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Customer centric not product driven Excellence in marketing as growth driver in Royal DSM


DSM, Poststraat 1, 6135 KR, Sittard, The Netherlands


The Netherlands Institute for Marketing recently awarded Royal DSM the 2013 NIMA Marketing Company Award. It is notable that a B2B organization such as DSM wins a marketing award over B2C heavy weights such as KLM and Bol.com to name but a few participants. This win has a twofold signification. First, it recognizes DSM successful transformation from a product-driven to a market driven, customer-centric organization. On a more general level, it signals the sea change of the chemical industry business environment in the times of globalization. The 20th century mentality “build the product sell the product” is passé. Companies must listen intently to their customers in order to stop pushing product and start delivering solutions.


Royal DSM has its roots in the Dutch State Mine Enterprises, established in 1902. During more than one century DSM has known profound changes that saw the company migrating from a coal mining company to an oil based commodity petrochemicals producer, to speciality chemicals and as of late evolving into a modern, materials and life sciences company. Figure 1 shows the evolution of DSM logo at various points in time. As times changed so did DSM readapt its core technological competencies from mechanical engineering to chemical engineering to polymer technology and finally to fine chemicals, material science and biotechnology. Indeed our history shows that successful change management is one of DSM strengths.

We recognized that merely launching new products and services is increasingly a short-lived competitive advantage in a world of free movement of capital, goods, and information. This is why we decided to broaden our focus from product push to market pull. We believe that by interacting closely with our customers DSM can gain an important competitive advantage by providing customized solutions to their continuously evolving needs. B ...