Putting customers firmly on a pedestal is the mark of many successful companies. Understanding consumers, and building out products, services and offerings are valuable skills, and ones that can be hard to establish to begin with.

However, it's certainly a worthwhile practice. In fact, across the next 12 months or so, Forrester Research predicted that organisations that aren't meeting the needs of customers in the most progressive ways possible will get left behind their rivals.

The rise of the empowered consumer

Simply, consumers are able to be more diligent than ever before. The prevalence of tech that can be leveraged to learn the background of any given company long before making a purchase has shifted the balance of power.

Moreover, that mantra rings true at both the public level and in business to business transactions.

"Businesses have a lot at stake in 2016. Empowered customers are changing the market fundamentals for virtually every industry, forcing companies to reinvent their strategy and operations," explained Cliff Condon, chief research and product officer at Forrester Research.

Changeable strategy

So, what should companies do in an effort to take on board the words of Mr Condon? Well, it's a case of building the customer in to any strategic planning efforts. While changes can be made internally to improve processes at large, organisations that put the customer in the spotlight will likely prove most successful.

"We are approaching a fork in the road where companies can either make the hard changes to dramatically improve their chances to win in the market or preserve old models and defer transforming their operations at the risk of failure," concluded Mr Condon.

While there are many facets to a strategic plan, companies that can put the end users of their products, services and offerings in the centre of them all could be set for a positive 2016. After all, strategic decisions – no matter how small they may seem at the time – have the potential to impact the end consumer experience, so taking them lightly simply isn't an option.