This chapter discusses the customer ecosystem and explains how to define whole solutions. The customer ecosystem is the collection of people and organizations that influence the decision-makers; provide information, products, or services related to the purchase decision; make the decision; or use the product or service.
A whole solution is the minimum set of products and services necessary for the target customer to completely satisfy his or her compelling reason to buy. Understanding the customer ecosystem is critical for defining whole solutions that satisfy the multiple stakeholders within most business-to-business (B2B) and many business-to-consumer (B2C) markets.
Who Is the Customer?
Ask the members of a company’s management team: who is the customer? This question is not as commonplace as one would think. In fact, different departments communicate with different people in the customer’s organization. This is certainly true for business-to-business markets, but it is often the case for consumer markets when products or services are sold to families, such as groceries, clothing, vacation destinations, and mobile telephone services.