Brandchannel makes a good point that data in loyalty programs without really listening to customers and constantly maintaining buzz relevant to their needs — and wants (can be two separate things, wants and needs) is wasted data, time, and money.

When we at monetizeyourdata passionately push for humanizeyourdata, it’s not just about human faces and warm feelings leaping out of the numbers, which as it is, we believe many well-meaning Web analytics and offline marketing measurement types are not wired to get, so to speak. We believe that without 360 degree buzz marketing centered around all of your operations contributing to why is your business or organization constantly relevant to your customers, meaning your brand as their never-boring, always reliable friend, your survival is literally at stake — no matter how sophisticated your data management and loyalty systems, or equally bad, if you spend your hard-earned marketing and sales dollars acting out gut-feeling brand imaging, advertising, events, and other communications alone.

We hope to be helpful in these difficult times for so many. There is a real need for focus, balance, and truly, long-term investing in your messages, with your data deployed as knowledge capital rooted in your timeless values. From another Brandchannel blog post:

(Those) that are successful over the long term are those that use this turbulence (of 2009’s serious economic troubles) to rethink and optimize their businesses and portfolios in preparation for the recovery that’s sure to come (eventually). They will take a hard look at their assets and make tough decisions to maximize return on investments. Brands are no exception and should be reevaluated on an ongoing basis…

Unfortunately, many think of their offerings as brands, when in fact it is often the case that they are just offerings, which we define as having a minimum level of connection with customers, such as limited awareness and loyalty. Brands, in contrast, have and promote an emotional connection with customers and build a set of associations and expectations around their offerings. The key is to focus resources on the brands that have a true connection with target (customer data) segments. Examples of brands that have effectively leveraged their relationships with customers to expand their offerings include Iams (pet insurance and food) and Tide (To Go stain removal pen).

Two lenses should be applied to begin prioritizing the future brand portfolio: strategic intent and financial performance.

Strategic intent usually offers the greatest insights about the future of a brand. This lens allows you to identify which brands have a clear, strategic role in the portfolio today or, importantly, could have one in the future. Key questions include: Which brands have a clear target segment and associated value proposition? Which brands have the potential to extend into other categories or markets? Which brands play a key and well-defined offensive or defensive role?

Then identify those brands that are important contributors to financial performance and/or have exhibited strong growth. Revenue figures typically tell the story and guide the prioritization of brands from a financial perspective…While figures shed additional light on brand performance, they also provide direction and serve as input to inform key financial roles of secondary brands (and the range of your messages) within the portfolio…

The real opportunity is to determine what to do with gray assets—those that have weak financial performance and strong strategic intent, or vice versa. The best way to understand their potential is to look at them as part of the overall portfolio rather than as individual assets. Often the interdependencies with (your) other brands (and messages), and the resources allocated to them or their category, can explain their current performance and/or delineate their potential role in the portfolio…

How are brands aligned with customer segments? Are there customer segments that are being underserved? Are there brands that are overlapping in terms of what they offer to customers? Are there strong brands that could expand cross-category or regionally to drive growth? Just recently, for example, Toyota announced the development of a fourth brand in its portfolio to expand into the ultra-affordable car segment in developing (markets)…

What serves as the silver bullet in identifying the winning portfolio strategy is an estimate of commercial impact. While the ultimate metric is usually sales and/or profitability, we have found that customer preference, purchase intent, and ability to attract new customers or increase loyalty are among the metrics that can be used during research to determine brand potential.

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