portal). That way when you communicate with your consumer you have one voice but multiple ears.


The second P is Pool. Data may be boring to most but without a robust, well-structured pool of data, any sort of intelligent engagement impossible. In most cases, companies do not have access to all the data they need so it is smart to plan to invest in connecting with both internal and external sources.

Internal systems can include your HR systems, electronic health record, or employee portal. The complexity here is connecting your enterprise architecture to a single DB that will serve as the source of access to the data.

Unless you have an extremely robust engagement and data strategy, you will most likely need external sources from Experian or other providers to get personal data you would not naturally have access to. These 3rd party data sets are not cheap so knowing exactly what data you will and why you need it should be mapped in detail prior to shopping around.

The final piece is a DMP tool to bring all the data together into a consumer-centric data model. These can run up to $500K/ year but are necessary to keep the data clean as multiple sources are introduced to the pool so would recommend in the investment.


The third P is Power. Consumer data and engagement channels are the initial foundation but to create radical value, you will need to amp up your capabilities to harness both in new ways. For example, knowing that a consumer left a bad review on the app is good but having an automated service recovery journey triggered by the review is great. Knowing the data +having an engagement path must be in place first but consumer-centricity really becomes a powerful force when you incorporate both into powerful applications.

A few solution categories that can transform your consumer strategy are:

• AI-driven next best action
• Voice of the consumer
• Robot process automation
• Advanced analytics across channels
• Preconfigured consumer portals


The final P represents the vast amount of People that you will need to be successful. You will fail if you are just trying to add a consumer department to your company. The only way it works is if your company becomes consumer-centric from the inside-out. Out of the four Ps, this is the hardest to master. Where strategy will slightly differentiate per your size, industry, and a multitude of other factors, these three things hold true in most cases:

• For people to rally around the consumer, they first need access to the data. Building secure portals to the data is key to allow various departments to fully integrate this new capability across their current-state practice.

• Plan to hire for expertise. Where I am traditionally a proponent of leveraging current resources with advanced training, there are a number of new capabilities that will be required that cannot simply be taught in a few training sessions. For example, many people may think they can design, but there is a measurable difference between a UI developer and an application analyst.

• Top-down evangelism: Leaders must have an unwavering passion for doing what is best for the consumer. This will provide a clear direction for the organization and simplify the journey as distractions inevitably arise.

Now let the reimagination begin…

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