Frost & Sullivan: 1to1 Impact Awards

Dr. Martha Rogers, the Founding Partner of Peppers & Rogers, presented the winners of these awards. She started by asking:

  • What if a European consumer package goods company could swab your mouth and tell you which toothpaste to use?
  • What if you could have a car custom built for you in two weeks? (Toyota can. You can’t get a sofa in 12 weeks, but a whole car can be built for you in two weeks, and more profitably.)
  • What if Apple and Nike teamed up to count your steps?
  • What if the fundamental assumptions we hold about business are wrong?

Among the cherished assumptions that may not serve us:

  • If people in Sales & Marketing will just do their jobs, we can always get more customers. That can be a deadly game. Need to understand that customers are even scarcer than other resources.
  • Our customers are not the thing that builds our business. Wrong. The only source of revenue is our customers. Customers are most valuable to us at the moment we are most valuable to them. We need to understand them and their needs.

Here’s her main point:

Taking the customer’s point of view may upend a traditional business model.

For example, most extended warranties are a rip-off. The guy who sells you the appliance is required to try to sell you this thing that has 100 percent mark-up. He can’t do it in good conscience, but is evaluated based on how many of these he sells. That makes him wonder, when the company says the customer is valued but pushes rip-off products, whether he can trust when the company says it cares about employees.

Likewise, Blockbuster had late fees as its big money maker, until Netflix came up with its no-late-fees model. When Blockbuster dropped the late fees, they did it two million customers too late. No one wanted to leave Neflix. Blockbuster would have had to seriously undercut the Netflix price to get customers back.

Martha’s new book (with Don Peppers) is Rules to Break & Laws to Follow. It answers the question: What do empowered customers, networked employees, innovation, culture and trust mean to the future of your business? I’m looking forward to reading it.

Award Winners were:

Customer Strategy: Travelocity, Watercolor Inn & Spa, Big River Telephone

Full-Suite CRM: Westpac Banking Corp,, ESET Software

Marketing Optimization: AT&T, TD Bank Financial Services, Sylvan Learning

Sales Optimization: US Bank, DirecTV, The Berry Company

Customer Service Optimization: A.O. Smith Water Products, Virgin Atlantic, Earthlink

New Media: Procter & Gamble, Subway Buffalo SFAFT, La Redoute – For instance, Subway uses text messaging to send coupons to the 5,000 customers who have opted in. On a snowy day with light traffic, they can blast an SMS message to create some traffic. P&G has improved its organic search engine results.

Organizational Transformation: Honeywell Aerospace, Canada Post

Several of the award winners were then part of a panel with Dr. Rogers.

  • Brian Davis, VP Customer and Product Support, Honeywell Aerospace – Consolidated into client-focused teams, with units assigned to particular customers, to make it easier for customers to deal with them.
  • Ginny Mahl, VP, Sales and Customer Service, Travelocity – Customer Champion Program. Launched most comprehensive guarantee in 2005. Example: Alerting to amenities at hotel destination that may be out of commission, or airport problems. For example, if the pool is going to be closed, ruining a vacation with the kids, they alert the customer and give them alternatives.
  • Rich Martino, Senior VP, U.S. Bank – BLAST system
  • Bob Sloan, VP of Business Marketing, AT&T

These companies will be featured in the January/February issue of 1to1. A preview article was distributed at the meeting, and I look forward to reading it. You can probably read the stories on the 1to1 site fairly soon.

I’ll probably revise this post in a bit with some more links, but then again you can just Google the companies involved and see what they’re doing. I’m going out to dinner with Rick Short, who’s going to be part of the panel on blogging with me tomorrow.