Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Client Feedback Directs Growth Strategy.

A client retention case study.

Diver’s client, a medium-sized digital marketing agency, let’s call it “Cool Firm,” won several projects to reinvigorate three websites for a national retail chain, “Big Box.” Not a huge contract but one that required working across multiple divisions and held the promise of additional work should things go well.

The project goals were to bring energy and life to the Big Box brand online and highlight new products lines. Cool Firm was one of many agencies working for the Big Box and they saw this as a key opportunity to capture more share of customer. For over a year or so Cool Firm worked diligently on the Big Box account and while there were some bumps along the road, they achieved what they thought were good results. But there were questions….

Diver was hired to uncover perceptions of Cool Firm’s performance and develop recommendations for improving the relationship with Big Box.

After a thorough briefing from the project team, Diver conducted six, one-on-one interviews with Big Box marketing leaders, each one-half hour in length.

The findings were enlightening. Cool Firm was perceived as fun to work with, responsive and talented. Yet, there were some major concerns.  Compared to other agencies, Cool Firm was viewed as less innovative and offering fewer ideas for digital and social media marketing. On an administrative level, estimating and budgeting were so frustrating for Big Box staff that additional work Cool Firm should have earned went to another firm. One key Big Box leader felt that dialog about fees was so insufficient that it made her question the overall relationship.

After an initial report with findings and recommendations, Diver and Cool Firm leaders met to discuss both strategic and tactical implications for the Big Box client relationship. Based on the report and the discussion, Diver created a Roadmap that provided clear direction on how to improve the client retention and grow sales. The Roadmap included an overall vision of the Big Box relationship as an anchor account that could be realized with four strategies:

  • Demonstrate Cool Firm’s expertise as the one-stop, go to digital shop.
  • Showcase Cool Firm’s innovative practices and results from other client work.
  • Invest in research and thought leadership and bring that to Big Box marketers in a variety of ways.
  • Engage the Cool Firm’s partners in more relationship building efforts with key Big Box leaders.

Diver then worked with Cool Firm’s account leaders to develop a tactical plan to implement the four strategies above.

While it’s still early in the Roadmap execution there have been some positive signs:

  • Big Box has engaged Cool Firm with several new, high profile projects.
  • Communication between Big Box marketing leaders Cool Firm partners has reach new levels of intimacy and frequency.
  • Cool Firm has reinvigorated its research function and has delivered several studies on the integration of social media retail marketing. Feedback from Big Box has been excellent. 
  • The Big Box team is reenergized and feels confident of its plan to win more work.

Diver will monitor the implementation of the Roadmap and will conduct client evaluations again in a year to assess progress.

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