Customer Marketing Method: How to Implement & Profit from Customer Relationship Management

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9780756791827: Customer Marketing Method: How to Implement & Profit from Customer Relationship Management
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The hottest new area of marketing is Customer Relationship Mgmt. (CRM) -- the discipline of identifying, attracting, & retaining a company's most valuable customers. Drawing upon more than 10 years of testing, tryout, & implementation in hundreds of companies, CRM expert Jay Curry has written a clear, step-by-step guide to profiting from this exploding movement, with strategies that are aimed at the small & medium-sized business owners who need them most. The emphasis throughout the book is on practical steps to ''make it happen.'' Chapters: How to profit from CRM with customer marketing; How to implement CRM with customer marketing in your company or business unit; & Customer marketing & the Internet. Charts & tables.

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About the Author:

Jay Curry was born and bred in Armonk, New York. He received a B.A. degree at Bates College and a Master of Science degree at the Boston University School of Public Communications. As an independent consultant specializing in introducing and implementing "direct marketing" in companies without experience in that discipline, Jay Curry was often confronted with top managers who had limited knowledge of direct marketing or were skeptical about its benefits. In 1989 he formulated the basic concept of Customer Marketing to resolve this problem. In 1991 he co-founded MSP Associates, an Amsterdam-based consulting company that helps larger and international companies implement CRM, using Customer Marketing as a platform. MSP Associates has served such clients as Xerox, DHL, Kimberly-Clark, ING Bank, Philips, and a number of other European companies.

Also in 1991, Curry completed the manuscript for his book on Customer Marketing, which was subsequently published in a number of editions in the Netherlands, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Brazil. His English-language books were published by Kogan-Page in London under the titles Know Your Customers and Customer Marketing: How to Increase the Profitability of Your Customer Base.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1: "What Business Are You In?"

Has a consultant ever asked you this simple but profound question? If so, he may have been trying to appear wise and all-knowing.

But more likely he was trying to see if you are product oriented or market oriented.

If you answer the question "What business are you in?" in relation to your primary product or service with, for example,

"We sell shoes."

"We are accountants."

"We build houses."

then you probably are rather product oriented. And this can be dangerous.

As Theodore Levitt pointed out in "Marketing Myopia," his classic Harvard Business Review article published in 1960, the presidents of American railway companies in the early 1900s, if asked, would have answered the question like this:

"We are in the business of operating trains."

The result of this narrow, product-oriented thinking was that virtually every U.S. rail company went bankrupt or faced serious problems because they missed out on the rapid growth of the airlines and the development of a sophisticated highway system as a way to get things and people from place A to place B.

For the railroads, a better answer would have been

"We are in the transportation business."

Another example is IBM. Thomas Watson, Jr., son of the IBM founder, tells in his book, Father, Son & Co., how IBM almost missed out on the computer revolution in the early 1950s. Many IBM-ers -- including his forceful father -- would have answered the question this way:

"We are in the business of supplying punch card machinery."

The old-guard IBM-ers were making huge profits selling the machines that processed the cards carrying the famous "Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate" admonition. They simply refused to believe in the benefits of magnetic tape as a medium to store data and in computers to process that data. Watson Jr., hearing major customers such as Time, Inc. complain about the costs of storing and managing millions of punch cards, realized just in time that IBM's answer to the question should be

"We are in the business of data processing."

By exploiting and developing computer technology as a better, faster, and cheaper way to process data, IBM became one of the largest and most successful companies in the world. (They have had ups and downs since then, but at the end of the day, IBM listens to their customers. That's why they are a leader in e-commerce today.)

As these examples indicate, a market orientation is much healthier for you and your business in this fast-changing world.

But now the politically correct answer is

"We are in business to make customers, keep customers, and maximize customer profitability."

Business owners and managers have rediscovered the customer. And so should you -- if you haven't already.

Your company's revenues, profits, and market share -- and your salary -- come ultimately from only one source: your customers!

No matter what product or service you provide -- be it candy bars, computers, insurance, or temporary help -- customers are the heart of your business. When you get right down to it, the one single thing a company needs to be in business is a customer!

* You don't need money to be in business.

* You don't need to have an idea to be in business.

* You don't need a store, factory, or office location to be in business.

* You don't need personnel to be in business.

* You don't even need a product or service to be in business.

All these things help, of course. But without a customer, you're not in business.

If you have just one customer, you are in business.

If you have a lot of good customers, you have a successful business.

If your company is successful -- and I hope it is -- I'm willing to bet you have developed a solid base of good customers who do nice things like this:

* Buy more from you -- even if your prices are (somewhat) higher than the competition's.

Obviously, you can't gouge people and expect to get away with it. But think about that small grocery store or specialty clothing store where they know your name or the service is pleasant. Sure, you pay a bit more. But you keep coming back.

* Recommend you to colleagues, family, friends.

There's no better promotional message than a recommendation from a satisfied customer. People talk about their experiences with suppliers -- both good and bad. A recent study showed that Information Technology managers rate advice from colleagues as one of the most important sources of information for buying a system?and that more than 60% of IT managers give advice privately to colleagues outside their own organization!

Imagine -- the IT manager of Proctor & Gamble meets the IT manager of Unilever at a computer conference. They don't talk about soap. They talk about who's doing what to whom in the IT community -- and their experiences, good and bad, with suppliers.

While a good customer will generate a lot of business for you, a dissatisfied customer can hurt you badly. Who was it who said: "For every complaint there are 10 others who didn't make the effort to tell you of their dissatisfaction. And since every dissatisfied customer gripes to an average of 6 people, every complaint represents 60 people who are walking around with a negative image of your company."

* Make you the "standard" for the organization or family.
What could be better than having the boss at your customer site send out a memo to all employees: "All [name of your product or service] must be ordered from [name of your company]"! Good customers write memos like that.

* Try out your new products and help you make them better.
Good customers are usually willing to invest their time and effort to help you develop and improve your (new) products and services. In the case of software and sophisticated technology, customer involvement in research and development of new products can be worth millions of dollars or more in man-hours and expertise. And the beauty part is this: As customers become involved in your business, they tend to become better customers!

* Use your support, service, and other facilities.
Service, support, training, add-ons. These often highly profitable products and services are usually offered to customers with whom you have a good relationship.

Do you believe that getting, keeping, and maximizing the profitability of good customers is so essential for the continuity of your business?

Then you will probably want to know how customer pyramids can help you understand and manage your customers better than you now do.

Read all about them in the next chapter.

Copyright © 2000 by The Customer Marketing Institute BV

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