Aligning Market Insights & Trends to Customer Strategies & Priorities

Does Your Company Ever Grapple with how to answer the Following Questions related to the market you operate in and your customers?:

  1. What is the size of the potential pool of new customers and which are the best customers to acquire?

  2. Which customers are your most profitable and how do you get other customers to grow and become part of your top ( and most profitable) customer segment group?

  3. What is your current customer share of wallet (SOW) as compared to your competitors and what does driving small incremental increases in your customer SOW do to your overall revenue?

  4. What are the shifting attitudinal and behavior patterns of your customer market and how do you develop a strategy that ‘gets in front of’ these trends?

  5. What are the shifting customer demographics of your marketplace as well as the underlying shift in spending habits

  6. What are the changes in customer preferred marketing channels as well as trends that might impact customer loyalty strategy

Market Insights and Trends Drive Customer Strategy, Programs

Market Insights and Trends Drive Customer Strategy, Programs

 

The above charts illustrate why it is critically important to have clear and accurate insights into your new customer market potential/pool as well as the current customer base and their share of wallet.

The chart above (left side) details the trends for new customers by segment as compared to current customers.

The chart above (right side) illustrates which customers drive the current percentage of revenue in order to understand how customer priorities and strategy should be defined.

Critical Insights: Top Customer, Top Profitable Customers and Customer Share of Wallet vs. Competitors

Critical Insights: Top Customer, Top Profitable Customers and Customer Share of Wallet vs. Competitors

Market Spend Insights Can Be Transformational in term of goal setting

The above graphic illustrates how share of wallet changes drive bottom line revenue as well as converting customers into more loyal top customers.

Customer Attitudinal Trends Insights Are Critical to Customer Strategy

Customer Attitudinal Trends Insights Are Critical to Customer Strategy

Understanding your market & customer behavior insights is crucial to your company’s survival

The above graphic demonstrates a deep understanding in the shifting attitudinal and behavior patterns of the customer market

Customer Market Buying Power Insights are Crucial For Developing a Coherent Customer Strategy

Customer Market Buying Power Insights are Crucial For Developing a Coherent Customer Strategy

The above chart illustrates a company capability to understand shifting demographics as well as the underlining shift in spending habits per demographic group

Understanding Key Customer Behavior & Preferences is a Customer Strategy Imperrative

Understanding Key Customer Behavior & Preferences is a Customer Strategy Imperrative

The above chart illustrates a company capability to understand the changes in marketing channels as well as trends that might impact customer loyalty strategy

Customer Strategy: An Alignment of All Customer & Market Insights to Maximize Market Dominance & Profitability

Customer Strategy: An Alignment of All Customer & Market Insights to Maximize Market Dominance & Profitability

Once Customer and Market Insights are fully embraced, an Effective Customer Strategy can be developed that includes optimizing market channel selection, as well as contact and loyalty strategy program components

Blog Summary: In order to achieve the above insights, your company must develop and deploy the following strategic capabilities and delivery programs:

  1. Market sizing & trend insights

  2. Customer revenue and profitability insights analysis

  3. Customer share of wallet and competitor spend insights delivery capability

  4. Market trend & consumer attitudinal and behavior change longitudinal analysis

  5. 360° customer needs and preference cultivation that enables a personalized customer experience strategy and delivery (i.e. preference portal customer selection of preferred channels, content types, offer types, frequency of content delivery by content type.)

Below is a list of companies where I have helped develop these programs and are considered world-class in these practices:

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Capital One

  • Amazon

  • American Express

  • Kelloggs

Advertisements

Achieving Market Leadership by Effectively Managing Customer Loyalty and Advocacy

 

  • Do you know which of your customers is destroying your company and brand value via negative word-of-mouth comments?
  • Do you know which of your customers is on the verge on defecting from your company and brands to one of your competitors?
  • Do you know which of your customers is promoting your company and brands and generating positive company and brand value on your behalf?
  • Do you know which of your customers is as passionate about your company and brand as your CxOs and should be rewarded as such?

