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Missed Opportunities: Be Sure to See the Forest – and the Trees

Missed Opportunities: Be Sure to See the Forest – and the TreesHow many trees are being missed while marketers concentrate on the forest?

Forbes reported in July 2015 that a KPMG survey found 81% of U.S. enterprises rely on analytics to improve their understanding of customers. Although data analytics – both Big Data and customer-level data – have become critical to modern marketing, I’m convinced opportunities are being ignored while companies boast about their use of data. Don’t get me wrong; today’s sophisticated analytics are extremely valuable, and marketers ignore their use at their peril.

But we should never fail to notice and act on easily available information hiding in plain sight. Here’s a real-life example, from my own real life.

I have been banking with one of the biggest national banks for, well, decades. The nationwide network made the bank so convenient it was a no-brainer. Sometimes the service wasn’t great, but to tell the truth, it was usually quite good. I maintained multiple relationships with the bank, checking, savings, CDs, credit cards, trust accounts. Over the years they recognized my loyalty, awarding me a special service status, waiving account fees, offering discounted loan rates, etc.

Then for a variety of reasons I decided to switch to a community credit union for most of my banking needs. I guess it had something to do with moving to the Pacific Northwest and all that woodsy, homegrown spirit up here.

I closed my CDs with the big national bank, switched my direct deposits, stopped using their billpay service and drew my accounts down to a combined balance of about $40. And I waited.

I waited for someone to call or email, asking why I cut back my relationships so dramatically. Asking if there was a service issue they could fix. Making some kind of retention or win-back offer. Or just notifying me that my balances no longer qualified me for special status and free accounts.

I’m still waiting, seven months later.

And I’m still enjoying free services and special status – with my $40 balance and zero account activity. I pay no fees on my accounts. I still receive emails thanking me for my loyalty and touting my status. I was just invited to make an appointment for a free one-on-one wealth planning meeting – a special service for preferred customers only.

No sophisticated analytics were needed to spot the fact that a decades-long customer had virtually gone away overnight. No one asked why. My money and I disappeared, and no one noticed.

I won’t go on about all the actions my behavior should have triggered. It should be obvious to anyone with a background in customer engagement and loyalty. So ask yourself – are you following best practices, old and new?

Let’s just say some smart ranger should be watching the trees as well as the forest.

Author: Howard Schneider

With over 25 years’ experience in customer loyalty, Howard brings innovation and insight to the creation of effective solutions for each client’s unique situation. Prior to joining Kobie, Howard was Managing Partner of Metzner Schneider Associates where he led the team developing customer engagement strategies for multiple global brands. He also served as Executive Vice President at Brierley+Partners. Howard and his wife Marcia live in a little house in the woods in Oregon with their Airedale Terrier, Tapioca and about fifteen koi. They have two grown sons, a musician and a scientist.

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