Building Customer Communities in a Networked World

How Customers and Companies Are Doing Together What They Can’t Do Alone

MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS AGO, McKinsey consultants Tom Peters and Bob Waterman began urging companies to “get close to customers” as part of a firm project to identify and spread best corporate organizational practices among its clients. It later became a separate chapter title in their blockbuster book In Search of Excellence.1 But how many companies have actually achieved that ideal? Although firms sink buckets full of cash into understanding customers better, improving relationships with them, and, more recently, turning them into “promoters,” their goal of doing so simply to get customers to buy more stuff has been, ...

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