October 18, 2010

New Releases: An Excerpt from Voice-of-the-Customer Marketing

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:47 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

Ernan Roman didn't just fall off the marketing turnip wagon. Rather than just discussing the latest trends in marketing—in social media and elsewhere—he puts them in a larger context and provides you with performance indicators and benchmarks to measure your marketing efforts over time. And he has the experience to do so... As president of his own direct marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman has worked on marketing strategy with companies such as Microsoft, NBC Universal, Walt Disney, Reliant Energy, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.
Roman's latest book, Voice-of-the-Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay, was released today by McGraw-Hill, and while it won't necessarily leave you a warm and fuzzy feeling about the new wave of marketing and a desire to conquer the world, it will leave you with something that may be of more use to your company: real, proven strategies that you can implement to get your marketing to start bringing in money—rather than just spending it. It is a research, data and analysis-driven book, so you'll want to dig into it rather than just browse, but it's worth the effort to do so. Ernan was kind enough to provide an excerpt from the book's introduction that outlines the five steps of his strategy.


In recent years, there have been many customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives that have not listened well to the Voice of the Customer. As well intentioned as these initiatives have been, we must acknowledge that today’s customers do not feel like being “managed” (or, for that matter, manipulated).

Going forward, the premise of marketing and indeed the entire enterprise, must begin not with the idea of “managing” relationships—as we might “manage” a crisis or “manage” risk. Rather, we must begin with the vision of creating a community in which customers know their voice is being heard and acted on and in which they therefore look forward to engaging with us because they derive value from doing so.

We must acknowledge that today’s customers do not feel

like being “managed” (or, for that matter, manipulated).

The five steps that allow us to engage customers in this way are illustrated below. Notice that the first step, Voice of Customer, drives the subsequent four steps and that all five steps are interrelated.


This involves in-depth interviews with prospects, customers, and key stakeholders to understand how they expect the marketer to satisfy their needs for a high-value relationship that includes increasingly relevant offers, services, and communications.

By doing this, MSC Industrial Direct, a Fortune 1000 industrial supply company, was able to:

  • Avoid investing time and resources in a campaign to “win back” customers who had not really left at all, but instead had changed their buying patterns.
  • Develop competitively powerful strategies for strengthening relationships with high-value customers.
  • Identify significant opportunities to further drive incremental sales within the most critical customer segments.

This means engaging prospects and consumers to tell you exactly what they value and want from you... and what they don’t want from you.

By creating an opt-in relationship marketing program, software giant Microsoft experienced the following “unprecedented” results:

  • Opt-in rates that range between 45 to 95 percent
  • Response rates that are currently performing in the double digits
  • Revenue that is expected to continue being significantly greater than the revenue from the control population

This means creating an integrated, multichannel marketing program that engages and inspires your customer.

The Walt Disney Companies created such a program for its resort operations. As a result, Disney has achieved the following:

  • Grown the database by over 100 percent
  • Increased the number of targeted interactions by over 10 times
  • Expanded e-mail coverage by over 10 times

This means creating strategies or real-time engagement with your customers and prospects.

By doing this, Ford Motor Company not only took control of a public relations crisis but also generated the following:

  • 4.5 million YouTube views
  • 3.5 million Twitter impressions
  • 80,000 “hand raisers” who asked to be kept up to date on the U.S. launch of the Ford Fiesta (A staggering 97 percent of the hand raisers did not own a Ford vehicle.)

This means not pretending that customer service is something for operations to worry about.

By building this philosophy into its corporate culture, QVC experienced the following:

  • 20 percent reduction in complaints and/or queries from customers
  • 93 percent repurchase rate among the most satisfied customers.
These companies prove that the VOC-driven vision is attainable and drives remarkable increases in revenue. I believe we all should be striving to attain this level of excellence—no matter how “customer centric” we consider our organizations to be right now.

Excerpt from Voice of the Customer Marketing Copyright © 2011 by Ernan Roman Published by McGraw-Hill Books


If you'd like to delve into specifics of each step and read about them coming to life successfully in almost every industry, get yourself a copy of the book today.