By Aaron Shapiro
Portfolio, $26.95, 240 pages

Aaron Shapiro’s Users, Not Customers is an in-depth look at the way the Internet has not only drastically changed the way companies interact with and reach their customers, but how this shift has changed consumer perceptions of their role as purchaser. From financial services to office furniture to satellite radio, Shapiro offers a framework that puts users at the center. He suggests that success in the digital age requires companies to focus on the experience for everyone who interacts with the company both offline and online, and not just those who complete a transaction.

“In one short generation, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how we buy things as well as how we interact with companies, do our jobs, and communicate with each other. Digital technology has quickly become so pervasive, that it’s rare for any personal or business interaction to begin anywhere else.”

Shapiro draws on extensive research conducted by his digital marketing agency, HUGE, of Fortune 1000 companies that have been consistently successful in their online initiatives. This research illustrates the key tenets of the user-first organization including both the elements necessary in the internal corporate structure, as well as the product benefits and external touchpoints that elevate the end-user experience beyond a simple purchase. Using a diverse range of real company and product examples as case studies, each chapter explores one section of the framework, concluding with a concise summary of key takeaways. Users, Not Customers is a valuable resource for both digital and traditional marketing professionals alike. It serves as a great primer in the user-first basics for those new to the online space, and provides a useful tool in a structured framework and mental model for those working to make their organizations more user-centric.

Reviewed by Alexandra Walford