Call Us: 877-651-4076


Author Archive

Building Relationships with Customers
by Andrew Szabo

The nineties heralded the shift from product-centricity (selling what a company has) to customer-centricity (fulfilling customer wants and needs). This has allowed firms to not only serve large market segments but also small niches and thus increase their target market universe.

What does this take? A new value-exchange proposition, the development and management of customer relationships and loyalty, and marketing to the individual  potentially on a mass scale. To succeed in this new environment of constant change and instability requires new information, a new level of customer knowledge. Knowledge that is generated expressly for the decision at hand, not information created for another purpose entirely and then massaged on a “best can do” basis.

At Marketing Strategy 1 we are strong proponents of relationship management and the role of strategic marketing communications to effectively support our clients’ marketing goals. In the last six years much has been written on the subject. From Peppers & Rodgers seminal work: “The One to One Future”, first published in 1993 to Bain & Co’s Frederick Reichheld business classic: “The Loyalty Effect”, and from the relationship marketing guru of Silicon Valley, Regis McKenna’s “Relationship Marketing” to greatHBR articles by Professor Len Schlesinger: “Realize your customers’ fullprofit potential”, and W. Earl Sasser’s “Why satisfied customers defect”.

I know it’s hard to keep up in this day and age, so here is a good primerthat I came across that summarizes several of the aforementioned authors’work. It is located on a German Website at the University of Mannheim:

Category : Informational | Blog

DALLAS, TEXAS (SEPTEMBER 2008) – Marketing Symphony is pleased to announce the addition of David Miner to its existing Partner roster.  Miner joins the existing Marketing Symphony team of Partners; Founder and Chief Strategist Andrew Szabo, Chief Operating Officer Melissa Szabo and Executive Vice President & General Manager, Public Relations Susan Morrow, APR.

“I am pleased to have joined an already strong marketing team, said Miner.  “I look forward to contributing creative direction and leadership to future projects.”

Miner currently serves as Creative Director at Marketing Symphony after a long and diverse career in the entertainment field.  Miner spent three decades in Los Angeles as a record producer, and musician working with artists ranging from Bread to Ray Charles; Elvis Costello, Leon Russell, and many years with T Bone Burnett – to name a few.  In the 1990’s, he branched out into other forms of media, scoring five independent films.  Miner also spent nearly two years developing multi media projects for the Disney Company including video production.  For the past two years, he’s been writing, directing and producing weekly media and video presentations for a church here in the DFW area.

Category : PR | Partners | Blog

Partnership combines public relations and marketing veteran expertise into single strategic firm

DALLAS, TEXAS (JANUARY 2008) – Marketing Symphony is pleased to announce the addition of Susan Morrow, APR and the resources of Morrow & Associates, Inc. Public Relations.  Marketing Symphony now offers full-service Public Relations capabilities with the addition of Morrow to the Marketing Symphony team.  In addition to serving as Partner in the firm, Morrow will also serve as Executive Vice President & General Manager, Public Relations.

“Morrow & Associates, as well as Marketing Symphony, clients have been asking for combined public relations and marketing services for some time now. The partnership of capabilities is really an extension of continuing to listen to our valued customers,” said Morrow.

“I look forward to adding value to the Marketing Symphony team,” added Morrow

Susan Morrow, APR brings 20+ years of experience in PR/communications management to Marketing Symphony.  Susan Morrow has planned and implemented programs for emerging and large business in diversified industries. In addition, Morrow manages public relations/marketing services for companies that are establishing business in Mexico, Central and South America. Key clients have included BNSF Railway, Exelon Corporation, Amerisource Companies, Smith Barney, Law Offices of Shelly West, Masergy Communications, EyeNX, Verizon Wireless, Sabre Holdings Travel Network, EDS and others.

Category : PR | Partners | Uncategorized | Blog

Account combines public relations and marketing veteran expertise into single strategic firm

DALLAS, TEXAS (DECEMBER 2007) – Marketing Symphony is pleased to announce the addition of Resource One Credit Union to its client roster.  Resource One Credit Union is a member-owned, not for profit, financial institution that has eight branches in the Dallas and Houston areas that offer low-interest loans, a variety of checking accounts for all ages, and high interest savings accounts to its members.

“Resource One has entrusted us with handling its marketing efforts and we take that very seriously,” said Marketing Symphony Founder and Chief Strategist Andrew Szabo.

“Marketing Symphony completed a thorough strategic marketing assessment and we’re truly excited about implementing our findings,” added Szabo.

Per the agreement, Marketing Symphony will handle all of Resource One’s marketing efforts including strategy, videos production, direct marketing, web development, web optimization, email marketing, event planning and integrated marketing campaigns.

Category : Outsourced Marketing | SEO | Strategy | Video Production | Web Development | Blog
Advertising that Clicks
by Andrew Szabo

If the “Internet changed everything,” then by definition, advertising on the Internet changed how we market. Brand-building is passé and straight selling is in; we’ve moved from “spray and pray” to ROI; from boring banners to targeted, content-rich communications; users tune out the irrelevant and engage in “permission” marketing.

“Like almost everyone else, advertisers are logging on. Advertising spending on the Internet will rise from $3.3 billion in 1999 to $33 billion by 2004, roughly 8% of all advertising, according to predictions by Forrester Research, a high-tech consultancy. A third of this will be spent outside North America, compared with 15% today. Whereas television audiences are falling, the popularity of the Web is rising rapidly. Three years from now, as many as 250 million people may well be online around the world.” – The Economist, October 1999

Everyone in marketing today is talking of the Web as a new advertising medium, but few appear to know how to make the best use of it. Most still ”spray and pray,” throwing money at the Web in the hope of reaching a mass audience and building a brand, just as they did in the broadcast world. Unfortunately, this diminishes one of the Internet’s most powerful attributes: that it is interactive and relational by nature. By allowing users and marketers to talk directly with each other, in real time, advertisers can discover what someone browsing on the Internet is looking at and, by tracking such behavior, what their real interests might be. They can instantly put forward a custom-made offer. It is my contention that the Internet will on an unprecedented scale become for many organizations the delivery mechanism that truly delivers on the original 1:1 marketing promise.

