Marketing Strategy

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The Big Upside of Customer Participation

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Encouraging customers to provide feedback and recommendations directly to a company engages them in valuable ways. Researchers looked at customers of a global bank who engaged in either positive word of mouth, or provided suggestions, or both. They found that customers who ranked high in participation tended to purchase more products and services. In other words, participation was more closely associated with customer spending than word of mouth was.

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The Untapped Opportunity of Visual Logos

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Research shows that corporate logos can have a significant positive effect on customer commitment to a brand: “separate visual symbols used as logos tend to be more effective than brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers,” write C. Whan Park (University of Southern California Marshall School of Business), Andreas B. Eisingerich (Imperial College Business School at Imperial College London) and Gratiana Pol (Marshall School of Business).

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Stories That Deliver Business Insights

Companies are gaining value from ethnography, the in-person study of how people actually use a product or service. Through its attention to the details of people’s lives, ethnography can be a powerful tool to help executives gain insights into their markets. Ethnographic stories can also be indispensable in helping executives rethink their assumptions about what customers care about and about overall strategic direction.

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Why Customer Participation Matters

These days, many businesses are focused on increasing customers’ positive word of mouth. But emphasizing customer participation — such as providing feedback or suggestions — may be a more important vehicle for generating valuable repeat business. As one COO said, “Levels of feedback is a way we identify our most profitable customers. Those that bother to write to us do care. And they do spend money with us.”

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The Power of a Good Logo

The authors’ research found that corporate logos that express a brand’s symbolic, functional or sensory benefits, have a significant positive effect on customer commitment to a brand — and thereby a significant impact on company performance in terms of revenues and profits. The research also indicated that separate visual symbols used as logos tend to be more effective than brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers.

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How to Identify the Best Customers for Your Business

It’s difficult to start a venture that gains traction with paying customers, but it’s even harder to grow beyond certain levels of sales. The original business model must deal with new products or markets. Early leadership behaviors are often no longer viable. Moreover, different customers come with different transaction costs for the seller. This article discusses the importance of customer selection and how intelligent opportunity management can help companies scale their selling initiatives.

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The Gap Between the Vision for Marketing and Reality

The growing number of chief marketing executives reflects the increasing importance companies attach to marketing. Yet the average tenure of a chief marketing officer (CMO) is three and a half years, well below that of the typical CEO. Both the prevalence of the CMO position and its precariousness give rise to the question,“Has marketing realized the vision to which its adherents have long aspired?” This article asks if that question is an important one — and where marketing goes from here.

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Are Many of Your Customers Unprofitable?

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In the new Summer 2011 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, marketing scholars V. Kumar and Denish Shah report some intriguing findings from a study they conducted linking certain types of marketing techniques -- those aimed at increasing customer lifetime value (CLV)  -- to stock price increases.

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How to Save Your Brand In the Face of Crisis

When bad things happen, companies need the right strategy for talking their way out of a mess and avoiding a calamitous pummeling of their corporate image. Choosing the best response can spell the difference between a brand’s survival — even enhancement — and its irreversible tarnishing.

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Do-It-Yourself Brand Creation

Strong brands are often seen as an important corporate asset. But what happens when user communities—connected by the Internet—start to create their own brands? That question was explored in an intriguing August 2008 working paper, “Costless Creation of Strong Brands by User Communities: Implications for Producer-Owned Brands.” The paper suggests that companies with traditional brands would be wise to pay attention to this emerging arena.

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