Customer Relationship Marketing
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing guarantees double-digit response rates using consensual opt-in customer relationship marketing solutions, customer relationship management and creating integrated marketing solutions
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Spacer What is Voice of Customer (VOC) Relationship Research?
Self-Audit: Are You Listening to Your Customer?

Is it Price or Is It Quality?

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The Voice of Customer Relationship Research™ process has been refined in the course of over 65 research studies for many divisions of companies such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Applied Biosystems, Reliant Energy, Sales Building Systems.

Some important learnings from VOC Relationship Research studies include:
“The fastest way to be forgotten is to buy.”
“When you tell me to go to the web, what I hear is ‘Go . . . help yourself!’”
“E-mail may be the base of your communications with me, but I’m getting too much junk. If it’s really important, send it to me by mail.”
“Mail should be specific to my role, to what I do all day long.”

“For nearly 14 years at IBM, and since joining Microsoft, I have used the Voice of Customer Relationship Research methodology to define the value proposition for my marketing efforts. It consistently yields the type of wisdom that drives results.”

Yvonne Brandon
Group Manager, Online Partner Marketing (OPM)
Microsoft Corporation
The VOC Relationship Research process enables you to pre-test, with great confidence, the marketplace expectations regarding relationships, offers, messaging, media mix, and media preference before spending dollars to launch your program.

“Listening to customers is an important first step in executing a marketing or sales program. No one is ever ‘close enough’ to the customer, and this anchors us in their world and provides the kind of reality check that is useful to come back to, again and again, in marketing and sales planning and measuring.”

Eric Borchers
Imaging and Printing Enterprise Marketing Manager
VOC Relationship Research can help you by providing in-depth, qualitative marketing information regarding:

How do customers define an Opt-In relationship with your company?
What information is appropriate to provide an Opt-In relationship?
What are the critical issues facing decision makers as they evaluate your product or service?
What are their reactions to messages, tactics and offers?
How do they prefer to get information about updates and improvements?
How do they define their unique messaging and information requirements?
How long does the decision-making process take, and who are the decision makers and influencers?
What information is required at each step and via what mix of media?
What is the optimal value-added role for sales channels?

The VOC Relationship Research process helps develop qualitative marketing data through carefully designed one-to-one telephone interviews conducted only by ERDM senior researchers. The detailed, personal nature of VOC Relationship Research yields results free from the pollution” that sometimes compromises focus groups.

“I was looking to VOC Relationship Research to help my marketing organization understand how we could use our partner facing Web portal in a competitively differentiating way to build value-added relationships from the point of view of the partners themselves. I also wanted to see what content our portal needs to publish in order to ensure that the information is truly relevant to partners. Finally, I wanted to test the value proposition to understand if Microsoft could reasonably use the site as a vehicle to retain and grow relationships with partners within the Microsoft Partner Program.”

Yvonne Brandon
Group Manager, Online Partner Marketing (OPM)
Microsoft Corporation
For a VOC Relationship Research–based case study from Hewlett-Packard and “how-to information” for testing the Consensual Marketing Opt-In Process™ in your company, go to Case Studies / Tips for You and read, "Guarantee Your Success in Implementing Integrated Direct Marketing and Opt-In Marketing”. This case study describes how Hewlett-Packard used the Voice of Customer Relationship Research process to re-conceive their marketing strategies. Results include a 200 - 300 percent increase in response.

A manufacturing company had been around for almost 20 years, and had weathered many business storms. However, a new storm engulfed them without any warning: when the president opened up the monthly trade journals, he found that his company was in the middle of a price war. Competitors were advertising loudly and boldly that they now had the absolute lowest prices. Account managers began reporting price pushback from new business prospects.

The company was worried. If they met these competitively advertised prices, it would seriously cut into their profitability. If they fought back and exceeded these discounts, there was no end in sight. They had always prided themselves on their dedication to customer satisfaction. Had the whole world changed overnight? Would customers switch manufacturers at the drop of a hat to save a dollar?

