What is more important: money or customers?

blood sport

We can classify business strategies in two main types:

Money first
– Goal: more money!
– Money is the only goal.
– Customers are evaluated by how much money they paid or might pay.
– New products are made to boost revenue.
– Advertising is a high priority.
– They make many different products because they focus only on revenue.
– Design is not respected.
– Most team members do not know customers and only follow anonymous stats.
– Not much empathy.
– Extreme example: Nissan under Carlos Ghosn.


Customers first
– Goal: more value for more customers!
– Money is a result.
– All customers are treated equally.
– New products are made to satisfy customer needs.
– Customer service is a high priority.
– They make similar products aiming to completely satisfy customers.
– Design is part of the culture.
– Most team members know customers, their needs, and their circumstances.
– More empathy.
– Extreme example: Apple under Steve Jobs.

Money first strategy might make more money quickly, but Customers first will always win in the long run. A company which aims to grow for a long period of time (which is every company I guess) should use Customers first strategy and allow it at least a decade to pick up speed.

Also it is an error to assume that companies and industries are clearly divided on strategies. Most companies and industries mix the two. It depends on the level of stress they are under. The less stress there is, it is natural that management uses Money first. However, companies should always try to return to Customers first strategy because that is the only option for substantial and sustainable growth.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 8 Nov 2019