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#23—Pete Fader: Becoming a Customer-Centric Business

#23—Pete Fader: Becoming a Customer-Centric Business

Pete Fader is the Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His expertise centers around the analysis of behavioral data to understand and forecast customer shopping and purchasing activities. He works with firms from a wide range of industries, including telecom, financial services, gaming/entertainment, retailing, and pharmaceuticals. He’s the author of Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage and co-authored The Customer Centricity Playbook with Sarah Toms.

Pete co-founded a predictive analytics firm (Zodiac) in 2015, which was sold to Nike in 2018. He then co-founded and continues to run Theta Equity Partners to commercialize his more recent work on “customer-based corporate valuation," a simple but powerful idea, that you can value any company by adding up the value of its individual customers.

He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching accomplishments. Among these achievements, he was named by Advertising Age as one of its inaugural “25 Marketing Technology Trailblazers” in 2017, and was the only academic on the list.

In this podcast he shares:

  • What customer lifetime value is, and why it should be the central driver of your strategy

  • A challenge to the idea that you should treat all customers equally well

  • The first set of steps you should take to begin becoming a truly customer-centric business


"Of the portfolio things we sell, here's the next thing that you should buy. That's not customer centricity. I mean, it can be if they love us, and they really do want to buy all of our things in sequence, but in a lot of cases, that's not the way it works. So it really is figuring out who are those valuable customers? And what are their broader wants and needs beyond just the stuff that we sell to them?"

-Pete Fader


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Introducing Pete Fader + The topic of today’s episode

2:05—If you really know me, you know that...

2:38—What is your definition of strategy?

3:21—What are you most known for?

4:37—Could you define customer centricity?

6:00—What's a company that models being customer-centric well?

9:15—How do you identify who the most valuable customers are?

15:05—Can B2B companies apply these principles as well?

17:57—What's something that you've changed your mind about?

19:05—What last thoughts do you want to leave us with?


Additional Resources:


LinkedIn: › peterfader

Faculty Page:

The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.