Monday, October 19, 2009

Building Ferociously Loyal Customers

A bicycle store that offers an exchange on the original full purchase for as long as you own the bicycle.

An on-line photo sharing service that (has never raised their annual fee since its inception and) gives long-time customers an unsolicited 15% discount just for sticking around.

An airline that makes a point to greet every gold mileage plan passenger by name once they are seated just to make sure they’re settled-in OK.

These are just three examples I have experienced in the past week of companies going out of their way to build customer loyalty. What are you doing, beyond price, to build ferociously loyal customers? Or outside of retail-- to build ferociously loyal distribution partners, subscribers, patients, even citizens?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Where Are You Looking to Grow?

Diversification? Strengthening your core offering? Divestitures? What strategies are you seeing, or if you lead an organization, what steps are you taking to grow your top line?

Coming out of the recession, the pundits are talking about an alphabet soup of recoveries including “U”, “W”, and even “L.” Regardless of the recovery’s form, what I’m interested in discovering are examples that move beyond belt tightening to drive revenue and profits.

What’s a better revenue growth strategy: fees for checking your bag at the airport, in-flight internet access or an in-flight masseuse in the galley? What about the decision to only sell the iPhone on AT&T’s network? Or repatriating off-shore call centers as a “differentiator?”

Friday, September 18, 2009

Manifesto for Smart Growth

So here's what's sparking this discussion: while the economy is showing signs of life, most of us are not expecting double digit growth in revenues or funding sources anytime soon. Beyond this, something deeper has changed. Operating norms of the past decade have been swept away in the financial crisis that erupted last fall. What's emerged is a renewed expectation of prudence, performance and accountability. In this climate it is not only harder to play as less money comes in the door but the rules have changed as well.

Economic pressures accelerate change. What types of pressure does your organization face? Examples around us include consolidation (auto, banking), new vs. old business models (media), new competition via expansion (some big box retailers getting even bigger) or competition via new entrants (on-line replacing brick-and-mortar).

What is your organization experiencing? Are you focused on short term survival – cash flow management, expense reductions? Can you look ahead towards growth, if so, how? If you were the CEO (or if you are the CEO) what do you do?