I’d like to draw a distinction that I should have drawn before.  I had an interesting discussion in e-mail after my previous blog post on EA and Customer 2.0.  I suggested that Kai, our persona for Customer 2.0, learned how to write code and develop mashups in school, but she doesn’t need to use that skill because we would have to provide her with a beautiful experience…

That created an unintended perception in the mind of one reader: that only mashup artists and bloggers would qualify for my definition of Customer 2.0.  That is certainly not my intent.  My definition is not so narrow.

I do believe that Customer 2.0 is far more ‘internet literate’ than I was at the age of 20.  That said, she is not a geek.  On the contrary.  She is a digital native, and has no tolerance for poor quality services or navigational dead ends or any of the things we overlooked when HTML was cool. 

She will not decide where to put her hard-earned micro-transactions and ad-clicks on the basis of geekiness.  She will choose largely based on unique interests, self-defined identity, and membership in one or more communities. 

Therefore, while the early adopters, bloggers, and mashup artists who help to build the communities are clearly included in the definition of Customer 2.0, so are the men and women who use twitter to keep up with their friends, or write quick notes on other people’s Facebook pages.  They will listen to new music that their friends are listening to, and will visit restaurants and clubs that their extended community recommends. 

Customer 2.0 is motivated by community.  Mass marketing is not as effective, but word-of-mouth advertising is more effective than ever before.  Acquisition is difficult.  Retention is everything.  Brand matters.  Cool matters.  Trust matters.

Geekiness is OK, but not required.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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