- IMD Business School
Sean Meehan - IMD Business School
Seán Meehan

Professor of Marketing and Management and Dean of Faculty

Seán Meehan is Professor of Marketing and Management and Dean of Faculty. He is an award-winning author on customer-centricity and how organizations can deploy customer-led strategies to deliver superior performance. He works with senior executives from companies across the globe to help them deliver strong results through a tireless focus on customer value creation.

Meehan’s work shows how businesses that believe putting customers interests ahead of those of all other stakeholders perform better for all stakeholders. While this might seem obvious, it is incredibly difficult for organizations to become truly customer-led, and even harder to maintain, as he shows in his 2021 book, The Customer Copernicus. The book’s insights won praise from former Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Danfoss President and CEO Kim Fausing and DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, among others.

This research provides a toolkit for how businesses can become and stay truly customer-led, particularly as they face the new challenges of the post-pandemic period. The key component is an outside-in approach that involves taking a lead from customers and pioneering on their behalf, rather than the prevailing inside-out belief systems of most organizations, who see things from their own perspectives and are driven by their own internal agendas and more immediate, proximate and accessible concerns.

Over two decades I have developed unique insights into customer-centricity and how difficult it is to do well. I can show companies how to achieve it and maintain it.

Meehan has applied this analysis to companies such as Amazon, Deliveroo, easyJet and Sky, which have all succeeded by putting the customer at the center of value creation, but also to Tesco, O2 and Wells Fargo, former customer-led successes that ended up losing their way.

He has co-authored two other important books on the subject: Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers by Delivering What Matters Most and Beyond the Familiar: Long Term Growth through Customer Focus and Innovation. The first of these was named Marketing Book of the Year by the American Marketing Association in 2005 after it challenged the widespread notion that companies succeed by small differentiations in their offering and showed that getting the basics right was far more important.

He has also been published in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Business Strategy Review, strategy+business, Marketing Research, Marketing Science Institute Reports, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

At IMD, Meehan has designed and delivered leadership development programs for companies such as Agricultural Bank of China, Air France-KLM, Caterpillar, COFRA, Geberit, Hilti, Julius Baer, Lindt & Sprüngli, MasterCard International, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, PWC, Sandvik, Schindler, Swiss Re, Telefonica, Toyota, and Vodafone.

He has also directed the IMD MBA program, IMD’s Chief Marketing Officer Roundtable, its flagship program Orchestrating Winning Performance, and its most senior leadership program Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives.

Meehan joined IMD in 1997, having previously worked with Deloitte where he was a Marketing Director and Arthur Andersen where he also worked in consulting and qualified as a Certified Public Accountant.

Selected publications
Leaders of the future will need to be socially aware, and entrepreneurial: Seán Meehan

IMD Business School's Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management and Dean of MBA Program, talks about the challenges plaguing the Indian society and the need to revisit the lessons o...

10 August 2018
Die Kunden verstehen lernen

Warum Konsumenten etwas kaufen, ist eine der wichtigsten Fragen für Unternehmen. Mit den neuen Medien gibt es erstmals Werkzeuge, um die Motive der Zielgruppe live zu analysieren. Eine Anleitung.¦W...

Marketing Branding Technology Management
1 February 2011
Simply better: Winning and keeping customers by delivering what matters most

In their relentless quest for differentiation, many companies have poured their energies into making their offerings distinctive from competitors. Yet, according to marketing experts Patrick Barwis...

Customer Centricity Marketing
26 August 2004
The customer puzzle

It's time for a fresh look: keep it simple and think inside the box.

Customer Centricity Marketing Branding
18 March 2005
Academic publications
Insight for Executives
 - IMD Business School
How to be Customer-Led