Marketing: Customer Relationships

49 Results

 

Secrets to a Successful Social Media Strategy

Misiek Piskorski explores the secrets of successful social media tactics in his new book, A Social Strategy: How We Profit From Social Media. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Excerpt: ‘A Social Strategy’

An excerpt from A Social Strategy: How We Profit From Social Media by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Why Companies Should Compete for Your Privacy

Consumers are sometimes willing to trade personal data for lower prices. How should companies compete for that valuable information? A discussion with Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Andrés Hervás-Drane. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Busting Six Myths About Customer Loyalty Programs

Low-margin retailers argue they can't afford customer loyalty programs, but is that true? Rajiv Lal and Marcel Corstjens make the case that such programs are profit-enhancing differentiators. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Has Listening Become a Lost Art?

Summing Up: Managers may have ears, but do they use them? Jim Heskett's readers offer opinions on why listening might be a lost art. Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

A Smarter Way to Reduce Customer Defections

Companies can't afford to lose hard-won customers, but in truth some are more important to keep than others. Recent research by Sunil Gupta and Aurélie Lemmens explains how to find them. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Managing Churn to Maximize Profits

Customer defection or "churn" is a widespread phenomenon across a variety of industries. As customer acquisition costs continue to rise, managing customer churn has become critically important for the profitability of companies. This paper provides a novel method for determining which customers to target in order to maximize the profit of a retention campaign. The authors developed a binary classification method that uses a gain/loss matrix, which incorporates the gain of targeting and retaining the most valuable churners and the cost of incentives to the targeted customers. Results show that this approach leads to far more profitable retention campaigns than the traditional churn modeling approaches. In addition, the additional profits come at no cost for companies. The implementation of the retention campaign is unchanged, only the composition and size of the target group changes compared to traditional approaches. Read More

Competing with Privacy

Personal consumer information has become a valuable asset in the marketplace and an important element of firm strategy. While consumers are unable to control the disclosure practices of services that collect their personal information, they can decide which services to trust and how much information to provide. How do these choices shape competition? The analysis in this paper explains how firms engaging in disclosure choose to share the benefits with consumers by subsidizing them, and firms charging positive prices choose not to engage in disclosure. Competition is likely to increase the supply of both subsidized and no-disclosure services. Moreover, subsidized services have the potential to remain highly profitable under competition despite the fact that disclosure generates consumer disutility. Overall, these findings are particularly relevant to the business models of Internet firms. Findings also contribute to inform the regulatory debate on consumer privacy. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Understanding Customers

In these previous articles, professors discuss a range of topics about customers: why they are not always right; understanding their motivations; providing them dramatically enhanced services; and making things right when you don't meet their expectations. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Break Your Addiction to Service Heroes

In their new book, Uncommon Service, coauthors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss show it is possible for organizations to reduce costs while dramatically enhancing customer service. The key? Don't try to be good at everything. Interview and book excerpt from HBS Alumni Bulletin. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Lady Gaga

What goes into creating the world's largest pop star? Before her fame hit, Lady Gaga's manager faced decisions that could have derailed the performer's career. A new case by Associate Professor Anita Elberse examines the strategic marketing choices that instead created a global brand. Closed for comment; 28 Comments posted.

A New Model for Business: The Museum

Looking for a new model to think about business? Look no further than your local art museum, says Assistant Professor Ray Weaver. Some of the most profitable Web businesses and retailers such as Apple succeed by acting like museum curators: providing a very limited amount of choices at a time; offering a brief, engaging description of each choice; and classifying products honestly. Closed for comment; 47 Comments posted.

Customer Loyalty Programs That Work

Thanks to ever-improving technology, customer loyalty programs are proving extremely popular among retailers—but merchants are not getting all they should out of them. The reason? Professor José Alvarez says retailers need to see customers as partners, not transactions. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Empathy: The Brand Equity of Retail

Retailers can offer great product selection and value, but those who lack empathy for their customers are at risk of losing them, says professor Ananth Raman. Closed for comment; 15 Comments posted.

What Loyalty? High-End Customers are First to Flee

Companies offering top-drawer customer service might have a nasty surprise awaiting them when a new competitor comes to town. Their best customers might be the first to defect. Research by Harvard Business School's Ryan W. Buell, Dennis Campbell, and Frances X. Frei. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Casino Payoff: Hands-Off Management Works Best

Micromanagers beware: Research of casino hosts by Harvard Business School's Dennis Campbell and Francisco de Asís Martinez-Jerez and Rice's Marc Epstein makes the case that hands-off management can work to improve employee learning and decision making. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

How Do Incumbents Fare in the Face of Increased Service Competition?

