HBR – Unlock the Mysteries of Your Customer Relationships

Harvard Business Review LogoThe July / August 2014 edition of Harvard Business Review features an excellent article on ‘relational intelligence’ that is worth reading – ‘Unlock the Mysteries of Your Customer Relationships’.  Accomplished authors, Avery, Fournier and Wittenbraker, add tremendous insights to enhancing customer segmentations.

Moving away from  Value-Based Customer Segmentations

If you are like many marketing professionals working with Big Data and Predictive Analytics, you have extracted the value from CRM though the capture of customer data, enrichment of data via appending socioeconomic & psychographic data, and identification of your key customer segmentations based on profitability, recency, frequency and monetary value.  The article refers to this approach as “an industrial view of customer relationships, a sign that many firms still think of customers as a resources to be harvested for the next up-sell or cross-sell opportunity rather than as individuals looking for certain kinds of interactions”.   They are right, many of us limit our perspectives by viewing data along “demographic, behavior, or value-based customer segmentation(s)”.

HBR Matrix on Valuing Friends vs Acquaintances in Customer Relatonships

Source: Harvard Business Review / HBR Blog Network – Jill Avery, Susan Furnier, and Johhn Wittenbraker

Expansive Insights on 29 Customer Relationship Types

The authors identify 29 relationship types that help companies classify the kind of relationships that customers have with their brand, and how they might be managed to migrate to different outcomes.

Based on an impressive amount of research on several continents, with 11 industries and 200 brands, the authors have determined a specific set of rules and regulations to manage customer expectations for each type of customer relationship.  For example, six of the customer relationship types are:  Basic Exchange (“good product or service at a fair price”), Business Partners (‘a valuable partner to solve problems’), Fling (“customer wants to experiment with a new identify”), Best Friends, Buddies and Master-Slave.  Massive, additional value from customer relationships can be unlocked by moving customers along a roadmap of more lucrative relationships.

I found the article to be thought provoking and very instructive in working with large data sets, and managing customer relationships.

Harvard Business Review - July - August 2014 EditionThis Harvard Business Review article by Jill Avery (a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School), Susan Fournier (the Questrom Professor in Management at Boston University) and John Wittenbraker (Global Director of Innovation, Brand and Customer Experience at Gfk) is excellent and one that marketing professionals will want to refer to often.

To purchase the article on the Harvard Business Review web site, click here.

In an upcoming article, I will share insights from Contrarian Marketing on linking marketing, sales & finance to achieve your segmentation goals.


Harvard Business Review, July-August, 2014

HBR Blog Network, Don’t Propose Marriage to a Customer Who Wants a Fling

By Nick Mavrick

You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+

Intelligent Response specializes in operationalizing Predictive Analytics and Digital Advocacy projects from start to finish in Washington DC.

Washington DC & Ft. Lauderdale FL
Phone: (202) 709-9490
Website: http://intelligentresponse.com
Visit us on Google+

Corporate Giving Commitment

At Intelligent Response, we believe that to whom much has been given, must is expected in return. We support a number of philanthropic causes via pro-bono services, donations, and by creating awareness.