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A-Plus: understanding the customer and leveraging your relationship with them

Retha Carter Ackermans

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Case studyA-Plus - Mining customer database and expanding into customer events for greater impact• Harnessing relationship with club members• Audience connections – know your readers intimately• Cross-accessing databases to achieve greater impact• Customising events for niche customers• Objectives, goals, experience and result• Tips, challenges and solutionsRetha Carter, Customer Relations and Insights ManagerAckermans

Text of Retha Carter Ackermans

  • 1. A-Plus: understanding the customer and leveraging your relationship with them
  • 2. Agenda
    • Who are our Club Members
    • Club Benefits
    • Club Magazine, Supplements and Calendar
    • Leveraging Events
    • Managing the Process
    • A recipe for success
  • 3. Background/setting the scene
    • The A-Plus Card and Club was launched 1994 in Ackermans.
    • 314 000 active A-Plus Cardholders
    • Launched A-Plus Card in multi-brands of The Baby Company, Home Comforts, Hang Ten, Jay Jays, Cube and Shoe City in 2006
    • 115 000 Club members
    • Club available in Ackermans and Shoe City
    • Current model: Opt in paid for club for A-Plus Card holders only
    • Club members pay R14.50 p/m for a host of benefits
  • 4. Club Demographic breakdown Gender Club members Club % Female 80009 69% Male 35546 31% Unknown 0 0% Language Club members Club % Unknown 15168 13% Afrikaans 29124 25% English 71263 62% Age Brackets Club members Club % less than 18 0 0% 18-24 3092 3% 25-34 30243 26% 35-44 42413 37% 45-54 26144 23% 55-64 10200 9% 65 or older 3463 3%
  • 5.
    • They keep their accounts for longer
      • Main account retention = 62%
      • Club members = 84%
    • 40% of account holders are also club members
    • They spend more
    • They keep their accounts more up to date
    Why are Club Members more valuable?
  • 6.
    • A-Plus Club Magazine, Account Protection Plan and Competitions and lucky draws were regarded as the most valuable benefits.
    • 28% of A-Plus Members also belong to other retail clubs (eg. Foschini, Jet and Edgars)
    • 61% of respondents rate the A-Plus Club better than other retail clubs.
    Findings of Club research April 08
  • 7. Club Benefits
    • A-Plus Club Magazine every second month and 2 Supplements a year
    • Funeral Cover of up to R10 000 (R6000 for the main member R4000 for the Spouse)
    • Free access to our Dial-a-teacher tutoring service
    • Free bursaries to the value of R25 000 every 2 nd month
    • Discounts of up to 20% on GPs consultations fees
    • Free Roadside Assistance
    • Access to the A-Plus Helpline
    • Invitations to exclusive members only club events
  • 8. Club Magazine: History First Club Magazine launched in 1996
  • 9. Club Magazine: Today
  • 10. Club Magazine: Refreshed Sept 2010
  • 11. A-Plus Supplements
  • 12. A-Plus Supplements
    • Increased communication with our club members
    • Engagement strategy:correct product - correct content - correct target market
    • Merchandising: showcasedepth of product range/s
    • An effort to continually drive feet-through-the door
    • Advertising revenue opportunity including sponsorships
    • Increased paper quality on supplements to lift image and appeal of Ackermans
    • Widening the net: utilisation of other focused/targeted mediums like CT/Dbn/Gauteng Child Magazines
  • 13. A-Plus Calendar
    • R275 000 sponsorship deal with Old Mutual in 2008
    • R325 sponsorship with Hollard Direct in 2009
    • Reward club members with gifts that add value to their lives
    • Interactive concepts eg Recipe Calendar; Art etc
    • Branding opportunity for Ackermans and third party
    • advertisers that has longevity
  • 14. A-Plus Calendar
  • 15. Club Magazine: Ad Revenue 360% growth over a 5 year period!!!!
  • 16. Club Magazine: The Reader She is confident, secure, and open to new solutions that will enhance her familys lifestyle. She has a busy life and is able to juggle her many roles and responsibilities.
  • 17. AMPS Competitor information A-Plus Jet Edgars Foschini
  • 18. AMPS Competitor information A-Plus Jet Edgars Foschini
  • 19. AMPS Competitor information A-Plus Jet Edgars Foschini
  • 20. AMPS Competitor information A-Plus Jet Edgars Foschini
  • 21. AMPS Competitor information A-Plus Jet Edgars Foschini
  • 22. Club Magazine: New Positioning
    • The 2010 Customer, no frills affluent
    • They are not battling; but
    • they are budgeting, making money stretch further;
    • coping - buying what they need, buying fewer, but better;
    • resistant to debt; dont want credit
    • labels less important; those who buy into labels
    • less seasonality, more longevity
    • try new brands
    • emotional - more emotional sell, more investment
    • When times get tough, the tough get efficient!
    • Source: Anthony Swart, Director, The Brand Union
  • 23. New Positioning
    • Emotional comfort
    • real everything people, buying experience;
    • stories give them something to talk about;
    • expectations reality;
    • integrity dont make me buy what I dont want;
    • value to the point of even valuing how you invest in CSI
    • activity
    • Anxiety around recession is subsiding.
    • Source: Anthony Swart, Director, The Brand Union
  • 24. New Positioning: Editorial Strategy
    • To be the readers go-to guide.
    • Provide:
      • support.
      • solutions.
      • advice.
      • competitions.
    • Communicate:
      • benefits.
      • brands available
      • VALUE
  • 25. New Positioning: New directions
    • Benefits.
    • Reader generated content.
    • Sense of community.
    • Editorialise merchandise pages.
    • Celeb cover story.
    • Longer articles.
    • Kids page.
  • 26. New Positioning: New directions
  • 27. New Positioning: New directions
  • 28. New Positioning: New directions
  • 29. Leveraging events: Club Workshops
    • Club Workshops launched in 2007
    • Hosted a total of 13 workshops (just under 1500 people)
    • Focus on the key pillars of the Ackermans brand
      • ie. Fashion and Parenting
    • Hosted in CT, Jhb, George, PE etc
    • Open to club members and family and friends for small fee
    • Expert speakers, lunch, goodiebags, celebrity guests etc
    • In 2010, events will alsobe held in Durban. Each event has
    • shown increased patronage in each area
  • 30. Leveraging events
    • At the parenting event in 2010, introduced signing up for club membership at the actual reader event, with 100 people signing up immediately after the event.
    • Events increase customer loyalty - evidence is the demandto attend,eg Cape Town sold out in first week
    • The workshops are themost intimate touch point with the reader. The reader gets to meet the Club Manager, Marketing & Editorial teams.
    • Winning formulae: Reward, Delight, Surprise, Spoil, Acknowledge club members
  • 31. Craft and Food workshops 2009
  • 32. Fashion workshops 2009
  • 33. Parenting workshop 2010
  • 34. How do we manage the Magazine
    • Internally we have the merchandise experts
    • Externally we have the Customer Magazine experts
    • Always bear in mind what needs to work for product but also be relevant to the reader
  • 35. Recipe for success
    • Good Planning
    • Open and Honest Communication (good AND bad)
    • Understand our customers
    • Be prepared to take risks
    • Always needs to support core strategy of Ackermans