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The big queue at an ATM in Masalli, Azerbaijan, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Customer Loyalty: Easy Does It

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing
Institutions: Henley Business School

A number of companies have begun to measure ‘customer effort’ (CE) – how easy (or difficult) it is for their customers to interact with them. The experience of these firms is that CE is worthwhile, offering a good indicator of customer loyalty. Whilst it should not replace other key measures, such as customer satisfaction and ‘net promoter score’ (NPS), it should be considered alongside them.

Idea #345
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The Distribution of Bread in the Village, Frans van Leemputten, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do CSR Initiatives Enhance Customer Loyalty?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Are customers more loyal to retailers who engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities? In general, CSR is going to earn customer loyalty, although a closer look reveals that the type of CSR makes a difference. CSR related to the customer experience — involving employees and products — inspires the most loyalty, followed by community support activities. Environmental projects generate less enthusiasm from customers, and with some customers actually have a negative effect.

Idea #346
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How Price, Time and Functionality Affect Customers' Choices

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

New research shows that when purchases are time-sensitive — buying a camera the day before leaving for vacation, for example — consumers tend to look for convenient, easier-to-use products. But in the long term, consumers are more interested in desirable product features. According to the research, reminding consumers of a product’s price will help them focus, even in the short term, on what they truly value: functionality over convenience.

Idea #338
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St. Augustine Departing for Milan, detail from a fresco in the apsidal chapel, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano, by Benozzo Gozzoli, 1464-65

How to Keep Clients When a Linchpin Leaves

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: INSEAD

Losing clients can be a serious risk when a key member of staff leaves, particularly in the creative and professional-services industries. Including non-compete clauses in employee contracts has, so far at least, proved an ineffective mitigation strategy. Is ‘multiplexity’ — increasing the number of ‘human ties’ between client and company — the ‘optimal’ solution? Only, finds new research, in certain circumstances.

Idea #330
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The Three Wise Men at Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Cercanías station, Madrid (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Optimal Marketing Claims: The Power of Three

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

When putting together an advertisement campaign, how many positive aspects of the product should you include? The temptation is to put in as many as possible, but according to this Idea, three is the optimal amount. Add more and you risk raising suspicions in your customers about the authenticity of all of the claims. 

Idea #328
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How Virtual Ways of Working Impact on Team Productivity

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Digitally-mediated (or ‘virtual’) relationships and ways of working have been considered an essential part of the way teams will work in the future. But according to this Idea, virtuality can give rise to as many problems as solutions. Here, different types of virtual work are discussed, and based on the example of the U.S. automobile industry, some cautionary advice for organizations is offered.

Idea #323
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Changing Attitudes to Business Ethics: Insights from South Africa

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The past 20 years or so have seen a marked change in attitudes towards ethics among South African business-school students. Recent MBA graduates have stronger opinions on what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’ business behaviour and are more likely to think in terms of moral absolutes. This has significant implications for business schools and educators — and for companies and employers.

Idea #319
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The Reception, by James Gillray, published 1792. Lord Macartney, the first envoy of Great Britain to China, meeting Emperor Qianlong  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When Supply Chain Partners Move Up the Value Chain

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

The role of suppliers in global supply chains has been evolving from simply providing components to manufacturing entire products. Especially for suppliers in emerging economies, however, successfully moving up the value chain requires internal skills and capabilities as well as the willingness of the client to share not only technology but customer-facing capabilities as well. 

Idea #320
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Is New Product Exclusivity Always a Good Idea?

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Marketing

Having exclusive sales or distribution rights to a new product may sound like a good deal. New research shows, however, that exclusivity can reduce profits, especially if the firm does not have locked-in loyal customers, because it eliminates the potential for greater word-of-mouth marketing. 

Idea #312
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Oilholics Anonymous Club. Allegory of the oil corruption

Reflective Leadership to Counter Corruption in Emerging Markets

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Corruption remains a major obstacle to doing business in rapidly developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. It destroys value, distorts markets and encourages executives to work in their own rather than shareholders’ and stakeholders’ interests. Solving the problem depends on a new approach from companies: ‘reflective leadership’.

