Category archives: Sales & Marketing

CRM and Market Segmentation Implementation – Key factors for success

We have just completed a change program for a major bank to help their managers understand how market segmentation worked and implement it. This was a country wide implementation and we went to the regions to share this knowledge and change mindsets towards CRM. Many of the managers had negative ideas about CRM and this was shared by their staff.

The team used the Pareto principle to work on their own customer database (20% of their customers represented 80% of their profits). They worked out which customers to focus on for growth and how to use the customer product life cycle to target the correct products. We used financial and non financial examples for this.

Non financial example – Facebook ads – market segmentation in practice.

1. Facebook status – engaged,  ads were for marriage courses.

2. Facebook status – married,  ads were for “toys to pleasure the wife”. Other ads which followed included supplements to enhance my married life.

3. Facebook About – Updating profile as business owner. Ad on hiring top talent easily.

When utilizing, CRM, a clear understanding of who your target market is essential. The more detailed, the better, e.g. customers tend to range between 30-45, degree holders, living in these postcodes, married, with children. Facebook marketing allows a marketer to drill down to hit just a select group of people.

The program worked as we had the in house team who were able to demonstrate how to use the system. This involved hand on expertise on the process of utilizing the CRM database as well as how to segment in the financial world.

In any transformation, the what and the why are the easiest to implement. The key issue is now the “how” of implementation. This was not only addressed in how to use the processes but also how to change the mindset of the branch towards CRM. It involved people and mindsets. Understanding how people worked and what motivated them (beyond pay) was essential. We also needed to share the importance of world best practices in terms of the morning huddle. As many of the managers were Gen Xers or Boomers, a short introduction to the coaching style of management was essential.

The program was conducted for 300 managers. We were able to achieve the following results:-

1. Measured increase in the lead utilisation rate.

2. Increase in the number of customized campaigns coming from the managers.

The key factors for our success were as follows:-

1. Contribution from the client side. All departments, from CRM, Sales, and Learning worked together to ensure the success of this project. There was no politics but instead total collaboration to meet our goals.

2. Flexibility in terms of managing the content of each intervention. With a large number of managers with different levels of understanding, the key was a flexible program that managed to address the needs of the managers.

3. Focus on the how. Most interventions focus on the what and why and not the how. Here almost 75% of the time was spent on the how.


We don’t “train”. We help shape the company culture to drive business results. Continuously.

When we started this business 8 years ago, we called the organization a training company. We sold training solutions. We went through the HR team. Now we don’t want to call what we do training.

It doesn’t happen in 1,2 or even 5 days. It’s more than that. It’s an integrated approach. It’s engaging the hearts of the people to make them want to come to work. It’s also engaging them to use processes for continuous improvement. It’s about driving the front line that add value. It’s looking beyond the balance sheet/profit and loss to the organization’s psychological capital.It’s about coaching people to help drive performance because they want to NOT because they are told to.

We now work with Competitive Dynamics International to help make organizations world class and great places to work – where the employees wake up and want to go to work.

Some of the questions to assess your organization include the following:-
1. Do you have a 98% on time attendance for your team?
2. Does every one of your employees contribute one innovation per person per month?
3. Does everyone in the organization clearly know their role and why it is important to the organisation/society as a whole or do they just come to work for the pay check?
4. Does everyone measure and manage their team’s performance in terms of Quality, Speed and Cost?

Most of our clients start off answering no to most of the above. We work to engage the whole organization to help everyone say yes to these questions. The time take ranges from 3 months to 12 months.

So we don’t call it training. It’s changing culture. It’s making organisations world class and great places to work. It’s our reason to go to work.

Marketing Strategy – The Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club is a really innovative concept. It is a great example of how to hit at a monopoly and get around a distribution channel.

The ad has over 4 million hits on and counting.

Key lessons from the DSC (Dollar Shave Club).

1. New channel to consumer. It is able to break in to a market long dominated by the big boys, e.g Gillette and Schick. It achieves this via distribution online – direct to the consumer.

