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The Customer Centricity Playbook

Implement a Winning Strategy Driven by Customer Lifetime Value

Peter Fader and Sarah Toms

How did global gaming company Electronic Arts go from being named “Worst Company in America” to clearing a billion dollars in profit?

They discovered a simple truth—and acted on it: Not all customers are the same, regardless of how they appear on the surface. The most successful companies, from Amazon to Best Buy, understand their best customers are their most valuable asset, and they tailor their acquisition, development, and retention efforts to those customers.

In The Customer Centricity Playbook, Wharton School professor Peter Fader and Wharton Interactive’s executive director Sarah Toms help you see your customers as individuals rather than a monolith, so you can stop wasting resources by chasing down product sales to each and every consumer.

Fader and Toms offer a 360-degree analysis of all the elements that support customer centricity within an organization. In this book, you will learn how to:

  • Develop a customer-centric strategy for your organization
  • Understand the right way to think about customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Finetune investments in customer acquisition, retention, and development tactics based on customer heterogeneity
  • Foster a culture that sustains customer centricity, and also understand the link between CLV and market valuation
  • Understand customer relationship management (CRM) systems, as they are a vital underpinning for all these areas through the valuable insights they provide

Fader’s first book, Customer Centricity, quickly became a go-to for readers interested in focusing on the right customers for strategic advantage. In this new book, Fader and Toms offer a true playbook for companies of all sizes that want to create and implement a winning strategy to acquire, develop, and retain customers for the greatest value.

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About the Authors

Peter Fader

Peter S. Fader is the Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015, Fader co-founded Zodiac, a predictive analytics firm that was acquired by Nike in 2018. More recently, he co-founded Theta Equity Partners, which focuses on customer-based corporate valuation. Fader is the author of Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage and coauthor with Sarah E. Toms of the book The Customer Centricity Playbook. He has been quoted or featured ... More

Sarah Toms

Sarah E. Toms is executive director and co-founder of Wharton Interactive. She is a demonstrated thought leader in the educational technology field, fueled by a passion to find and develop innovative ways to make every learning environment active, engaging, more meaningful, and learner-centered. Her drive to modernize, transform, and democratize education led Sarah and her team to co-invent simpl.world, an open source simulation framework. She has spent more than twenty years as a leader in th ... More


“A fantastic 360⁰ analysis of how companies become truly customer-centric, The Customer Centricity Playbook is required reading for anyone who seeks to understand customer lifetime value and its ability to grow organizations large and small. Through a collection of vivid, memorable stories, Peter Fader and Sarah Toms reveal how to uncover actionable insights to drive immediate value.”

—Neil Hoyne, Head of Customer Analytics and Chief Analytics Evangelist, Google

“Customer relationship management. Customer lifetime value. Customer centricity. So many business leaders think they understand their customers and believe they know what these phrases mean; yet, they struggle to achieve sustainable growth through their customer acquisition, retention, and development efforts. A must-read, The Customer Centricity Playbook, by Peter Fader and Sarah Toms, sets the record straight and gives executives tools to drive growth.”

—Aimee Johnson, Senior Vice President, Digital Customer Experience, Starbucks

“Fader and Toms lay out practical considerations to help overcome the natural barriers leaders face when attempting to sustain investments in improving products, services, and customer experience. The Customer Centricity Playbook offers fundamental insights to point organizations of any size in the right direction.”

—Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company, Inc., and coauthor, The Ultimate Question 2.0

“Required reading for leadership teams, as well as marketing and sales executives, Peter Fader and Sarah Toms’ new book is a true playbook on how to become customer-centric. Their guidance has the potential to transform your relationships with your customers and create long-lasting value.”

—Matthew Derella, Global Vice President, Revenue and Content Partnerships, Twitter

The Customer Centricity Playbook is a must-read guide for leaders intent on achieving growth through a focused, analytical approach. For those on the customer centricity journey, real progress takes patience, as well as a clear understanding of what it means to be customer-centric. In their new book, Peter Fader and Sarah Toms offer transformative insights that light the path for business leaders.”

—Susan Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer, SunTrust Banks

“If you struggle with customer engagement or are ready to better acquaint yourself with your customers, Peter Fader and Sarah Toms’ new book The Customer Centricity Playbook is a must-read.”

—Jacqueline Parkes, Chief Marketing Officer and EVP, Digital Studios, MTV, VH1 & Logo

“Peter Fader and Sarah Toms have a talent for translating the complexities of customer centricity into accessible and actionable insights.  With The Customer Centricity Playbook, they offer us a practical guide to establishing a customer-centric organization, essential reading for those who aspire to market leadership, regardless of industry.”

Joshua Kanter, Chief Marketing Officer, PetSmart

“I read The Customer Centricity Playbook by Peter Fader and Sarah Toms in a single sitting—so much value packed into about 100 pages. Everyone talks about ‘customer centricity,’ but this book is the first one I’ve read that takes the trouble to define the terms: customer centricity, expected lifetime customer value (ELCV), and what it means to be a ‘good customer.’ I recommend The Customer Centricity Playbook to anyone who has read my book The Membership Economy and who wants to understand, in a holistic and practical way, how to build deeper, more valuable relationships with the people they serve.”

Robbie Kellman Baxter, Consultant, Peninsula Strategies, and Author, The Membership Economy

“Mercifully light on technical business jargon [and] easily digestible. In addition, the authors don’t shy away from shattering conventional wisdom …. An authoritative introduction to customer-centric business strategies.”

—Kirkus Reviews


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