Greg Kihlström knows of what he speaks, and to who he speaks. That much is fully evident. Writing in the new book House of the Customer: A Blueprint for One-to-One, Customer-First, Employee-Driven Business Transformation, Kihlström states: “Although this book is aimed at helping marketing leaders and those tasked with creating customer-centric experiences, this is not a handbook on marketing basics. Instead, it is a blueprint of the tools, practices, and mindset needed to perform omnichannel personalized customer experiences well. Using the ideas and outlines in this book, you can create a strategy that matches your organization’s unique characteristics, consumer sets, existing processes, infrastructure, and business goals. All the building blocks are here, as is a framework to start stacking them up.


Every organization is different, so their ‘houses’ will look a little different. Nonetheless, they will still share fundamental design similarities, including what is used to construct them… If brands can no longer rely on third-party data as a source of information on their customers, they need a much stronger first-party data strategy. This means less (if any) reliance on third-party sources and a need to build a more robust customer data infrastructure. This may be easier for some types of companies than others. For instance, brands that have had direct customer relationships for years have already built their own first-party customer data sets and profiles. Other companies that have traditionally had their sales brokered through third parties are now needing to create their own customer data sets.”

He adds, “I used to say that utilizing agile practices is optional, but I’ve begun to change my mind. I can say now that agile is no longer optional. It has been easy to claim there are alternatives to agile, but time and time again, those alternatives have fallen short. Once only used by software engineering teams, IT departments, and other technology-centered groups, agile has made inroads in almost every area of business today. Despite this, many companies and teams are still reluctant to adopt agile practices or take steps to formalize the agile practices they already have.

Those that resist agile practices experience gaps in their ability to deliver transformative change initiatives or the improvements needed to keep businesses growing and competitive. In this section, I’m going to discuss why agility is no longer an option and how agile marketing organizations and businesses can better weather whatever storms are on the horizon.”


By making things so bell-clear and concise, Kihlström succeeds in what I presume he has set out to do. Provide an expert opinion, albeit one articulated in a house style available for the widest possible audience. “The companies that thrive have kept pace with change, even reinventing themselves when necessary,” he proclaims. “IBM, known for decades as a hardware business, turned into a software and consulting services company in the 1990s. Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a playing card company before transforming into one of the most successful video gaming companies.”

Garth Thomas