"We've spent $200 million in advertising and $40 million in consulting fees just to keep our nose above water--there has to be a better way!" - Fortune 500 CEO

Marketing and Sales Performance Practice 

Brands (or products and services that should be treated as brands) are the lifeblood of any company. Since the 1950’s, the accepted practices for creating, nurturing, extending and sustaining brands have created substantial returns. That is, until fairly recently.

The demands of the “Next Economy” are changing all the rules. Media costs are growing 3x faster than the average rate of return from brands. New internet-based technology is empowering the consumer’s ability to control commercial messaging and comparison shop. Distribution channels are dictating product specifications and price/delivery concessions.. The profusion and rate of introduction of new products and brands is creating tremendous clutter and the ever-fragmenting consumer market is increasingly difficult to reach effectively using old-economy methods.

Senior management and shareholders are looking for substantial gains in revenue and profits, but are unwilling to provide investment spending to fund breakthrough strategies. Traditional advisory and agency vendors are stuck with methodologies that produce declining returns. Siloed Sales and Marketing organizations continue to work at cross-purposes and compete for scarce resources.

AHPL understands today’s “Next Economy” enabled marketer must answer some basic questions in the quest for increased sales and profits:

  • Are my brands positioned correctly?
  • Are my brands aligned with the “Next Economy” customer?
  • How can I get my marketing and sales teams working together?
  • Who are my most profitable customers?
  • Is my marcom plan efficient and am I measuring the right KPI’s?
  • How can I more effectively reach prospects and customers?
  • Should I drop or develop new brands?
  • What is the true value of my brands?
  • How can I get better returns from my advertising, promotion and PR spend?
  • How can I re-structure my go-to-market organization in order to achieve greater efficiencies?

The AHPL Marketing and Sales Performance Practice was created specifically to answer these, and many other, mission-critical business issues related to driving improved brand performance through improved strategies, go-to-market execution and metrics.

Are my brands positioned correctly?

(If you’re not pushing on your brands, you’re losing ground)

A global leader in business credit information systems had come to believe that its more-than 200 global products, which were deployed in virtually every SIC code and by up to 6 different customer levels per client, had become impossible to manage or to communicate clearly to prospects and customers.

A three-continent review of customers and the marketplace clearly indicated that the corporate brand had lost not only clarity and relevance, but saliency in the C-Suite. As a result, purchase decisions had been pushed down to lower-level operating units and lower-margined products.

A global re-positioning was implemented that focused on the key corporate benefit; the ability to make better-informed business decisions, thus re-establishing the brand as a “must-have” corporate asset. Every a spect of their demand chain saw double-digit increases in productivity within six months.

Are my brands aligned with the “Next Economy Consumer?

(How close are you to who your customers are today?)

For a major powered-sports manufacturer suffering from increased competition and an
inability to attract new entrants to its category, an analysis of the relevancy of the corporate
brand and individual product brands was conducted.

Our proprietary process discovered that the corporate brand positioning, which was grounded
in a very 1980’s notion of escapism, was irrelevant to the emotional and rational needs of the
Next Economy” consumer.

After a major re-positioning and vendor review process was implemented, sales have outperformed the category by a factor of 3.

How can I get my marketing and sales teams working together?

(Breaking down the silo’s for greater returns)

A major online/isp provider was dominated by two major competitors; trailing both in subscribers and ad revenue. Sadly, its brand, marketing and sales functions were heading in three separate directions as the heads of each could not agree on a common brand position or go-to-market execution.

In order to achieve a common perspective, extensive research was conducted amongst advertisers and consumers, who were asked for their views on how the Client presented itself. Both the Sales and Marketing teams were required to attend.

Process led to a complete makeover of the brand positioning, its advertising to consumers and its sales presentation to advertisers and sponsors. From 6 years of multi-million dollar losses, Client has grown to the #2 position, profitably.

Who are my most profitable customers?

