“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; maybe happy customers would be willing to offer marketing ideas.

Research findings

Far from being supportive, most customers were ready to drop this supplier and switch to a competitor if the integration process weren’t so daunting. Of the twenty-eight customers interviewed, twenty-six didn’t have anything nice to say about this supplier! The heavy-handed president had come from another industry and didn’t understand how to work with this vertical. In retrospect, it turns out the sales and service teams had sugar-coated their anecdotal reports of customer satisfaction to please the overbearing executive.

Company's response

The founder/chairman hired a new president and brought me back a year later to re-interview the same twenty-eight customers. The new president was a hit! Customers were very supportive of the change in leadership and new direction. Many offered marketing ideas to help the supplier grow sales now that they believed in the product and company.

Revenue impact

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 path that attracted a buyer two years later.
This project’s objectives
Minimize the revenue risk of ineffective marketing
Increase market penetration
Industry/Sector
Vertical market software, $5 million in sales
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