Idea #307
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Search Engine Marketing: Does it Pay?

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Spending on search advertising has skyrocketed in recent years. But experiments conducted by researchers from UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago and eBay Research Labs suggest paid search may not be as effective as is thought. Particularly in the case of well-known brands, it seems it has little or no effect on sales as, in its absence, loyal customers will find other channels to visit the company’s website anyway.

Idea #309
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Search Engine Ranking: Consumer Behaviour and Revenue

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Marketing

New research shows that developing product search engine rankings based on best value factors — the logarithm for a hotel site search engine would be calculated not just on price but also on proximity to beach and/or proximity to shopping areas, for example — generates greater revenue than rankings based on one criteria, such as price. The research also explores a number of other issues related to product search rankings, such as how rankings impact click through rates for various classes of products or how consumers react to personalised rankings.

Idea #298
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Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma, 2013. Courtesy of Brazilian Foreign Ministry

The 'Brazilian Way': The Future for Africa?

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Recent years have seen increased investment and activity in Africa from newly industrialised countries. While China leads the emerging-power pack in terms of trade and investment, Brazil could be the one to watch. A policy of development co-operation, begun in the early 2000s, means that the future of the South American country and the future of countries in Africa are closely linked.

Idea #300
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Genius Bar at the Apple Store, Prince Street, SoHo, Manhattan, New York City, 2003 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Servitization: Implications for Sales and Marketing

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Marketing

In a business world where competition is higher than ever before, it has become increasingly difficult for firms to differentiate solely on products. That is why many firms have begun focusing on services too. This Idea looks at this trend, referred to here as ‘servitization’ and considers how you can ensure the shift to such sales is a successful one for your organization.

Idea #293
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Overload' by George Pemba, 1989, courtesy Ann Bryant Art Gallery, RSA, www.annbryant.co.za (Source: Wikipaintings)

Collectivism and Consumers at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ in South Africa

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Despite their poverty and limited purchasing power, people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ in South Africa increasingly attract the attention of marketers. At more than one third of South Africa’s population, they represent a significant, or potentially significant, market for companies. But they will not be ‘reached’ by conventional approaches — or by applying the individualistic perspective of the developed world. At the bottom of the pyramid in South Africa, communities are different — and collectivism still counts. 

Idea #290
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The Blue Bottle coffee house founded in 1686 in Vienna. Painting c.1900 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Network Perspective: Social Networks and Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Are you aware of the different roles individuals play in your organization, and how they connect to each other to form an informal structure that supports the organization as a whole? If so, you are well on your way to developing network perspective — something that is, according to this Idea, imperative for 21st century executives. 

Idea #291
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Knowledge Sharing Networks Between Developing and Developed Countries

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Managers in emerging markets can benefit from interpersonal ties to more developed countries. Personal contacts abroad can provide useful ‘inside information’ and transfer critical knowledge — for free. They should not, however, be pursued exclusively. The best personal networks include contacts at home as well as overseas. Recent research points to the relative merits and usefulness of local and distant knowledge.

Idea #292
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Shoppers in Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons).

How and Why Shoppers Make Unplanned Purchases

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Marketing

Through analysis of video tracking of consumers in stores, new research offers a greater understanding of how and why consumers consider and make unplanned purchases at the point of purchase. The research highlights the categories of products most likely to be considered as unplanned purchases; correlations between categories of planned purchases and unplanned purchases; and the behaviour of consumers most likely to make unplanned purchases (e.g. standing close to the shelf or talking to an employee increases the chances of conversion). Retailers can use this information to develop

Idea #277
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The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, Kunsthalle, Hamburg

Body Language: Power Poses That Get Lost in Translation

Idea posted: December 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Expansive postures and gestures — leaning forward, standing tall with arms outstretched, etc — are considered part of the ‘body language’ of power. They make the ‘actor’ feel more positive and focused and they communicate confidence and authority to the observer. But not all of them ‘travel well’ or cross cultural boundaries. Recent research suggests leaders should stop and think before striking a ‘powerful pose’.

Idea #278
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At the market, Tajikistan, photo by Kate Dixon, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

RET: Market Research in Real Time

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

As market researchers cannot follow customers around 24 hours a day, how else can they understand what sways them to buy certain brands? This Idea discusses a new research tool — real-time experience tracking (RET) — which seeks to capture how people respond to experiences and interactions with a given brand, all in real-time.

Idea #282
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First Choice Most Chosen

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Human beings may be biologically hardwired to prefer the first option presented to them, particularly if they have to make that choice quickly. Businesses can use this finding to tailor their marketing and other strategies to nudge customers towards a particular product or service. Recent research confirms the importance of being first and why this should inform point-of-sale, online, and other marketing messages.

Idea #267
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Fair Trade logo

Premium Pricing Socially Responsible Products

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Are consumers willing to pay a premium for socially responsible products? According to two researchers from NYU’s Stern School of Business, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Specifically, consumers will pay a higher premium for socially responsible non-durable products, and a higher premium for products that reflect a social commitment to humans, such as fair labour practices, as opposed to products that benefit animals or the environment.

Idea #269
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Park Avenue foyer of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, on Christmas Day, 1987 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Frequency Reward Vs Customer Loyalty Programs

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

Customer loyalty programs can be based on frequency rewards or customer tier benefits (e.g. special benefits when you reach a certain elite customer status). As companies try to decide which type of program is better, or if loyalty programs are even worth the trouble, new research shows a combination of both programs offer direct financial benefits, as well as better customer information for strategic decision-making.

Idea #265
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St. Francis Preaching to the Birds, Giotto, 1299, San Francesco Upper Church, Assisi, Italy (Source: Wikipaintings)

Building Trust: The Role of Stakeholders' Personal Values

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

For stakeholders, such as employees and customers, the trustworthiness of a company is based on competence and character attributes. New research shows that whether competence or character is more important to establishing trust depends on the personal conservative or liberal values of the stakeholders. This research helps companies develop targeted trust-building strategies.

Idea #262
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Blue Ballet, by South African artist Glen Josselsohn, 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation and External ‘Clusters’ in Emerging Markets

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Regional clusters, combining companies and research institutes and government agencies, have long been considered important for the development of new businesses and new ideas, particularly in highly competitive and turbulent environments such as emerging economies. But they need to be complemented by external networks. A recent study underlines the link between successful innovation and partnerships outside ‘home territories’.

Idea #263
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Three monkeys (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Multichannel Strategies for Better Customer Experience

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing
Institutions: Henley Business School

The proliferation of devices and channels has brought new challenges to just about every organization in delivering consistently good customer experiences and effectively joining up service provision with marketing activity, data and content. A good multichannel strategy and execution is increasingly becoming essential to marketers and customer experience professionals from every sector.

Idea #261
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The Effect of Pruning Sales Channels

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

A firm that eliminates a search or purchase channel, such as a catalogue, will lose customers who prefer that channel. The decision to eliminate a channel can still be profitable in the long run, as long as the savings from the elimination is greater than the lost revenues. Managers can help the math by taking proactive steps to reduce the level of lost revenues.

Idea #252
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Tobacco Warning (Source: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Health Warnings Can Boost Sales: Regulators Beware

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Warnings of the health risks and possible side-effects of products are commonly considered an important part of consumer protection and responsible marketing. But they can be counter-productive. Recent research suggests they not only fade over time but also lead to perverse increases in consumer confidence and product sales.

Idea #253
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Marmite pop-up, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Brand Equity through Event Marketing

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

Brand event marketing will increase brand equity through brand experience, especially if the event involves a direct and intense customer experience with the brand. But brand attitude increases brand equity only for certain types of events (namely, trade and street events, but not pop-up shops and sponsored events). Pop-up shops exemplify the best type of brand experience-driven event marketing.

Idea #251
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Taxcaltecans meets Hernan Cortez. Mural created by Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin 1956-2000. Palacio de Gobierno, Tlaxcala City (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Managerial Derailment in Latin America

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Why do some managers ‘derail’ and how do these factors differ in various regions of the world? In the research behind this Idea, managers in Latin America and the U.S were compared to analyse managerial derailment. The Idea offers suggestions as to what Latin American organizations can do to avoid this and effectively develop their leaders to an international level.

Idea #245
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