It’s not all that difficult to find a spark for innovation, but it is nearly impossible to sustain it successfully. The few Organisations that do share a singular factor: customer obsession. The term “obsession” signals a matchless level of focus, prioritization, and an intentionality that surpasses customer-centricity. It is a commitment to keep the customer at the center of everything.

If you’re going to inspire and sustain meaningful customer relationships, your innovations have to resonate, even as needs and demands change. The only way to do that effectively is by setting your customer as your true and steady north. That means actively and intentionally paying attention to the signals that people are sending and shaping company culture to create value.

Companies like Mailchimp has long been the poster child for customer obsession and, not surprisingly, celebrated as one of the most innovative companies in the world. It has disrupted markets, challenged the status quo, and created new value because its management has viewed the world through the eyes of customers from day one. This obsession is the starting point and truth teller for innovation, and it permeates every layer of the organization.

Nurture a Customer-Obsessed Culture

Customer obsession powers everything; so, as your customers have evolved over the years, so should your company’s culture of innovation. And as the Organisation grows, your team needs to keep its eyes fixed on its central source of inspiration. Attentive, regular adjustments should consistently influence how people listen, behave, and make decisions, what innovations make it to market, and how the brand shows up in the marketplace. Constantly adjust the culture of the company, and that one thing drives those changes: It is always about the customer.

Listen intentionally and aggressively to your Customers

Even if you have a clearly aligned focus on your customer, you must be persistent about acting on customer feedback. It is easy to take early customer research as an enduring fact instead of persisting with your listening and acting with agility as customer needs evolve. Persistent efforts to understand how you are performing for your customer yield tremendous results.

Build a unique brand around the Customer

From day one, listen to the people behind the businesses to understand what they need. Most small business owners are niche product or service experts, not marketing pros. Knowing that, build a a brand that not only celebrates its endeavors but also fills the need for tools and content that make the marketing piece simpler.

All brands begin with a single customer. Always aim to deliver through innovative marketing technologies. By infusing the customer throughout your creative and design cycles – testing, budgeting, brand building, and culture, you join the ranks of these powerful outliers. Customer obsession is about being so intimate with your customers that they define you. At the end of the day, this obsession is what gives you your true north and empowers you to challenge the status quo and innovate with a purpose bigger than yourself.