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Keynote Speaker
Alex Genov: Speaking at the White Label World Expo USA

Alex Genov

Head of Customer Research - Zappos


FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER AS A PERSON

The talk will introduce a new way of thinking about how companies approach understanding their users, customers, consumers, fans, followers etc. – in short, understanding the people whose lives they affect. The new approach and mindset are applicable to companies of any size – from rebellious startups to established “captains of industry” type corporations.

The new research mindset introduced here challenges calcified assumptions about how we approach understanding customers. These assumptions are most vividly apparent in large companies whose bureaucratic structure developed through the years establishes silos and sharp boundaries between understanding people for sales and marketing purposes versus understanding people for product design and development purposes. Once we realize that the final object of our understanding are real people with real behaviors, emotions, motivations, goals, etc., we will recognize that our customer research has to have a common business objective and a coordinated and complementary sets of methods across the whole organization.

The talk will highlight a cross-functional, cross-silo research case study from Zappos – a company that was built and operates on challenging common wisdom and the status quo.

Practical takeaways:
- Understand the person, not the “shopper” or the “user”; UNDERSTANDING THE PERSON INVOLVES EMPLOYING COMPLEMENTARY QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS LIKE MARKET SEGMENTATION, SURVEYS, INTERVIEWS, TRANSACTIONAL DATA MINING, FIELD RESEARCH ETC. BY TRIANGULATING THE RESULTS OF THESE DIVERSE METHODS, THE ORGANIZATION WILL GET A HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR CUSTOMERS AS PEOPLE
- No organizational silos when it comes to customer understanding; WHEN IT COMES TO CUSTOMER RESEARCH CREATE A RESEARCH COUNCIL ACROSS THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL TRADITIONAL SILOS WHICH ARE CUSTOMER-FACING; THEN COORDINATE ALL STRATEGIC CUSTOMER RESEARCH AS A GROUP
- Use complementary research methods LIKE MARKET SEGMENTATION, SURVEYS, INTERVIEWS, TRANSACTIONAL DATA MINING, FIELD RESEARCH ETC.
- Inform the business as a whole
- Company culture matters – TRY TO FOSTER A COMPANY CULTURE OF COOPERATION VERSUS COMPETITION; ALSO FOSTER A CULTURE OF HUMILITY AND CUSTOMER EMPATHY

About Alex Genov

Alex is an experienced customer research professional who applies his Experimental Social Psychology background and his passion for research, design, and innovation to solving important customer and business problems. His professional goal is to help teams create remarkable products and services which make people's lives easier and more enjoyable.

Currently Alex is leading Customer Research for the Zappos Family of Companies. In previous positions, he was responsible for research and usability of the products and services for companies like TurboTax (Intuit), State Farm Insurance, and the Active Network. He has over 20 years of relevant experience – 5 years of academic research and over 15 years of customer research in the software industry. Alex received his PhD in Experimental Social Psychology from Clark University. His areas of research include: defining and measuring emotions, individual differences, usability, and consumer segmentation.