2. Innovative marketing. The use of a youtube video and social media has increased awareness of the DSC very rapidly at a relatively low cost. The advantage of social media sharing is that it normally comes from a trusted source which we are likelier to listen to.

3. Understand the consumer. The DSC ad shows that it really understands the consumer. Shaving is a daily affair. It is also something that people rarely see – as such a expensive or designer razor is unlikely to excite the consumer. It has shaped its business model on the average lazy guy by offering convenience and a decent product.

4. Segment your customer. While it’s called the Dollar Shave Club, the price goes up to USD9/month. With 3 types of razors, it is able to hit the various types of consumer and hopefully retain them.

These lessons are applicable for any new business trying to enter a business dominated by a monopoly.




Customer Service Processes- Booq Bags

As a seasoned traveller, I finally made the decision to get a smaller and lighter laptop. A trip to the store later and I had a new laptop. For some reason, there were few bags that fitted my laptop. A google search led me to Booq bags that made custom fitted bags for Macs. Having discovered them online, I now needed a Malaysian retailer/retailer that shipped to Malaysia.

Booq customer service (Pre-sale)
When I wrote into Booq bags to find a retailer, they responded within 24 hours via email. This is really important. You need to make sure that you capture your customer at the point of interest. Delay can result in lost business.

The product experience

Within a couple of months. the strap of my bag started to fray and it looked like this.

Damaged strap

Booq customer service (Post sale – aka return process)
I emailed the pictures of the frayed bag strap to the customer service email. The reply came within 24 hours. They requested 3 pictures and my mailing address.

Traditionally, companies requested you to :-
1. Send back the damaged product (pay international postage)
2. Which they would then examine and then decide if it was a product fault or if it was out of warranty or if they should replace it.
3. And communicate accordingly to the customer.

I was pleasantly surprised when Booq informed me the replacement strap would be sent to me at their expense.

By doing the right thing and cutting down on their processes, they have saved their staff time as well as retained a customer who will then tell others about their service.

Key takeaway.
Making the return process simpler and less expensive created customer satisfaction and loyalty. It has also impressed me so I will probably by my next bag from Booq.

Companies should regularly examine their processes and see how to simplify them. The increase in productivity and customer satisfaction will generate substantial returns.

Interview with Astro Awani

This is an excerpt of a recent TV interview on Astro Awani where we discuss the fact that the teambuilding training rarely results in a positive return on investment. It’s a snappy 6 minute clip.


This is my latest article on live and inspire. It applies lessons from my weekend tennis match to the business world.

Corp Talk : Playing to your strengths – Lessons from my weekend tennis match. By Juarez Lowe.

For many years my backhand has been the glaring weakness in my game. It’s the Father Christmas on court, giving my opponents countless free points (regardless of the season).

Eventually, I got fed up losing those points. I took a few hours of instruction on my backhand – tweaking the stroke. During my friendly games, I hit with abandon, often sending balls out of the court across state lines. It took a while and a lot of practice, but over the last year, my backhand steadily improved.

Lesson : Dare to fail.
Daring to fail is an essential part of improving yourself. Yes it isn’t easy. You will slip up on the long road. But it is essential that you try. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

Had my weakness turned into a Federer-esque backhand hit with the precision of a Rolex? Absolutely not. Was it now no longer an error prone stroke? I still hit errors but a lot fewer than before. The backhand is now a shot that I can get back consistently and occasionally hit a winner or two.

Lesson – bring your weaknesses up to an acceptable level.
Sometimes you just can’t turn a weakness into strength. You just take it up to an acceptable level.

For a week or so, I played under the delusion that I now had a weapon in my backhand. My weekly tennis partners soon convinced me otherwise as did the score-line.

Lesson – Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.
Yes, you can ask your wife, dog, cat or other confidante to give their honest opinion. Apply this to your job and business and any other part of life. (The English football supporters in the recent world cup could learn this lesson).

When I worked with my coach he told me to run round my backhand and hit my forehand. This tactic is used by the pros. He told me I needed to get fit to do this. I worked on my fitness trying to cross train.

