The Loyal Customer

Posted in Marketing by admin on the August 27th, 2007 |

Additional to customer satisfaction (see last article), deciding criteria for a stable customer retention are: strong brands, singularity, barriers for competitors and selected customer retentions programmes.

Strong brands
Long-term retention results from strong brands. They have got the following attributes:

  • Longevity (insusceptible to trend fluctuate)
  • Decision stability
  • Identification and orientation for the clients
  • High customer loyalty
  • Achievement of a price premium
  • Continuous appearance
  • Distinct positioning profile
  • Insusceptible to crises by dominating market position
  • Potential for brand expansion
  • Stronger position against the trade

Branding a new label only advertising does not suffice. Mainly the marking (name, emblem, packing) and the communication contribute to it. All points should be managed holisticly. Knowing and formulating the brand identity ist the basic for it. A brand team takes best a long-term responsibility for the brand. The clients ought to be involved emotionally. And last but not least innovation belongs to the branding.
Learning from successful brands is very helpful here. For example, how has Red Bull established although there are numerous nearly identic competing products being much more low priced. Also Red bull is a good example for the next point.

The Singularity
If something is singular there is no alternative. If there is no alternative nobody changes the product. No product change means customer retention.
Of course, the the products or services are not singular being perceived as singular by the clients. Red Bull is not singular at all. At least, there are five other energy drinks with nearly identic taste and ingredients. Having targeted fancy advertising Red Bull has created a singular positioning in the consuments’ brains. It is important to look for perceptible distinguishing features to the competition and to accentuate these features.

Barriers for Competitors
Also you can try building up barriers for the competition. Managing this target you indirectly involve the clients to your company. E.g. by rebate systems. Or with creative product ideas: Nescafé has launched a new espresso automat only accepting Nescafé products.

Customer Retention Programmes
Finally the cherry on the cake: customer retentions programmes. Having a manageable customer base address administration programmes are helpful. Having the birthday informations you can send a present. Be creative rewarding good customers. And do select. The main danger for the client clubs rentability is the equal treatment of each customer. There are profitable clients and clients looking for bargain buys. Treat the good clients better. Differentiation so called benefit segmentation is possible with computing and data mining software assistance. For that you nee an efficient data basis.

Author: Mag. Holger Sicking  

A good Retention

Posted in Marketing by admin on the August 20th, 2007 |

In a marketing mix, customer loyalty is of particular importance yet besides product quality and brand image. Its significance can increase depending on the market segment. E.g. in the gastronomy being a strongly competing market customer retention is of extreme importance. 
Also by reason that the customer are getting more price sensitive their loyalty becomes more and more important. The "hybride" client whose buying behaviour can barely be predicted is one development. Eating a no name pizza today tomorrow he will buy a BOSS suit.

Customer retention has always been an important topic for the marketing. For sure, the advantages of loyal clients are obvious. In the last years the concept had a renaissance because of the new term CRM (Customer Relationship Management). However, CRM comprises nearly every customer oriented activity from a complaint hotline to client cards and client clubs. Often CRM is only implementing new systems for data mining and client segmentation or operational systems like a complaint management. But the thing is: data mining systems or client clubs are not the basis. They are the cherry of the cake called client retention. A company like Porsche need no client club to tie up the customer to the brand.

Five Cornerstones
Customer retention is composed of five cornerstones with customer satisfaction as its basis.

The five cornerstones of customer retention; from the marketing newsletter of

Customer Satisfaction
Having dissatisfied customers I had to be monopolist to keep them.
Therefore, particular attention should be given to the satisfaction of the clients. That includes satisfaction with the product qualitiy and the satisfaction with the staff members (e.g. the consulting service). A blog about this topic has been published 31st July. It is about valid measurement of customer satisfaction. The signal question is: How likely is ist that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague (scale from 0 to 10)? Calculating the Net Promoter Score (relation betwen the promoters and the detractors) a classification number is evaluated. The number can be used as a controlling instrument during the client contact.

The further points strong brands, uniqueness, barriers, and CRM are to be illustrated nex week.


Author: Mag. Holger Sicking 

Advertising Control Today and Tomorow

Posted in Marketing by admin on the August 13th, 2007 |

Until a short time ago eyetracking (see last week’s blog) have been the state of the art. Meanwhile, the growing relevance of oline analysis results in new methods making the established procedure of eyetracking faste and more economic without losing validity. One of the new methods is called "Attention Tracking".

