EMC2: Delivering Customer Centricity

Posted: 28 Feb 2012

See all articles by Thomas J. Steenburgh

Thomas J. Steenburgh

University of Virginia - Darden Graduate School of Business

Jill Avery

Harvard Business School

Date Written: May 2, 2011


This case introduces the concept of customer centricity and traces its development at EMC, the world's leading data storage hardware and information management software company. EMC's customers had historically relied on EMC salespeople to guide them through the complex, consultative buying process. However, with the rise of social media, prospective customers are getting more of the information they require earlier in the purchase process online. As they do so, their physical interactions with EMC salespeople are decreasing, while their digital interactions are increasing. Given the changing business environment, BJ Jenkins, senior vice president of Global Marketing, faces significant challenges as he tries to maintain EMC's culture of customer centricity. These include 1) translating EMC's platinum service levels, designed to appeal to the world's largest companies, to small businesses and B2C customers, 2) understanding how the replacement of physical interaction with digital interaction in the consultative selling process affects EMC's business, and 3) managing a VAR sales model that distances EMC from its customers.

Learning Objective: The case allows students to grapple with the strategic and tactical decisions that accompany sales management and customer management strategy in a B2B technology setting. It also allows them to understand the shifting landscape of social media and how it enables and constrains customer relationship management and the practice of customer centricity.

Suggested Citation

Steenburgh, Thomas J. and Avery, Jill J., EMC2: Delivering Customer Centricity (May 2, 2011). Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Case No. 511-124, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2012733

Thomas J. Steenburgh (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden Graduate School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jill J. Avery

Harvard Business School ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
6174958084 (Phone)

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