The Internet may also instantly reveal whether an advertisement is working. Although this idea terrifies some agencies and marketing consultants, not Marketing Strategy 1! We are eager to measure something that has in traditional marketing been largely guesswork. For the first time, we can truly measure a client’s marketing return on investment. And by more effectively communicating the right message, to the right target audience efficiently,
you should also save money.

How people use the Web is changing. Now that the novelty of randomly exploring the World Wide Web has diminished, “click-through” rates (CTR) on banners have dropped to as little as 0.5% of the times a banner is displayed. Susan Bratton, a vice president at Excite, a Web portal,
complains that the worst advertisements are “endlessly looping, strobing, cheesy banners that obnoxiously scream out a free offer.” But users are more interested than ever in content. Some of the most effective advertisements are such examples as links in book reviews to the website of Amazon. People are starting to use the Internet with more purpose.

Yet novelty on the Web is easily imitated and soon wears off. Most marketers will continue to rely on offline media to build their brands. IBM, the second-biggest advertiser on the Internet in 1998, says that those who think the Web is for building brands are “kidding themselves.” Dot-coms and Dot- bombs especially, found that branding needed coordinated on- and offline campaigns. New brands need to be promoted where most of the people are: offline.

In addition, we are beginning to see a new phenomenon: “Website distribution.” Instead of attempting to lure users to one’s website, marketers are placing the relevant parts of their site in a rich-media banner or an e-mail sent directly to the target audience. The banner, e-mail or content/link is the “electronic envoy” of your business.  For example, users can see video clips and views of the different Lexus models, get a brochure and find the nearest dealer, without ever visiting Toyota’s main website. Similarly, Sony Pictures promoted their film, ”Muppets from Space,” using a banner that allowed users to download a free Muppets screensaver, shows a trailer and offers a game, all within the banner.

To direct the right message to the right audience requires what I call ”customer knowledge.” As collaborators with our clients, we need to understand not only the target’s demographics (details such as age, income, address, position, etc.) but also the psychographics of the user’s browsing
and shopping habits, which technology can certainly support. As a consequence, the phenomenon of “permission marketing” is becoming a driving force in attainment of customer knowledge. It empowers the user to enter into an interesting new advertising value proposition: the exchange of
personal information and preferences for receiving advertising that is personally relevant. Several examples of these alliances between advertising and the consumer have become very successful: My Points, ClickRewards, as well as individual websites like E-trade.

In conclusion, it is apparent that marketing using the Web medium not only requires a paradigm shift in new thinking but an adaptability to the very nature of the way the Web behaves. Just when we begin to gain understanding of the medium, we can fully expect that it has or will change. The Web changes everything or everything within the Web is changing? We look forward to being your collaborators in thinking and creatively making your Web strategy an integral part of your marketing success.

Category : Informational | Blog
Back to the Future
by Andrew Szabo

Often I find myself counseling our clients to market with a customer-centric approach versus a product-centric approach. This thinking is supported by the results of a survey of global companies that I recently came across. The Economist Intelligence Unit and Andersen Consulting contend that “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) is becoming central to corporate strategy. While only 18 percent of businesses surveyed are currently organized around customer type, the figure is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2002.

Since the Internet allows the (already unpredictable) customers to exercise even greater freedom of choice, major corporations must therefore craft a clear customer relationship strategy. Businesses are shifting their attention from attracting new customers to retaining profitable ones and fully realizing their profit potential. And, in some cases, they will “choose-to-loose” unprofitable customers.

“Focusing on customer needs seems the most basic, fundamental tenet of business. Yet, major corporations are just now beginning to blend strategic thinking, management resources, front-line support and technology to better understand and serve more sophisticated buyers,” said Dale
Renner, global managing partner of Andersen Consulting’s Customer Relationship Management practice. “In the wake of relentless cost-cutting, organizations are developing long-term customer relationships as a path to enhancing profitability … this shift is nothing short of revolutionary.”

Other major findings of the survey include:

  • Companies are becoming more sophisticated at tracking customer profitability. Nearly 50% said that customer profitability would be a critical measure by 2002, up from 26% today.
  • By 2002, 83 percent of companies expect to have customer data warehouses, up from about 40 percent today.
  • More than 60% of businesses believe that “changing customer demographics and needs” and the “pressure to customize” their offerings in light of these changes, now have the most profound influences on their business strategies.
  • This new sophisticated approach will be aided by the evolution in interactive technology, specifically the soaring popularity of the Internet. Companies predict their use of the Internet to collect customer data will surge 430% by 2002.

Since not all customers are created equal companies need to build viable relationships to intelligently gather more data and discern the differences among customers. This “customer knowledge” can shape their offerings and marketing propositions based on the relative value these customers bring to the enterprise.

At Marketing Symphony we are particularly excited by the Internet’s capability to build customer knowledge. In my previous life in direct marketing we were able to build databases over a few months using mail, within weeks by telephone, but now with the Internet we can literally help our clients build at the speed of light! In addition, not only is it faster but also it is qualitatively far richer. New levels of customer learning lead to an increased ability to communicate with relevance to a targeted audience that is interested.

So the future lies in developing intelligent relevant relationships … a premise that dates back to the prehistoric dawn of communication. Back to the future.

Category : Informational | Blog