Companies that compete by offering a high level of service are particularly vulnerable to lose customers—even longtime customers—when competitive entrants offer increased service levels, according to new research in the retail banking industry by Ryan W. Buell, Dennis Campbell, and Frances X. Frei, all of Harvard Business School. The good news for providers of high-touch service is that if they can sustain the service advantage over time, they could be rewarded with higher value customers. Read More

Is Groupon Good for Retailers?

For retailers offering deals through the wildly popular online start-up Groupon, does the one-day publicity compensate for the deep hit to profit margins? A new working paper, "To Groupon or Not to Groupon," sets out to help small businesses decide. Harvard Business School professor Benjamin G. Edelman discusses the paper's findings. Closed for comment; 59 Comments posted.

The Consumer Appeal of Underdog Branding

Research by HBS professor Anat Keinan and colleagues explains how and why a "brand biography" about hard luck and fierce determination can boost the power of products in industries as diverse as food and beverages, technology, airlines, and automobiles. Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

What Is Customer Opinion Good For?

Summing Up: Are customer wishes irrelevant when creating a new product? Jim Heskett's readers say it depends on the product, on market goals, and where you are in the development cycle. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens September 2.) Closed for comment; 73 Comments posted.

Yes, You Can Raise Prices in a Downturn

If you and your customers understand the value represented in your pricing, you can—and should—charge more for delivering more. An interview on "performance pricing" with researchers Frank Cespedes, Benson P. Shapiro, and Elliot Ross. Read More

The Outside-In Approach to Customer Service

Is your enterprise resilient or rigid? In this Q&A, HBS professor Ranjay Gulati, an expert on leadership, strategy, and organizational issues in firms, describes how companies can evolve through four levels to become more customer-centric. Plus: book excerpt from Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business. Read More

Customer Feedback Not on elBulli’s Menu

The world is beating a path to Chef Ferran Adriŕ's door at elBulli, but why? In professor Michael Norton's course, students learn about marketing from a business owner who says he doesn't care whether or not customers like his product. Read More

Social Network Marketing: What Works?

Purchase decisions are influenced differently in social networks than in the brick-and-mortar world, says Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta. The key: Marketers should tap into the networking aspect of sites such as Facebook. Read More

Do Friends Influence Purchases in a Social Network?

In spite of the cultural and social revolution in the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (and in South Korea, Cyworld), the business viability of these sites remains in question. While many sites are attempting to follow Google and generate revenues from advertising, will advertising be effective? If friends influence the purchases of a user in a social network, it could potentially be a significant source of revenue for the sites and their corporate sponsors. Using a unique data set from Cyworld, this study empirically assesses if friends indeed influence purchases. The answer: It depends. Findings are relevant for social networking sites and large advertisers. Read More

10 Reasons to Design a Better Corporate Culture

Organizations with strong, adaptive cultures enjoy labor cost advantages, great employee and customer loyalty, and a smoother on-ramp in leadership succession. A book excerpt from The Ownership Quotient: Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work for Unbeatable Competitive Advantage by HBS professors Jim Heskett and W. Earl Sasser and coauthor Joe Wheeler. Read More

How Much Can You Ask of Your Customers?

Think of IKEA and eBay. Some popular companies make it easy for customers to become "volunteers" in the organization's success, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. Is there a downside? Or will customer-fueled strategies provide competitive advantage in the future? Online forum now closed. Closed for comment; 28 Comments posted.

How Much Time Should CEOs Devote to Customers?

Every corporate mission statement pays lip service to respecting customer needs, but actual customer expertise is typically a mile wide and an inch deep, says Harvard Business School professor John Quelch. Here's why every CEO should spend at least 10 percent of his or her time thinking about, talking to, and steering the organization to the customer. Read More

Seven Tips for Managing Price Increases

Consumers get hit with the price-increase hammer every time they drive past a gas station. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch offers tips on how marketers can cope with inflation and consumer sticker shock. Read More

Connecting with Consumers Using Deep Metaphors

Consumer needs and desires are not entirely mysterious. In fact, marketers of successful brands regularly draw on a rich assortment of insights excavated from research into basic frames or orientations we have toward the world around us, according to HBS professor emeritus Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman, authors of Marketing Metaphoria. Here's a Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

The New Math of Customer Relationships

Harvard Business School professor emeritus James L. Heskett has spent much of his career exploring how satisfied employees and customers can drive lifelong profit. Heskett and his colleagues will soon introduce a new concept into the business management literature: customer and employee "owners." Read More

JetBlue’s Valentine’s Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman. Read More

