Contrarian Marketing Bill of Rights

Picture of Contrarian Marketing

The Contrarian Marketing ‘Bill of Rights’ introduces several, key marketing concepts.  This “Bill of Rights” will keep you focused on the key concepts of effective contrarian marketing.

As a renown MBA-level Professor of Marketing states, “It is easier to get current customers to do more, than it is to procure a new one.”

—Ronald C. Goodstein, Ph.D., Georgetown University, McDonough School of Busines


1.  Marketing success can be engineered by mathematically tying your company’s business & financial objectives to acquisition and retention of your B-of-B “raving fan” customers.

Customer data and their percentage contribution to your company’s revenue and profitability allows you to establish a neutral framework in which you can engage participation from your employees centered around data. Your marketing strategy is now ‘data-centered’ or quantitative, as opposed to focusing on the opinion-based, subjective qualitative side of marketing (advertising design, colors of logos, etc.—the proverbial “tail wagging the dog”).

By analyzing your company’s financial plan (revenue & profits) you can successfully create a simple table that details the number of customers and prospects that drive the majority of your revenue & profits. This table will focus the marketing program on customer segmentation, the ten percent/70 percent rule and the proportional allocation of marketing capital to your B-of-B customers and prospects.

2.  Design your marketing strategy from the bottom-up by seeking input from the field and tailoring your approach to support the unique needs of your local markets and salespersons.

This point is a key concept, so keep an open mind.The process imposes a discipline of fact-based capital allocation to your best customers and prospects, and also a simple procedure to measure results. It will also remind you that while tactics come from the field, it is the employees who execute them.

  • Using a bottom-up marketing strategy, Personalized Marketing Accounts can be established based on the local office or salesperson’s potential contribution to your company’s revenue and profitability. A good example of this bottom-up approach is Ritz Carlton Hotel allowing its employees immediate discretion to spend up to $2,000 on a customer to uphold the company’s reputation for superior customer service; no strings attached.

Picture of Ritz Carlton and bottom-up decision making that empowers employees

  • By contrast, the “top down” creation of marketing strategy and budgets often results in tremendous waste and ineffectuality because every market and every customer is different.

3.  Marketing tactics for your best customers and prospects can be identified and agreed upon with your field offices and sales teams.

The field and sales persons are empowered to access their budgets and launch tactics within the agreed upon framework to your best customers and prospects, as long as they target the right customers. Your corporate office, and especially the marketing staff, will serve as a field support organization. While counter-intuitive to most, work to extract the most effort from your sales personel in order to promote a greater balance between empowerment and accountability. The result: greater field & sales team alignment. In sum, it’s a dramatically different—contrarian—way to market. As Gabriel Shaheen, former CEO of Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., once stated, “The goal of marketing in our business is to make the sales person’s job easier.”

4.  A data-centric approach to marketing sets the strategy for field offices and sales teams, and is used to allocate the budget to each.

The field and sales teams buy- in since they are the ones empowered with their own marketing budget and resources.

5.  Key Focus Areas and Themes for Contrarian Marketing:

  • Use data for fact-based decision making in marketing.
  • Pick your customers before they pick you so that you are not targeting a mass market and ending up with mediocre or “bad” customers. “Acquire your competitors, one customer at a time”—as Michael Dell says.
  • Don’t take a victim approach to marketing. In other words, don’t misplace your trust by accepting promises from advertising vendors that may fall through, or by expecting someone else to do all the work. Marketing is too important to leave in the hands of anyone not fully vested in the end result.
  • Don’t engage in mass media or similar “spray & pray” marketing schemes.

To Develop Your Marketing Strategy, first understand the patterns within your customer base - Definition of Pattern Analytis

Source:  Excerpt from the Contrarian Marketing Book  Chapter 2:

By Nick Mavrick

You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+

Intelligent Response specializes in managing and securing Strategic Marketing and Web Development projects from start to finish in Washington DC.

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