Case Study #5:

“Can our customers help us with marketing ideas?”

The company’s new president had presided over the development of ambitious growth targets during his year with the company, but the company’s expensive marketing program wasn’t generating new leads. The sales and service teams had given him the impression the customers were supportive of the company; maybe happy customers would be willing to offer marketing ideas.

What we found out

Far from being supportive, the customers would have dropped this vendor for the competition if the software installation process weren’t so daunting. Of the twenty-eight customers interviewed, twenty-six didn’t have anything nice to say about this vendor! The heavy-handed president had come from another industry and didn’t understand how to work with this vertical market at all. In retrospect, it turns out the sales and service teams had sugar-coated their anecdotal reports of customer satisfaction to please the overbearing executive.

How business was affected

The founder/chairman hired a new president, and we were brought in for a second engagement a year later to re-interview the same twenty-eight customers. The findings: this president was a hit! Customers were very supportive of the change in leadership and the company’s new direction. Many offered marketing ideas to help this vendor grow sales now that there was a mutual sense of goodwill.

How revenue was affected

The customers knew what they were talking about. Relevant marketing ideas led to fresh leads which led to new sales. This company began down a growth path that attracted a buyer two years later.

This project’s objectives

Minimizing the revenue risk of ineffective marketing
Increase market penetration in existing markets


Vertical market software, $5 million in sales