This article is part of DBA, a series on Mashable about running a business that features insights from leaders in entrepreneurship, venture capital and management.

Over the past few years, we’ve heard it repeatedly: Focus on the customer. Solve customer problems. Create a dialogue with customers so you can give them what they want.

Forrester Principal Analyst Sheryl Pattek said it right: “Fail to help your firm adapt to increasingly powerful customers, and you risk more than near-term disruption — you risk your company’s long-term viability.”

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Why your company’s CMO might be its next CEO