Seth Godin is an author and marketing guru whose ideas on ethics in advertising has made large strides in the modern business landscape. Here is a recent blog entry of Seth’s that we found interesting:
Who is your customer?
Rule one:You can build a business on the foundation of great customer service.
Rule two:The only way to do great customer service is to treat different customers differently.
The question:Who is your customer?
It’s not obvious.
Zappo’s is a classic customer service company,and their customer is the person who buys the shoes.
Nike,on the other hand,doesn’t care very much at all about the people who buy the shoes,or even the retailers. They care about the athletes (often famous) that wear the shoes,sometimes for money. They name buildings after these athletes,court them,erect statues…
Columbia Records has no idea who buys their music and never has. On the other hand,they understand that their customer is the musician,and they have an entire department devoted to keeping that ‘customer’happy. (Their other customer was the program director at the radio station,but we know where that’s going…)
Many manufacturers have retailers as their customer. If Wal-Mart is happy,they’re happy.
Apple had just one customer. He passed away last year.
And some companies and politicians choose the media as their customer.
If you can only build one statue,who is it going to be a statue of?
So who would be the statue in front of TOPA? Who is our customer?
Is it the parents? No,they are the stakeholders,they provide the sculpting materials.
Is it the teachers? No,they work with parents to sculpt the materials.
Is it the founders? No,they are the designers and the dreamers.
Is it the administration? No,they provide the foundation on which the sculpture stands.
So then it must be the scholars right? No,they are the blueprint,but not the final statue.
The TOPA customer is the innovator,the scientist,the entrepreneur,the leader….the end product. Our TOPA statue is the young man or woman that steps on a university campus,knowing they can make a difference. They will take on leadership roles whenever the opportunity presents itself. They will be the one who sees the problems of the world and embraces them as a chance to make their mark,a chance to make the world better. That is the metaphorical statue in front of TOPA. We all get to play our part in building that statue. We know that at times school can be frustrating,life can get hard,little things can bog us down;but never,never take your eye off the statue. Always remember where we all came from,and where we are headed. Learn from the headaches and hardships,add them to the statue,because in the end,TOPA scholars will change the world. When that day comes,the statue will have built itself.