Spotlight On Reinvention – Rethinking Marketing

Spotlight On Reinvention
J&L Steel, Pittsburgh, May 1942

Spotlight On Reinvention


The article acknowledges a need for a customer-driven focus. In recognizing the indispensability of customers as inherent to company success, this article advocates a viable marketing approach for heightened profitability. Ex: Amazon paradigm & Stew Leonard’s introduced in Chapter 1 to support the reasonable inference of customer marketing focus likely facilitating company success.

The article also offers an insightful historical overview in its discussion to demonstrate how transitioning technological trends influence contemporary marketing standards for companies. For example, the discussion of IBM with its “service-oriented architecture,” illustrates this point. See p.3.

By tailoring standards to suit transitioning trends, and efficaciously harnessing energy with its assiduous marketing efforts, IBM becomes the paragon for sustainable customer satisfaction. See Id.

The recognition of “significant investment in analytics” to catalyze customer retention also aptly shows strategic marketing improvements. See Id.

Therefore, the article provides invaluable insight to instantiate how technology adapted accordingly toward a customer-driven marketing model generally fosters company success. Ultimately, by underscoring the significance of building long-term value as its principal theme, this article offers a perspicuous primer to reinforce successful marketing basics.


However, this article overgeneralizes the present marketing approach among companies to infer some need for reorganization without evidentiary support. The article’s conclusion—advocating a need for such reorganization—assumes some flagrant lack of customer-driven focus purportedly prevalent among companies. Its conclusion relies on the following unwarranted assumptions:

However, this article commits the following unwarranted assumptions:

  • Page 1, first paragraph—assumes greater than 50% of companies depend on mass media for impersonal transactions without any evidentiary support, e.g., no representative population sample. The word “most” assumes a majority or greater than 50%. Referencing the phrase “most companies” necessarily requires a representative national and/or global population sample to instantiate greater than 50% of all companies as supporting evidence.
  • 1, 2nd paragraph & sentence—Assumes without warrant that competition requires a shift from emphasizing individual products to long-term customer relationships.
  • 1, 3rd paragraph & sentence—Neglects the possibility of not needing to reinvent companies’ marketing departments. Perhaps companies already reflect a customer-driven focus. The article neglects this conclusion in its inference, assuming that such “reinvention” requires customers shifting their focus more toward customers, rather than brands.
  • Assumes without warrant that subordinating product & brand managers to customer managers necessarily enhances customer-focused functioning in a marketing strategy.
  • 1, 4th paragraph & sentence—Eliminates the possibility that such prescribed “organizational transformation” may preserve entrenched interests as to not need any “top-down” hierarchical structure for implementation. The invocation of “will” assumes omniscience of future events, thus neglecting a possibly different outcome. Thus, the sentence mistakes a sufficient and necessary condition by conflating a possibility with inevitability as to future outcomes.
  • Assumes without warrant that companies’ ability to interact directly with customers entails some paradigmatic shift, transformation, or reorganization from the present marketing approach. (pg. 2 Headline).
  • Assumes without warrant the present structure fails to value already cultivating customer relationships over building brands.
  • Assumes without warrant that competition requires a shift from an emphasis on individual products to long-term customer relationships (pg. 2, second full paragraph):
  • Conflates driving transactions with an over-value of products and brands, assuming inextricable links between the two separate though related concepts.
  • Assumes without warrant that companies adopted a focus on marketing products rather than cultivating customers.
  • Assumes without warrant that companies de-emphasize long-term customer relationships simply because they may value products & brands they create in driving transactions to maximize customer value.
  • Assumes the need for long-term customer relationships subordinating a value on products and brands rather than treating both aims with equal value.
  • Assumes without warrant that the focus on driving transactions fails to intrinsically emphasize maximizing customer lifetime value. The phrase “must shift focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value,” assumes that driving transactions might not constitute a subset of maximizing customer value without substantiation. Perhaps the two concepts relate to each other. The foregoing argument neglects this assumption.
  • Assumes without warrant chief customer officers (CCO) maintain an inherently deficient customer-driven system, asserting that “the CCO merely tries to make a conventional organization more customer-centric.” See p. 4, paragraph 3. The characterization of chief customer officers as a “poorly defined role” also lacks support.
  • Assumes managers fail to promote a customer-centric culture simply because their supposedly “counterproductive” product emphasis diverts attention from regularly engaging customers. See p. 4, paragraphs 5-6.
  • Assumes that greater than 50% of all firms “underutilize” knowledge as to putatively obstruct customer information from circulating throughout the organization. See “The article fails to supply a representative population sample.”
  • Again, the article assumes the traditional marketing department fails to employ automatically a customer-cultivating system in concluding that it “must be reconfigured.” See pg. 5, under “Reimagining the Marketing Department.”
  • Assumes the inexistence of any need for reconfiguration because it may already employ an ideally customer-oriented system. See
  • Assumes without warrant traditional marketing department can only become consumer-driven if reconfigured. See
  • Assumes without warrant the traditional marketing department fails to value “building customer relationships” over “pushing specific products.” See
  • Assumes without warrant the traditional marketing department must value “building customer relationships,” over “pushing specific products,” rather than perceiving them as possibly interconnected and of equal value. See
  • Assumes without warrant that clever engineering overshadows customer needs. See p. 6 under Research and development.
  • Assumes without warrant that “fatigue” allegedly suffered from a product that incorporates many features constitutes common knowledge—mistaking theory for fact— inferring “we know” this detail, as if proven true, yet without support. See
  • The verbatim statement, “For business schools to stay relevant in training customer managers, the curriculum needs to shift its emphasis from marketing products to cultivating customers,” assumes without warrant that business schools supposedly fail to integrate this principle as part of their pedagogical paradigm. See p. 6, under What Makes a Customer Manager?
  • Again, the article assumes companies merely “market products” exclusively from cultivating customers as their predominant focus. See p. 7, 1st sentence under A New Focus on Customer Metrics.
  • Again, the unwarranted assumption that customer profitability overshadows product profitability neglects an inter-related influence of equal value between both approaches. See p. 7, under A New Focus on Customer Metrics.
  • Also, assumes without evidence companies fail to already focus greater energy on customer profitability than product profitability. See
  • Article assumes without evidence companies pay greater attention to current sales than customer long-term value. See
  • Article assumes the inevitability of a potentially probable outcome, neglecting that future-oriented customer metrics might not become “routine” in financial reporting as to stop markets from “rewarding short-term earnings.” The use of “will” change rather than “may” restricts reasoning to exclude an alternative outcome. See p. 7, paragraph 2.
  • Article assumes companies pay greater attention to current market share than customer equity share without evidentiary support. Likewise, it assumes companies emphasize sales position over long-term competitiveness driven by customer profitability. See p. 7, paragraph 4.


This article remains most vulnerable to the criticism that it assumes companies ignore a purely customer-building stratagem. By inferring some “inevitable” transformation from an allegedly “product-focused” emphasis to “becoming fully customer-centric” this article neglects that companies may already follow the customer-building paradigm. Furthermore, this fallacious inference neglects the assumption that product-focus and customer-centric perspectives may coexist, without operating separately in some mutually exclusive controlled vacuum.

The article.

1 Comment
  1. Avatar of Michael Staib
    Michael Staib says

    Thank you, always, dearest Angie, for publishing my writings! Michael

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