 

To find out the answer to these questions, read the rest of this informative blog article below.

Customer Loyalty & Advocacy

     Customer Loyalty & Advocacy

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

Your customer base is almost always represented by the above spectrum of customers. What varies from business to business is the percentage in each segment group. The more well managed your business, the more skewed to the right your customers tend to be. Therefore a business must develop strategies to migrate customers continually from the left to the right from segment group to segment group in increasing numbers. The rest of this blog is dedicated to sharing best practices on how to migrate more of your customers to the right of the spectrum.

Customer Loyalty and Advocacy Framework

    Customer Loyalty and Advocacy Framework

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

For any company to achieve world-class status, one must carefully map out a customer loyalty and advocacy framework including the following component steps from the chart above:

  1. Clearly articulated customer segment definitions based on customer satisfaction levels, in addition to customer buy/sell segment definitions (top independent seller, high volume digital seller, etc.)                                                     
  2. A clear customer segment strategy and detailed tactics on the customer treatment that should be employed for each customer satisfaction segment               
  3. Customer cross-segment best practices and processes to drive segment migrations from the far most left segment to the far most right segment (i.e. from dissenters to super advocates)
Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Framework Segments

   Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Framework Segments

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

The above customer loyalty & advocacy framework includes the following segments:

  • Customer Brand Dissenters or Malcontents – Very negative and detrimental to the company’s brand(s)
  • Customer Company Defectors – Very likely to defect to a competitor
  • Customer Neutral or Indifferent – Neither brand supporters or detractors of the company’s brand(s)
  • Customer Brand Supporters – Slightly positive about the company’s brand(s)
  • Customer Brand Advocates – Very positive and generating positive value to the company brand image
  • Customer Brand Super Advocates or Delighted Customers – Active promoters of the company’s brands, adding continuous & tremendous value to the company brand image

A formal social and company/brand listening and tracking program is a best practice on how to identify which of your customers exist in each of the above segments (see my previous blog entry on the topic of Social listening programs).

Customer Dissenters & Defectors

Customer Dissenters & Defectors

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

From this graphic above, we can see clearly that the strategy should be as follows:

  • Dissenters: Diffuse and redirect customer angst and anger and come to some sort of closure agreement on for the source of their angst/anger.
  • Defectors: Get the defectors to see the entire spectrum of value the company has to offer and get them back to the level of positive company engagement vs. disenfranchisement. Provide insights to how a more positive company relationship would reward them – loyalty programs and other rewards.

Unless the individuals in these segments are high value or high profitability customers, then you would want to minimize the financial rewards to these customer satisfaction segments.

In addition and based on my research and experience, you are wasting your marketing and sales $$ spend to these two segments as they are much more unlikely to respond to any marketing offers due to being so currently dissatisfied with the company and brands (think about it – why would they trust you and buy more of the same when their initial experiences were so terrible?). 

Customer Neutrals & Supporters

  Customer Neutrals & Supporters

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

From this graphic above, we can see clearly that the strategy should be as follows:

  • Neutrals: Develop strategies to more of these customers to a net positive relationship by communicating more frequently and effectively with this segment group. The path toward becoming a company/brand supporter should be clearly and frequently communicated to these customers so that they are encouraged to become ever more value to the company and its brands. This group is likely to be lukewarm to your sales and marketing efforts so expenditures here should be highly selective. 
  • Supporters: Develop these supporters into more loyal and more committed customers by developing brand ‘stickiness’ through company loyalty rewards, referral programs, by making it easy (discounts) to buy additional company brands or products, etc. The path toward becoming a company/brand advocate should be clearly and frequently communicated so that these customers become ever more value to the company and its brands. You should have formal programs in place that amplifies their support of your company and brands via social media, forums, etc. 