Lesson. Run round your backhand in work.
Don’t do something that you aren’t good at. Get your skills in this area up to an acceptable level and then work with someone who excels in this area. For this very reason, I hire lawyers, accountants, tax consultants, IT consultants and a detail-oriented PA. This allows me to focus on the growing the business.

Play to your strengths at work (and on the tennis court if you want) and you will find success more often.

Lessons from the local DVD shop via Live and Inspire Magazine

I have just started writing for Live and Inspire Magazine. My first article is on business lessons from the local pirated DVD shop. Do click here to read it.

Corp Talk : Lessons from the local DVD shop, by Juarez Lowe

I teach classes on leadership and professional skills. One of the frequently asked questions in my classes is for an example of a well-run business. People often look at GENikeApple and other multi nationals.

I like sharing the example of the local pirated DVD shop. This shop is quite small (less 500 square feet) and ironically located in front of a police station. Click here to read the rest.

Cultivating a Leadership Brand

Sharing a great article by Lee Jia Ping, Managing Partner of the Listening Tree.

There has been much said and published about branding and the importance of it for growing your bottom line. The message is slowly seeping into the consciousness of many corporations in SE Asia who now, more than ever, have been force to remove themselves from their comfort zone due to the economic meltdown. And so, many have jumped on the branding band wagon with great vigour, forming internal brand teams or appointing brand ambassadors and commissioning rebranding programmes.

Unfortunately, despite the hype and the lip service CEOs give to branding, more often than not, branding or rebranding is nothing more than a box that has been ticked of their to do list, a KPI that has been met in order to signal at best a superficial change within the organization. The enthusiasm invariable runs out of steam by the time the last signboard has been replaced or the 560th employee has undergone Brand Training. Pretty soon, branding will be relegated back to the marketing dept, whence it came or to the corporate programme graveyard along with so many other, well meaning initiatives. Then it will be business as usual albeit under a new logo and interior colour scheme.

The most heartening are corporations who understand that brand success relies heavily on an inside out rather than outside in approach coupled with a belief that drives a brand-centric way of operating, long after the ink on the new logo has dried. But these corporations are what some would call enlightened and there are few and far between. Why else, has Malaysia produced so few great brands of international standing.

The one thing that enlightened corporations or companies have in common is an enlightened leader, a visionary who truly has a vested interest in not just the company but the people within. They are the ones who know that the hard work truly starts after the new logo has been approved. There are some who go so far as forsaking a logo change, opting instead to reexamine how systems, processes and people can be improved and/or developed to best serve the customer as well as turn in a tidy profit.

To thrive, leadership brands, truly understand and believe that people are their biggest assets. They often challenge themselves to go beyond industry clichés and norms pertaining to employees and thus tailor or develop strategies accordingly. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins asserts that good to great leaders begin by getting the right people on board the bus before even setting the vision and the mission. The right people drive the right culture (a culture of discipline) which combined with the ethics of entrepreneurship create the magic of great performance.

In their book Leadership Brand, Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood states: “We believe that leaders matter, but leadership matters more. We have all experienced a gifted leader who engaged all of us — our hearts, minds, and feet. ..But leadership exists when an organization produces more than one to two individual leaders. Leadership matters more because it is tied not to a person but to the process of building leaders.”

Colleen Barrett, ex-CEO of Southwest Airlines says that her people are the most important customers. She believed that if she looks after her people, she can rest assure that her people will in turn look after Southwest external customers. As a result, her management strategy involved spending 85% of her time on her employees and the brand has grown consistently over the years. This has had far reaching effects on customer service as Southwest employees are renowned for going the extra mile. Take the story of a groom-to-be involved in a car accident en route to the airport to fly to his wedding rehearsal. He makes it to the check-in counter with 10 mins to spare, bloodied and stressed, explains loudly to the check-in attendant and for all the passengers his predicament. Seeing this, the check-in attendant calls her security colleague over, who picks up the luggage, starts running towards the gate and motions the groom-to-be to follow. They sprint down the corridor and make it into the plane with 2 mins to spare and hears an announcement onboard saying “Ladies and gentlemen, the groom has made it onboard” followed by huge applause. This is just an example of a great Leadership Brand in action. Build your people and they will build your business.