Attention Tracking
Background is the science-based insight that view movement at a monitor and to point at the viewed places agreed among each other in 90% of cases. Therefore, it is sufficient that the respondent’s pointed places are recorded and analyzed.
Every mouse klick at a place means to point at a place. Test persons get a so clled click training being "conditioned" to that procedure. After that, the probands test the advertising online. The clicks a recorded in realtime. 
Here an example for an attentiontracking evaluation of a print advertising:

Example for an attention tracking evaluation; from the's marketing-newsletter

Somebody could doubt whether this procedure can substitute eyetracking. Previous comparisons of the two methods show a high prognosis validity for both.

Comparison between the both methods; from the marketing-newsletter of

For sure, further scientific research will be necessary.But what we can say is that new methods like attention tracking have the potential to displace eyetracking. The advantages are obvious:

- more economic
- faster
- larger samples are possible
- more privacy for the probands
- less time and effort for the test persons (they can stay at home evaluating the advertisings on their pc).

There is no doubt that only behaviour observation does not suffice for valid opinions on the advertising affect. Behaviour observation should have a project’s percentage of 30% up to 40%. Accessorily, questions about associations, purchase intentions and recollection should be asked. ideally, in focus groups and depth intervies lower correlations can be discovered.

Author: Mag. Holger Sicking 

Drumming up Business

Posted in Marketing by admin on the August 7th, 2007 |

Sales promotion wants to influence consuments. The degree of influence and its tendency can be different. It varies from the brand’s publication to the impartment of a positive or striking image. The intention is to influence the consuments’ attitude and so (of long duration) to influence their behaviour. But has your sales promotion achieved its purpose?

Advertising Effects and Erotic Women
An "activated" viewer can take a sales message much more better than an "inactivated" one. He gets activated by intense pictures and colours. For this reason, you can see half-naked women at posters three times more than ten years ago. Sometimes, a picture draws off the attention to the sales message. For example funny advertising in the tv having awesome points but the following day nobody can remember the brand.The art of advertsising is a balancing act between strong attention and providing the sales message. Here is one operation method.

Previous controlling of the advertising effect enhances its efficiency avoiding spreading loss. Whether a design element is perceived by the consuments or not can be tested beforehand. In the past, there was a technical instrument (a helmet, so-called Eye Mark Recorder) recording the consument’s eye movements. Knowing where and how long a consument looks at an advertising you are able to size up the consument’s taking up of the sales message (e.g. company logo). A following qualitative interview shows what design elements the clients could remember, what gets their attention etc.. 

Experimentee with an eye mark recorder helmet, from the marketing newsletter of


The computer employment enables this operation method across a broad front and at affordable prices. The experimentees sit in front of a computer. Both eyes are calibrated by a laser being integrated in a monitor. Then, every eye movement is recorded on the computer in realtime.

Eye-tracking, analysis example 1; from the marketing-newsletter of

The experientnees’ glances are illustrated colouredly. The longer the view time the redder the area. You can see that the main attention is to the man’s face. The underlying message "News" is less noticed. The two marginal slogans are nearly not perceived.

Eye-tracking, analysis example 2; from the marketing-newsletter of 

The second example shows not much of cannibalization effects by the man’s face. The slogan is well noticed. However, the CHELLO- company logo is totally overlooked. By the way, not only the view’s densitiy but also its course is educible:

View course, marketing-newsletter of

The eyetracking’s strength is the wide range of application. The method can also be used for internet services. E.g. it is possible to test a website’s efficiency: Website areas to be tested can be determined. Mostly, the view’s percentage to the different areas is also evaluated. So, the attention power of banners can be identified.

Analysis of the view's percentage to the different areas, marketing-newsletter of

New products can also be tested cost-effectively by the same method. For example, a company creates four virtual design alternatives of a product. With the aid of eyetracking the experimentees valuate the alternatives. The alternative with the highest attention can be identified. Following interviews confirm the results.

Advantages and Disadvantages
With this method, a product, an advertising or a homepage can be pretested with a statistical validity. Enhancing the advertsising’s efficiency you spare yourself possible flops. Your products are valuated with the consument’s eye being much more objective than a pure questionnaire. The eyes don’t lie.
However, the use of an Eye Mark Recorder helmet is not really comfortable for an experimentee. The data’s analysis is complex and cost-intensive. Next week, we will report about a new method for the controlling of advertising effects. 

Author: Mag. Holger Sicking