What is the Copernican Shift?

Nicolaus Copernicus, Astronomer (1473-1543)

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), was the first astronomer to formulate the theory that the Earth was one of several planets revolving around the Sun. Before that declaration, it was believed that the Earth – not the Sun – was the center of the universe. This defining epiphany, now referred to as The Copernican Shift or Copernican Revolution, began the Scientific Revolution and radically impacted beliefs in science, astronomy, and even religion.

Many believe marketing is going through a shift of its own. From a historical perspective, we as marketers and advertisers have long held a brand or product centric view of the world. But with minute by minute innovations in technology and marketing, and customers (business and consumers) being bombarded with digital experiences and messages, our customers are truly in the driver’s seat. Now, more than ever before, customers have the power to choose which brands or products and services they want to engage with, and to share their insights and perspectives with the world – both negative and positive.

Customers are using their pcs, tablets and mobile devices to research products and services with incredible precision. They can get answers to questions like: What is it? How is it made? What is the quality? Where can I get it? What’s the price? Is it relevant to me? What do friends, peers and experts think about it? They gather information, they evaluate that information, and then they decide how they want to engage.

And customers today don’t want marketing mumbo jumbo, they want to be talked to as real human beings – they want authentic information. Successful marketers will understand this and take an active role in the research stage of a customer’s journey. Understanding what customers are looking for, and being where they are looking, when they are looking, with the information they are looking for, is a critical competitive advantage and the only way to succeed in this fast-twitch world of marketing.

While we are at the beginning of this revolution, it’s exciting to see how the passion, inspiration and ingenuity of bright minds around the world is impacting how we engage with customers every day.

Grad Conn is the CMO Lead for the Microsoft U.S. Central Marketing Organization. Conn is responsible for running the marketing department for the $14B Microsoft U.S. commercial business. His team includes the disciplines of Integrated Marketing, Marketing Innovation, Marketing Operations, and Reporting & Predictive Analytics.

Conn has been at Microsoft for seven years, starting his career in the Microsoft Research organization where he was responsible for the launch of Microsoft HealthVault – Microsoft’s first cloud launch and the world’s first cloud Personal Health Record (PHR).

Prior to joining Microsoft, Conn led five start-ups as either CEO or CMO, including OpenCola Inc., which was named by Fortune magazine as one of the 25 coolest technology companies of 2001, and SiteShuffle Inc., which was declared The Next Big Web Thing at ETech 2006. Conn began his career as a marketing executive at Procter & Gamble where he spent nine years as a packaged goods marketer on brands like Tide, Downy, and Mr. Clean.

Twitter: @gradconn