Before responding to competition, the company deployed VOC Relationship Research for quick turnaround customer feedback. What did their large, long-term customers think? What did prospects looking for a manufacturing partner think?

VOC Relationship Research results stated clearly that long term customers and prospects with high potential value, said price is important, but quality is more important. Research quotes included the following:

“Of course I look at price, but if the quality and delivery aren’t there, the price means nothing.”
“We pay for quality.”
“Quality is number one. I would not sacrifice quality for price.”
“Service is at the top of my list. Responsiveness, get me answers quick.”

Research results found that customers were looking for the following Hierarchy of Benefits: (1) quality, (2) price, and (3) delivery.

In fact, most of their most valued customers stated that they would pay between 5 and 15 percent more to do business with them. Price sensitivity was detected at the low end of the customer spectrum: smaller companies and those interested in commodity products.

Clearly, given the VOC Relationship Research findings, it would have been disastrous if the company had changed its marketing strategy from quality to price competition, from being a value-added supplier to a commodity player that competes on the basis of price alone.


  Voice of Customer Relationship Research™ process is a trademark of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing. IDM™ is a registered trademark of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing. Consensual Marketing Opt–In Process ™ is a trademark of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing.
Welcome to the second issue of our new monthly newsletter. Our goal is to share the latest Best Practice strategies, action items and case studies to help you succeed with your Opt-In and Integrated Direct Marketing (IDM®) efforts.

There are three fundamental requirements for achieving Consensual Marketing Opt-In™ relationships and double-digit response rates:

I. Know much more about your customers’ needs.
II. Engage customers in meaningful, Opt-In relationships.
III. Improve the effectiveness of your multi-media / multi-channel implementation.

This issue will focus on Knowing More About Your Customers’ Needs.

The following numbers are stark proof of how out of touch many marketers are with their customers:

76% of U.S. adults have registered for the National Do-Not-Call Registry (Harris Interactive)
70% of Americans would be interested in products to help them avoid marketing pitches (Yankelovich Partners)

So, traditional “Spray and Pray” marketing is clearly not working so well!

The first step in fixing this is to have a much better understanding of our customer’s needs.

ERDM has developed a methodology called Voice of Customer (VOC) Relationship Research to help companies understand the “voice of the customer” regarding many critical issues.

In this newsletter, we have included explanations about this process, reference reading for additional information and a case study. We hope this information will help you better understand the VOC Relationship Research process, and how this type of research will help with your Opt-In and Integrated Direct Marketing programs.

Please visit our newly redesigned website, for more detailed information, or give us a call at 718-225-4151 if you have questions.

With best wishes!

P.S. Please send me your questions or suggestions for future newsletters, at
Are You Listening to Your Customer?

Take the following quiz to see how well you are listening to your customer;

1. Do you know how your customers would define a deeper, value-based relationship with your company?

2. Do you know how customers want you to handle their Opt-In and Opt-Out preferences?

3. Do you know whether your customers think that your messages competitively differentiate you from your competitors?

4. Do you have processes in place to collect, organize and analyze customer feedback?

5. Have you, personally, heard what one of your customers has said in the past six months? (i.e. interacted with a customer, listened in on a Customer Service call, conducted and watched focus groups or in-depth interviews, etc.)

If you answered “no” to any of these items, it may be time to consider whether your company is really paying attention to what your customer is saying.
To learn more, go to Case Studies / Tips for You and read in-depth VOC Relationship Research case studies. Also go to Our Books to review Opt-In Marketing: Increase Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing.

Contact Us for a complimentary consultation to discuss your needs and how the Consensual Marketing / Opt-In Process (CMO) may satisfy them.

Click here for additional customer relationship management solutions case studies.

We wish you the best of luck in using the Voice-of-Customer-driven 3-Step Marketing Process to achieve double-digit response.

    To read previous newsletters, click here.
    For additional case studies, click here.

Ernan Roman Direct Marketing | 3 Melrose Lane | Douglas Manor, NY 11363 | Phone: 718.225.4151 | Fax: 718.225.4889
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Customer Relationship Management Solutions