(80% of your customers are unprofitable)

A major automotive manufacturer, known for its long-term view on the value of repeat customers had finally reached the point at which a analysis had to be performed in order to understand the true ROI.

Extensive analysis using leading CRM and proprietary CPM (Customer Profitability Management) techniques indicated that the overall loyalty program was producing negative returns.

However,high-return segments were identified and a program developed that involved the advertising, sales, customer service, CSI and warranty functions based upon a new set of business rules developed from predictive models. These rules drove differential customer treatment at every point of customer contact. Overall program ROI has doubled within 2 years of implementation

Is my marcom plan efficient; am I measuring the right KPI’s?

(50% of all consumers shop the Internet first)

A major hard goods manufacturer was experiencing significant increases in its cost to acquire and retain customers. Coupled with a corporate structure of multiple SBU’s, profit centers
and information systems all seeking to serve the same customer and sales channels, the Client was unable to look horizontally across its business units in an attempt to drive efficien-

After deploying our proprietary “Closed Loop Measurement System”, we were able to bring the individual SBU’s, IT, Sales and Marketing, Financial Planning and Service together and
provide for the first time an analysis of what it was really costing the company to move goods through its system and to the distribution and end-user consumer. This led to a complete reorganization of the Sales, Marketing, IT and Financial Planning functions which has proven to be the engine of margin growth 3x prior to the reorganization.

How can I more effectively reach prospects and customers?

(Effective channel management trumps media tonnage)

A major pharmaceutical manufacturer had developed a truly next-generation drug that delivered significant advantages over a dominant (70+% share) older-science competitor having extremely deep pockets and entrenched physician relationships. Problem was, the Client was not able to invest the necessary marcom funds required to create a dominant SOV against the traditional target.

Through extensive physician, customer and influencer research, it was discovered that the role of the influencer was, by a factor of 72, more influential than paid media or physician recommendations. A highly targeted local market, PR, place-based and Internet strategy was deployed in lockstep with the sales/physician detailing teams in order to reach these influencers resulting in a first-year share of 38% (3x goal) at a savings of more than $75 million over a traditional plan.

How can I get better returns from my advertising,promotion and PR spend?

(Consolidate or Best of Breed?)

Getting better returns requires a holistic analysis of current strategies and tactics, as well as your internal and external executional assets. Too many Clients, for example, make the decision to either consolidate all their marketing activities with one source, or break apart their efforts amongst numerous specialty partners without assessing the larger market context.

Which is why so many Clients come to AHPL for assistance in analyzing their current sales and marketing support systems-- internal and external--and for recommendations on how best to
re-align these (and in some cases, new) assets for better returns.

A major consumer and industrial chemical and pharmaceutical marketer, who had gone through numerous mergers and acquisitions and who had completely re-focused its brands found itself
with 2 separate marketing organizations and literally 22 vendors that ranged from PR to advertising to CRM. After thorough analysis, we aligned the new corporate needs with a zero-based analysis of support requirements, thus bringing on one new agency partner, 3 key sub-agencies and reducing the roster from 22 to 4--and saving nearly $3 million in redundant costs.

How can I re-structure my go-to-market organization in order to achieve greater efficiencies?

(Sometimes, the enemy is us.)

In this “age of the consumer”, it is stunning that many companies mouth lip-service to being “customer oriented” yet utterly fail to re-engineer their companies so as to be able to better deliver on this promise.

Which is why when a major financial services institution came to us with the open question of what they could be doing to better serve their customers (more profitably), our analysis suggested that the only barrier standing in their way was their own organization. We found this organization was structured along historical industry practice and was totally focused on internal, and not customer, needs. As such, we found hundreds of operating procedures that were at cross-purposes with each other that increased cost, time-to-market and decreased customer responsiveness.

We recommended a total re-structuring of the organization along customer segments driven by lifestage and type and frequency of interaction with the brand. Adopted over a period of 2 years, this re-org has improved operating margins by 20% over competition and has earned the company the highest CSI scores in the industry.

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