This is a false dichotomy. My previous blogs on service-dominant logic tried to make this point in a broad, theoretical way. This post will try to give a concrete illustration of those arguments.
Let's consider two identical products created by two brand-new companies. One company launches the product with a technical sales staff and a prevasive marketing campaign highlighting the core features and functionality of the product.
The second company hires a sales staff focused on value-based selling and conducts a targeted marketing campaign focused on how the product meets the core needs of target customer.
Which company's product is more likely to have long-term success in the market? The second company.
Why? Because customers buy more than the product when they are buying a product. Customers buy value, and that value is NOT inherent in the product. It comes through the customer-centric service, sales and marketing around the product.
The second company realized that their product could only have value when it solved a customer need, so they targeted those customers and proposed the value to them. Customers can then accept the value propostion by acquiring the product. That is customer-centricity, and that is the ONLY way products succeed in the marketplace. There is no way to separate the two.