The road to business success is rough. The business literature is crammed with descriptions of processes that would challenge the top executives while leading their companies to success. Commoditization, innovation, globalization, disruption, and others—we've heard it all. Simultaneously opportunities and threats, these processes can blur the leaders' visibility, making it hard to set and/or manage the right direction for their companies.

So what is to be done? How can leaders and their organizations see clearer through this foggy business environment? How can leaders find a solid ground amid this informational storm? The answer is relatively simple: deeper customer insight.

The first step in getting closer to the customer is to go beyond his needs and understand the mechanics of his problem-solving behavior.

Although its necessity has become more obvious in recent years, the quest for a higher degree of customer knowledge is not new. The past decade, for instance, has been characterized by advances materialized in concepts like "customer experience" and "customer status." Both concepts identify that in addition to the obvious customer's need, which can be addressed with a particular product or service, there are other complementary needs, which are also of high importance to the customer.

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