 

Customers in these segments should be offered tiered financial rewards to incentivize them to want to contribute at even higher levels to brand value and to remain even more loyal to the company and its brands.

Customer Advocates & Super Advocates

 Customer Advocates & Super Advocates

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

From this graphic above, we can see clearly that the strategy should be as follows:

 

  • Advocates: This group should be provided with an array of rewards and accolades for helping effectively spread the word about the company or value of the company’s brands, especially if the individual customer is of high value, profitability or influence. The path toward becoming a company/brand super-advocate should be clearly and frequently communicated to these customers so that they are encouraged to become ever more value to the company and its brands. You should have formal programs in place that amplifies their advocacy of your company and brands via social media, forums, etc. 
  • Super Advocates: This group should be provided with top tier rewards and accolades for helping effectively spread the word about the company or value of the company’s brands, especially if the individual customer is of high value, profitability or influence. You should have formal programs in place that, not only amplifies their super-advocacy of your company and brands via social media, forums, etc., but also provides significant rewards for helping increase your brand value (i.e. via a “brand ambassador” rewards program). 
Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Cross-Segment Best Practices

Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Cross-Segment Best Practices

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

The graphic above highlights just a few of the cross-segment customer loyalty & advocacy best practices I recommend that companies continually practice to migrate customers from the negative segments that hurt the company’s brand value (dissenters, defectors) to positive segments (advocates and super advocates) that adds incredible value to a company’s brand.

 

Here are the brands for which I am a Dissenter, Defector, Neutralist, Advocate and Super-Advocate for based on my own personal experience and opinions:

 

  • Companies and Brands for which I am an official dissenter:
Companies For Which I am Dissenter

Companies For Which I am a Dissenter

{Click on image above for a larger/clearer view}

Sears

Sears

Sears – I received abject customer service back in the late 1980’s and don’t want anything to do with the retailer ever again. I have tried to give them a second chance and continue to have an unsatisfactory experience.  I pledge to never set foot in a Sears store again.

Target

Target

Target – I interviewed for a senior management position at Target a several years ago was treated so poorly that even the HR manager at the time said the treatment of me was ‘questionable’. She then shared with me that she asked upper management “are we really trying to hire the best candidate here?” before she left the company.  I vowed to never shop in Target again and have held true to my word. 

Empire Carpet Today

Empire Carpet Today

Empire Carpet – We had several issues with our carpet installation and follow up customer service.  They are very disorganized, non-customer friendly and do not seem to keep with the volume of sales that they generate.  I will never use this company ever again. We steer people away from this company if asked.

2) Companies and Brands I am likely to Defect from or have defected from and tell everybody about why I am about to leave (or have left) these company & brands:

Companies for which I am a (potential) Defector

Companies for which I am a (potential) Defector

Bank of America

Bank of America

Bank of America – Closed many of the local branches where I live and the abundance of local branches was the reason I opened an account with BOA in the first place. The remaining branches are now crowded and not staffed adequately. This tells me they care more about the bottom line than customer satisfaction.

Marriott

Marriott

Marriott – In my opinion Marriott has lost its way. I used to be a Platinum member at Marriott for many years. Their properties since that time have become worn as compared to their competitors and they seem to not listen well to their customers. An example of this myopia is when they converted the Courtyards to the Bistro concept. Every customer I speak to was disappointed by this change but they went ahead and did it anyway (presumably to save $$ on operations costs).

Frigidaire/Electrolux

Frigidaire/Electrolux

Frigidaire/Electrolux – Our dehumidifier stopped working after only 1 year.  We have been trying to get a credit from them for six months with no end in sight.  The return process is the most customer unfriendly I have ever encountered with no possibility of human interaction. We have been without a dehumidifier for an entire year due to their poor customer service process.

