Customer prioritization: Does it pay off, and how should it be implemented?
AuthorHomburg, C; Droll, M; Totzek, D
Source TitleJournal of Marketing
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS INC
University of Melbourne Author/sHOMBURG, CHRISTIAN
AffiliationManagement and Marketing
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsHomburg, C., Droll, M. & Totzek, D. (2008). Customer prioritization: Does it pay off, and how should it be implemented?. JOURNAL OF MARKETING, 72 (5), pp.110-130. https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkg.72.5.110.
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It seems to be common sense that to increase profits, firms should prioritize customers (i.e., focus their efforts on the most important customers). However, such a strategy might have substantial negative effects on firms’ relationships with customers treated at a low priority level. Prior research does not indicate satisfactorily whether and how customer prioritization pays off. Moreover, although customer prioritization may be strongly present in firms’ marketing strategies, firms frequently fail to implement such a strategy. Therefore, it is also important to investigate empirically by which means firms can facilitate implementation. The authors address both issues and conduct a cross-industry study with 310 firms from business-to-consumer and business-to-business contexts together with two independent validation samples. The results show that customer prioritization ultimately leads to higher average customer profitability and a higher return on sales because it (1) affects relationships with top-tier customers positively but does not affect relationships with bottom-tier customers and (2) reduces marketing and sales costs. Furthermore, the ability to assess customer profitability, the quality of customer information, selective organizational alignment, selective senior-level involvement, and selective elaboration of planning and control all positively moderate the link between a firm's prioritization strategy and actual customer prioritization.
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