In Disney’s Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell, former EVP of Operations, at Walt Disney World Resort wrote that Disney has a culture of treating their people like they would their customers. As a result, they were able to survive Hurricane Katrina without closing down. After they had successfully evacuated theme park, the ensured that everything was battened down and secured. When the hurricane passed, they worked overtime to ensure that the resort was ready for business the next day. In the book there is a story of a satisfied customer who wrote “I was looking for magic in all the wrong places, your staff is your magic”.

Magic is really what you will create when you start consistently building a leadership brand and there is no more urgent a time than now to start relooking at our old ways and perhaps start doing business differently. Let us use this time of chaos to reinvent ourselves to start clearing out the old corporate baggage that has kept us from rising in the world, so that when the dust settles, we emerge strengthened, revitalised and even possibly extraordinary. Now that would be magic.

From Juarez – Interestingly enough, I  just had lunch with Jia Ping and were stranded in the restaurant when it rained. The staff lent us umbrellas and walked us across the street to pick up the umbrellas. Magic in motion!

This article was originally published on Lee Jia Ping’s blog.

An interesting way to get a job

Jason Zimdars showed that he really wanted his job. He showed his willingness to join the new company by setting up a website designed for his job application. His website was detailed and focused and more importantly – it was tailored to the company and the role.

What I like about this website was the amount of time Jason spent tailoring his resume to the job. His layout is perfect splitting the cover page into “Let’s talk about me” and “Let’s talk about you”. He establishes the following:-

1. He has done his research on 37signals and is very candid about the company.

2. He gives examples of great design which help illustrate his passion for design. When you hire someone, you want to hire someone who is passionate about their work. Here he cites the “designed by apple in California” as the most brilliant thing to appear on a package. His interests are definitely a step up from the “travel, read and write” I have read on so many resumes. Again indirectly he shows his passion for his hobbies as well as a passion for excellence.

3. He doesn’t put down his current employer. In fact he has really good things to say about it. Refrain from complaining about your current employer. This makes you appear infinitely more mature.

He also goes on to list testimonials about his work as well as his design process. At the end of each page he has his contact details with the words “So what do you think?” at the top.

People like Jason think out of the box and will definitely stand out among the ocean of resumes. You may also want to look at the Inc article “Never Read Another Resume” by his employer, Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals.

Key learnings

1. Stand out from the crowd. Think about how you can differentiate yourself in your job application or resume.

2. Tailor your resume to the company. Write your cover and resume in terms of what you can do for them.

Using this will help you get the job of your choice.

Mas vs Air Asia

The google onslaught

"How to hit at your opponent"

Recently, I was trying to book some flights. Instead of typing out Air Asia, I googled it. The first paid ad was of course Malaysia Airlines. It is interesting when companies do this. The 3 ways of growing market share are

1. New users – people who have not entered into the category before. Eg. quoted by the chairman of Air Asia, the plantation worker in East Malaysia who wanted to go to KL to see the KLCC twin towers but couldn’t afford it until Air Asia came about.

2. Existing users to use more. Eg. Database email blast letting travellers know about a special promotion fare. These people are already existing users of your product and you just encourage them to use more.

3. Taking competitor users. These are people who already use the service and you just encourage them to switch to your brand. Eg. giving consumers a pre-approved credit card and gift if they show you a competitors credit card.

This present campaign by Malaysian Airlines is designed to take competitor (air asia) users. As a brand strategy it may downgrade the brand image of Malaysian Airlines. The brand identity was mid to premium. Since the onset of Air Asia, they have embarked on Air Asia like ads combined with a cost reduction strategy. This campaign is a useful tactical approach in the short term to take competitor users but it should look at determining its long term positioning. Only then will it be poised for lasting success.