3) Companies and Brands I am Neutral about and don’t really have much to say about them:

Companies For Which I Have Neutral Sentiment
Companies For Which I Have Have Neutral Sentiment

Samsung, Sony, Direct TV, Time Warner Cable, Panasonic, Cuisinart, Hunter Fans, Home Depot, Lowes, Macy’s, Sunoco, US Air, Delta, Tractor Supply, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Burger King, Chili’s, Pizzeria Uno, American Airlines, Holiday Inn and many more. This category contains the most number of brands due to the distribution across segment group being shaped like a bell curve

4) Companies and Brands I am an Advocate of and share positive stories with anybody who is willing to listen:

 

Companies For Which I am An Advocate
 Companies For Which I am An Advocate
American Express

American Express

American Express – I have worked with American Express as a consultant on several different strategic projects.  They are an extremely well run organization with some very smart people running the company. I have also been a Platinum card member for many years.  They provide excellent customer service and their fee structure is the only thing keeping me from being a super-advocate. I tell everyone I meet I consider American Express a world-class company.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

 

Southwest Airlines – Southwest is just a great airline and makes the flying experience pleasurable. They are almost always on-time, the employees are friendly (some even humorous) and they try to be reasonable to their customers at every turn. I used to hate Southwest and am now a Southwest lover/advocate.

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels – Did you guess what hotel I become more loyal to after minimizing my Marriott loyalty? Guess no further. Hilton has been on a roll creating new and invigorating hotels and I am now an advocate/loyalist and stay at Hilton Hotels whenever possible.

Dooney & Bourke

Dooney & Bourke

Dooney & Burke – Dooney & Bourke creates high quality, classic and trendy handbags and accessories that last over long periods of time even with heavy usage.  Styles and collections are priced to reflect the consistent durability and attractiveness of this brand. If something goes wrong with their products, they stand behind them through high quality customer service.

5) Companies and Brands I am a Super – Advocate of and go out of my way to tell everyone how wonderful my experience has been with dealing with these companies:

 

Companies For Which I am a Super Advocate

Companies For Which I am a Super-Advocate

 

Cox Automotive

  Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive – Cox Automotive has a great company culture consisting of many top automotive brands that includes Kelly Blue Book, Autotrader, Manheim, NextGear, DealSheild to name a few. The company is one of the best places I have ever worked and includes an employee first culture that they actually adhere to and practice. The company is run by a world-class CEO named Sandy Schwartz that has a great vision for the company’s future and is very visible in his support for the employee oriented culture.

Toyota

Toyota

Toyota  – My family has owned Toyota vehicles for many years.  Toyotas are extremely reliable automobiles. I have a Tundra with 132,000 miles on it and have had zero major issues with it. I have such an affinity with my Tundra I have a hard time thinking about trading it in for another vehicle even though it would most definitely be another Toyota.

Ritz Carlton

Ritz Carlton

Ritz-Carlton – I love staying at Ritz-Carlton since the experience each and every time is truly memorable. I also worked as a consultant for Ritz-Carlton to help design the perfect customer experience for guests.  Ritz Carlton’s goal is to create an experience to remember and smile about and they live up to this promise every time.

 

The amazing (or sad) part about my sentiment rankings of the above companies is that, despite spending millions ($$$) on analytic systems and databases, I am willing to bet that very few, if any, actually were knowledgeable about my sentiment toward their brands prior to my writing this article.

This relates directly to a previous blog entry I developed on why CRM (Customer Relationship Management based on historical analytic insights) is dead and a new CRRM model is now a best practice. In this article I point out how world-class companies now query their customers how they feel about the company and brands on a periodic basis. Like me, many customers would be more than willing to share their sentiment and how they are feeling towards the company and their associated brands. Bottom Line: Analytic models provide minimal understand of true customer sentiment when it is primarily focused on historical purchases, spend, etc.

