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According to a survey across all business segments, a company's actions toward customers are more important to their success at CRM than software investment and use. A Wharton School of Business marketing professor surveyed 342 medium-sized and large businesses and conducted in-depth interviews with managers at 14 companies. The most successful performers shared a company orientation that makes priorities of customer retention, high-quality data about customer relationships and a configuration that focuses the company on customer relationships through incentives, performance metrics and organizational structure. The 18% of the surveyed companies that were "relationship leaders" shared a company-wide emphasis at all levels on customer retention and a broad willingness to share information about customers.
A summary of the survey results is at
Southwest Airlines' simple secrets
Southwest chairman Herb Kelleher revealed why his company has made money for 30 consecutive years during an April 22 talk at the Wharton School of Business. The company's success has been due to an "obsession" with keeping costs low, treating employees well and managing during good times for the bad times that will inevitably follow. Concerns about keeping costs low are as great at Southwest during good times as during bad times and extend far beyond the executive level because Southwest employees all understand the company's profit structure. Kelleher said one of the most important traits for managers is a sense of history and "futurity" that keeps the cyclical nature of business in mind no matter the nature of the current cycle.
A summary of the talk is at http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/articles.cfm?catid=2&articleid=753&homepage=yes
Power of marketing, branding & beer
Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO, said in its first quarter earnings report that the company's domestic market share rose to 52.1% from 49.5% from the previous quarter (shipments to distributors). So more than half the domestic beer purchased in the U.S. is Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob, Busch and other brands. Bud Light is the best-selling beer in America, ahead of Budweiser, still king of the full-calorie beers. The combined sales of #2 light beer Coors Light and #3 Miller Lite are slightly less than sales of Bud Light, according to figures from industry newsletter Beer Marketers Insights. But imports, as in many other industries, represent some of the biggest growth and margin opportunities. Case in point: Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is introducing its own private-label import beer as its sales of imports increase to gain better margins on its own brand.