If you ask employees at your news media company what they do, they will likely come back with a quick and concise answer – “I’m in news/advertising/digital/insert department here.”

While their answers may be accurate, they may also reveal a culture focused on what is happening inside your company instead of what is going on outside in your local market.

Don’t get me wrong, we should all have something meaningful to do. But if there is a disconnect between what we are doing and why we are doing it, the opportunity to change, evolve, and grow our value to customers becomes an afterthought. And we become less important to customers, which is never good.

Don’t we exist to not only satisfy, but delight our customers? If it weren’t for customers there would be no Monday mornings, budgets, or strategic plans.

Customers are why we exist and without them we have no future. While it is good to know what we do, it only becomes great when we understand why we are doing it.

It’s for customers.

Creating an “inside-out” culture is key to understanding customer needs and wants – and essential to anticipating and responding to changing market conditions. Being turned “inside out” doesn’t sound very pleasant, and it usually isn’t as many parts of the organisation are exposed to the harsh realities of the local market and customers for the first time.

But there should be no greater experience than being turned inside out – to know without a doubt how what we are doing creates value for customers.

An inside-out culture literally stalks customers. We think about customers from the moment we get out of bed in the morning until we lay our heads on our pillows at night. An inside-out culture dreams about how we can increase our value and importance to customers.

Every department and employee of the news media company benefits from being turned inside out. Whether in the newsroom, circulation, or advertising, our job is to understand customers and use that knowledge to deliver value that exceeds customer expectations. Because when we take care of customers, everything else takes care of itself.

There is no future in being “digital first” or “channel agnostic” if our news media company isn’t “customer first.” The journey to news media success begins and ends with customers.