The Importance of the Brand Value Chain (BVC) to Attaining Market Leadership

A High Performing Company with All Value Chain Links Strong (No Brand Value Links Broken or Sub-optimized):

Company Brand Value Chain
Company Brand Value Chain

How a Broken Value Chain Impacts Your Company

In order for your company to have a chance at being a market leader, it is important for it to have all links in the brand value chain attaining top effectiveness. Just one broken link in this brand value chain (BVC) can bring your whole company down and subject your company to the following risks:

1)      Loss of Market Share as compared to your competitors

2)      Inability to close sales

3)      Lack of marketing leads and inquiries

4)      Declining customer base over time including customer defection to the competition

What is the Brand Value Chain (BVC) you might ask?

The Brand Value Chain is defined as the effectiveness of the sum of all company functions delivered to your customers and the marketplace: Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Quality, Customer Service, Pricing, Warranties/Returns, Customer Relationship & Experience Quality, etc.

Brand Value Chain Defined
Brand Value Chain Defined

Therefore, when one link of the brand value chain is weak or about to break, the following rule regarding brand image almost always holds true:

Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule
Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule

Symptoms of a Broken Value Chain:

  1. Your sales team just can’t seem to close the deals. Potential broken value chain links: Poor customer service, product utility/quality, pricing.
  2. You have great products, pricing and customer service but nobody has heard of you. Likely broken value chain links: Poor marketing and/or sales operations.
  3. Your customer base keeps declining year-over-year: Likely broken value chain links: Poor customer service or eroding product quality or pricing.
  4. Your marketing generates a plethora of leads that are not closed or turned into sales deals: Likely broken value chain links: Sales operations and marketing-sales lead management procedures are non-existent or sub-optimized.

Examples Companies with Potential Broken Value Chains:

Every day we see examples of companies that seem to have everything going for them except one weak link in the brand value chain that brings the entire perceived brand value down. Some examples are as follows:

  • Comcast – great programming, great marketing/sales, great products, great technology & infrastructure but perceived bad customer service and pricing creates a negative impression of the company by many customers and prospects – their company’s Achilles heel.
  • Searsgreat products, good pricing, good in-store sales, etc. but is severely lacking in marketing and promotions including in-store and on-line customer experience design which tends to brings down the other great intra-company performers and has led to a decline in the customer base.
  • General Motorsgood pricing, promotions, dealer sales, etc. but perceived increased negative product quality due to the number of recent recalls has brought many questions regarding the GM brand. These questions about product quality could impact customer retention and acquisition in the longer-term.

How the Broken Value Chain Impacts Company Performance:

What all of these examples show is that a company must deliver great performances in every category to become a market leader. One broken link in the brand value chain is enough to reduce the company to a market laggard and risks them going out of business over time if not rectified.

The following chart illustrates how one broken brand value chain has the ability to bring down the entire company and risk its overall viability:

Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain
Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain

 

How to Identify & Rectify a Broken Value Chain:

What steps can you take to identify and then rectify a broken brand value chain (BBVC) you might ask? Here are some easy steps to take to first, identify and then rectify a broken value chain:

Proven Methods to Identify a Broken Value Chain (BVC):

 

  • Inter-departmental peer reviews – How well do our peer departments think we are performing?
  • External departmental & function benchmark reviews – how well are doing vs. market leading company’s similar function (e.g. sales to sales or marketing to marketing performance comparison)?
  • Customer external scorecard reviews – How well do our customers and prospects think we are performing?

 

 Methods to Rectify a broken value chain:

  1. Perform Six-Sigma process and effectiveness improvement reviews
  2. Invite customers to participate in focus groups and advisory councils to help identify ways to improve the department’s effectiveness (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.)
  3. Form Improvement “Tiger Teams” consisting of inter-departmental high performers to assist with increasing functional performance.
  4. Invite outside and leading consulting firms to help infuse a holistic set of industry best practices across and within company functions – marketing, sales, customer service, pricing, etc.
  5. Tie performance and variable rewards to customer rated scorecards where company employees only get paid bonuses when our customers rate us as high performing.
%d bloggers like this: