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 / Winter 2011 / Issue 65(originally published by Booz & Company)


Making Customer Segmentation Deliver

4. Manage the implementation process. Making segmentation deliver is ultimately more of a change management challenge than a technical or marketing challenge, but this point tends to be overlooked. The tools for managing change — targeted and tailored communications, sequenced to engender understanding, engagement, and acceptance — need to be deployed fully. Expectations must be managed from the start; too often these efforts begin with a “big bang” orientation that misstates the nature of the change required to capture the performance benefits of segmentation.

Most important, of course, is for leaders to lay out the business case for moving to a more segment-focused set of processes. When employees ask, “What do you want me to do differently and why?” and “What’s in it for me?” leaders who respond with a clear message will dramatically enhance progress. In particular, painting a clear picture of how a segment-based strategy will enable frontline teams to deliver better customer experiences — and of the tools these teams will be provided to let them do so — has often proved a very powerful way to build buy-in and execution. This is usually best done by a combination of senior executives and field leaders on-site in stores and branches on a regular basis, serving as coaches and exemplars.

At a time of increasing competition and the rise of new methods to capture immense amounts of data about customers, every company must raise its ability to anticipate and respond to customer needs and wants. Segmentation will be essential to the process of managing the complexity of continually evolving and fragmenting customer groups and their different demands. Creation of a company-wide operating model that can convert this flood of data to useful information in order to make better go-to-market decisions will be critical. Companies that achieve this will have a substantial advantage in making customer-centricity more than a slogan.

Reprint No. 11401

Author Profile:

  • Corey Yulinsky is a partner with Booz & Company based in New York. He has advised multiple leading providers of consumer financial services on customer-driven growth, analytics and capabilities development, and revenue improvement issues.
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