Customer Behavior

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Do-it-yourself brand creation

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What if user communities create their own brands?  That question is explored in an intriguing recent working paper by Johann Füller and Eric von Hippel, an open innovation expert at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Linking Customer Loyalty to Growth

In recent years, researchers have created a number of metrics to explain the connections between customer behavior and growth. But under the harsh reality of the marketplace, these efforts have generated more smoke than heat. Nevertheless, managers continue to search for insight into how customers feel – and how they will behave.

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How to Profit From a Better Virtual Customer Environment

The benefits of engaging customers in product development, product support and related activities are increasingly visible. Having the right technology-based system can enhance the customer experience and help companies improve both their innovation and customer relationship management capabilities.

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Finding the Right Job For Your Product

Most companies segment their markets by customer demographics or product characteristics and differentiate their offerings by adding features and functions. But the consumer has a different view of the marketplace. He simply has a job to be done and is seeking to “hire” the best product or service to do it. Marketers must adopt that perspective.

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Rethinking Consumer Boycotts

Last September, executives from Arla Foods amba, the Danish dairy giant, probably paid scant attention to a series of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten. Six months later, they learned a hard lesson about religion and commerce.

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Predicting Customer Choices

Vanishing mass markets, the proliferation of products and services and new technologies are requiring many companies to redefine their beloved core business doctrine: “Give customers what they want.

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Managing Corrosive Customers

A restaurant patron berates a waiter for delivering the wrong entrée. A traveler cuts in line at an airline ticket counter and demands immediate service. A manager refuses to gather the documentation an outside consultant needs to provide services. As these examples suggest, the obnoxious customer has many faces.

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Confronting Low-End Competition

Every company lives in fear of competitors that offer seemingly similar products for much lower prices. Dealing with such discounters is no simple matter, as Hewlett-Packard, May Department Stores, Salomon Brothers and others have discovered. Nevertheless, various strategies — ignoring or blocking the competitor, strengthening your value proposition or even strategic retreat — can help slow or even stop the low-end competitor without destroying the industry’s profit margins.

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Smart Pricing

The past decade has seen a virtual explosion of information about customers and their preferences. Many companies have the ability to gauge customers’ willingness to pay for their products and can determine with some accuracy the effect of price changes on sales volumes.

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In Praise of Honest Pricing

Companies should spend less time trying to fool customers with hidden charges and devote more effort to competing on differences that really matter, say the authors. Imaginative managers may want to consider how a move toward honest pricing in their industry — such as unit pricing at supermarkets and the U.S. government”s Energy Star program — could help sell more and better products to a loyal customer base.

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