Marketing

Creating and Capturing Customer Value

Chapter PREVIEW

In this chapter, we introduce you to the basic concepts of marketing. We start with the question, "What is marketing?" Simply put, marketing is managing profitable customer relationships. The aim of marketing is to create value for customers and to capture value from customers in return. Next, we discuss the five steps in the marketing process—from understanding customer needs, to designing customer-driven marketing strategies and programs, to building customer relationships and capturing value for the firm. Finally, we discuss the major trends and forces affecting marketing in this age of customer relationships. Understanding these basic concepts and forming your own ideas about what they really mean to you will give you a solid foundation for all that follows.

Let's start with a good story about marketing in action. Mannai Automotive Group is the exclusive Middle Eastern seller of a number of key vehicles, including Hummers and Cadillacs. The company has invested considerable resources in setting up a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which allows it to derive greater value and success from all of its prospective customers. It realizes that simply having the resources and ability to spend a great deal of money on marketing and advertising is not sufficient to ensure the company's continued success and expansion. It strives for a higher reputation. At heart it is a family business, which has grown organically over the past fifty years. It began modestly by importing dates and is now a leading vehicle franchisee. By employing a CRM system, the business has managed to achieve coveted awards and exceed its sales targets. It relies on strong brand loyalty and second-to-none customer service and after-sales service, to ensure its customers are satisfied.

Qatar-based Mannai Automotive Group is the exclusive. Middle Eastern seller of vehicles for manufacturers such as Cadillac, Hummer, GMC, Opel, and Subaru. The company was established in 1951. With over 4,000 employees, it is now the largest private industrial business in Qatar. In addition to being a distributor of automobiles, its parent company, Mannai Corporation, is a diversified business with interests in engineering and construction. The company also offers a range of products and services in a variety of business sectors, including the oil, gas, marine, consumer products, travel, and IT solutions sectors.

Mannai Automotive Group teamed up with the business management software and services provider Sage, which provided Mannai with its customer relationship management (CRM) software Sage SalesLogix. The Qatar company uses SalesLogix to help it improve the efficiency of its staff and boost its customer satisfaction. When a prospective buyer walks into one of the showrooms or contacts the company, details about the prospective customer, including his or her model preference, finance options, and contact details are fed into the SalesLogix software. The system can then remind the sales personnel that the prospect needs to be followed up at regular intervals.

Ivor D'Cunha, the manager of the Mannai Auto division, explained the importance of the new software and the CRM role it plays:

"A prospect that walks into an auto showroom is serious about buying a car. They need to be followed up within

24 hours or less the sale is lost. SalesLogix helps the sales team proactively follow up with prospects. Information stored within SalesLogix is shared across the division, allowing salespeople easy access to all relevant prospect information. Once a prospect becomes a customer, we plan to use SalesLogix to improve our communication with them. Customers can be targeted for new product information, checkups, and special service offers that we run from time to time. We believe that better communication is one of the ways to enhance customer satisfaction."

The senior IT manager of the group added:

"Mannai has business divisions with interests in automobiles, consumer goods, engineering, construction, oil and gas, marine, and travel. At present, each division has its own customer database. Our CRM vision is to have a consolidated customer

Qatar-based Mannai Automotive Group is the exclusive franchise dealer of Hummer and Cadillac in the Middle East.

"The new showroom and service center will substantially increase our reach within Qatar. In addition, we have a significant customer base in and around Umm A1 Afaee, and the new service center and parts department will allow us to service them quickly and efficiently."

Keith Ranson, deputy general manager added: "We proved the quality of our service at the GM [General Motors] Middle East Service awards, and now we're going about further improving our services and our reach." Indeed, Mannai has won numerous GM Middle East service awards. Recently, the firm has come out on top in GM's "Outstanding Service Performance and Customer Satisfaction" category and "Fixing it Right the First Time" category. Mannai's technicians also took first prize in the technical skills competition held by GM at the Bahrain International Circuit in Manama.

As Helmy said in response to the award and the expansion: "Expansion is an ongoing effort, and we'll continue to open conveniently located showrooms and service centers so that we can serve our customers better. After all, great customer service is the heart and soul not only of Mannai Automotive, but all companies of Mannai Group."

Also part of Mannai Corporation is the Universal Food Centre, a premium retailer that caters for both local customers as well as the expatriate community. Customer service is a key part of the success of this unit. In addition to its extensive food selection, Universal Food Centre sells a range of perfumes, cosmetics, and beauty products. It also invests heavily in its employees: They are highly trained and responsive to customers, giving the retailer a high reputation.

Mannai Corporation also collaborates with other key overseas brands such as Baskin and Robbins, the ice cream manufacturer that began in California in 1945. Originally offering 131 flavours, Baskin and Robbins has, in fact, gone

The Mannai Automotive Group recognizes the importance of customer relationship marketing to not only streamline customer relations, but also to make them more profitable. "A prospect that walks into an auto showroom is serious about buying a car. They need to be followed up within 24 hours or less, or the sale is lost," says Ivor D'Cunha, the manager of Mannai's automotive division.

on to produce 700 flavours. It is now repre-• sented in over fifty countries worldwide and The Mannai its products are sold in 4,000 ice cream par- Automotive lours around the globe. In 1982, Universal Group owes its Enterprises, part of the Mannai Corporation, success to a became the exclusive licensee for Baskin and combination of Robbins in Bahrain. strong brand

Mohammed A1 Mannai, who presides loyalty and a high over the corporation, has been involved in level of customer running the family business for more than service. 50 years. The group can trace its roots back five generations, at which time it was involved in shipping dates from the family's date farms in Saudi Arabia to the Indian subcontinent. The Mannai Corporation in its present form, however, was established in 1824, when the family started trading pearls.

In August 2008, Mannai Trading Co. was awarded the GM Chairman's "Challenge Award" for 2007 as well as special recognition for achieving the coveted "5 Time Winner" status. Mannai won the award for exceeding its sales target in terms of selling General Motors vehicles that year. Keith Higley, the managing director of the Mannai Corporation, believe the win is down to superior customer service: "This award reflects two things—the strong brand loyalty that the Cadillac, Hummer, and GMC brands enjoy with our customers, and our success in delivering exemplary customer service and after-sales service to car owners. This in turn translates into total satisfaction for our customers."

If nothing else, Mannai Corporation proves that no matter what you do or where, a business that combines a customer-first approach with excellent after-sales service will have a growing pool of satisfied customers.

database across all the divisions and leverage that database to cross-sell products to a customer from different divisions. As a group, we see a huge sales potential in doing this."

For Mannai, this is just the first step in ensuring its CRM system is fully utilized. The company continues to expand, and in 2008, opened a new showroom at the Umm A1 Afaee Petrol Station in Umm A1 Afaee, north of Doha. Top-notch customer service was the driving force behind the expansion, as Mohamed Helmy, the general manager of Mannai Trading division explained:

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