Authenticity over Exaggeration: The New Rule in Advertising

Advertisers thought technology was their friend in identifying and creating new customers. Funny thing happened along the way, though: Now consumers are using the Internet to blunt traditional commercial messages. Time for companies to rethink their strategy, says HBS professor John A. Deighton. Read More

Digital Interactivity: Unanticipated Consequences for Markets, Marketing, and Consumers

For digital marketing practice and theory, the last decade has brought two related surprises: the rise of social media and the rise of search media. Marketing has struggled to find its place on these new communication pathways. Old paradigms have been slow to die. This paper reviews early beliefs about interactive marketing, then identifies 5 discrete roles for interactive technology in contemporary life and 5 ways that firms respond. It concludes that the new media are rewarding more participatory, more sincere, and less directive marketing styles than the old broadcast media rewarded. Read More

How to be a Customer

Sure, most marketing efforts aim to influence consumer behavior. But consumers can also market themselves to influence vendors, says Professor John Quelch. Want to get a little extra whipped cream from your neighborhood barista? Here are tips to become a valuable customer. Read More

Mattel: Getting a Toy Recall Right

Mattel has been criticized heavily for having to recall not once but twice in as many weeks 20 million toys manufactured in China. But Mattel also deserves praise for stepping up to its responsibilities as the leading brand in the toy industry. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch examines what Mattel did right. Read More

An Empirical Approach to Understanding Privacy Valuation

What do consumers value and why? Researchers on privacy remain stumped by a "privacy paradox." Consumers declare that they value privacy highly, yet do not take steps to guard it during transactions. At the same time, consumers feel unable to enact their preferences on privacy. Clearly, scholars need a more nuanced understanding of how consumers treat information privacy in complex situations. To test the hypothesis that there is a homo economicus behind privacy concerns, not just primal fear, Wathieu and Friedman conducted an experiment based on a real-world situation about the transmission of personal information in the context of car insurance. Their experiment was based on a previous case study about marketing processes that use membership databases of trusted associations (such as alumni associations) to channel targeted deals to members through a blend of direct mail and telemarketing. Read More

How Magazine Luiza Courts the Poor

Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza has developed an innovative strategy for selling to the poor, combining technology with great service that please both customers and employees. The question of how the company can grow without sacrificing the special qualities that have made it successful is at the heart of a case study developed by Harvard Business School professor Frances X. Frei. Read More

How Do You Value a “Free” Customer?

Sometimes a valuable customer may be the person who never buys a thing. In a new research paper, Professor Sunil Gupta discusses how to assess the profitability of a customer in a networked setting—a "free" customer who nevertheless influences your bottom line. Read More

What Customers Want from Your Products

Marketers should think less about market segments and more about the jobs customers want to do. A Harvard Business Review excerpt by HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen, Intuit’s Scott Cook, and Advertising Research Foundation’s Taddy Hall. Read More

Is Less Becoming More?

Americans these days have a lot more choices in products and services. But do consumers and suppliers suffer from choice overload? If so, what does this abundance mean for companies? Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

Loyalty: Don’t Give Away the Store

Loyalty programs are profitable—if used correctly. HBS Marketing professor Rajiv Lal discusses how grocery stores get it wrong. But you can get it right. Read More

Are Customer Loyalty Initiatives Worth the Investment?

What are the loyalty rules? Have managers been led too far afield with customer loyalty management programs? Closed for comment; 37 Comments posted.

Keeping Your Balance With Customers

Using the Balanced Scorecard approach, Robert S. Kaplan, of Harvard Business School, and David P. Norton analyze the four essentials of customer management: customer selection, acquisition, retention, and growth. Read More

Building a Better Buyer-Seller Relationship

How do you turn short-term transactions into long-term relationships? Harvard Business School professor Narakesari Narayandas finds answers in mature industrial markets. Read More

How Your Employees and Customers Drive a New Value Profit Chain

Thinking of your customers and employees as key creators of value can produce profitable results. Harvard Business School professors W. Earl Sasser and James L. Heskett discuss their new book, The Value Profit Chain. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

Want a Happy Customer? Coordinate Sales and Marketing

In today's hyper-competitive world, your sales and marketing functions must yoke together at every level—from the core central concepts of the strategy to the minute details of execution. Harvard Business School professor Benson Shapiro on creating the customer-centric team. Read More

Don’t Lose Money With Customers

Executives talk a good game about managing customer relationships. But then why do many companies persist in money-losing arrangements? Time to become proactive, says Harvard Business School professor Narakesari Narayandas.
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Let Customers Call the Shots

Opt-in advertising, interactive TV, group buying clubs—these are all examples of cutting-edge intermediaries that are changing the rules for both marketers and consumers. HBS professor Luc Wathieu and research associate Michael Zoglio explain what they mean for you. Read More