London start-up OFFBLAK tea demonstrates with flair the characteristics of a customer-obsessed company. The venture launched in February 2019 with a selection of premium blends in pyramid sachets delivered in colorful 12-pack letterbox sized mailers.
Last fall Forrester Consulting queried two hundred companies on their interaction with customers to discover their level of “customer obsession” and then surveyed 500 customers to see what they had to say.
Forrester discovered that “customer-obsessed marketing is rare – and it’s leading to gaps in business outcomes.”
While 94 percent of retailers agree their firm “embodies customer obsession” only 9 percent qualify as customer-obsessed, using Forrester’s standardized assessment. The assessment is based on structured interviews of 1,000 c-level U.S. and European executives. It was released in June 2018. The study of customer obsession was commissioned by Listrak, an internet marketing services company based in Pennsylvania.
“In part due to overconfidence, retailers have failed to optimize key marketing features and so have fallen short on customer expectations and potential revenue,” according to Forrester. “Retail marketers struggle to win because business outcomes are not their top consideration,” Forrester observes.
Forrester notes that customer-obsessed companies “had the largest median three-year sales growth, higher margin performance, and happier employees.” Forrester predicts these results will spur a wave of intense competition by firms mastering the approach.
A recent example is start-up OFFBLAK, a London-based venture founded by Dmitry Klochkov, a former investment banker and graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business who also holds master’s degrees from Saint Petersburg State University and the University of Amsterdam.
OFFBLAK launched with a keen insight into how tea companies can enlist enthusiastic tea drinkers to promote the brand and its values. Klochkov is marketing OFFBLAK as “a healthy lifestyle tea – with style.” He addresses consumers as “Generation T” and understands the power of sampling with Millennials. “Don’t Buy our Tea” is the theme of one online campaign. According to Saatchi & Saatchi X, “Millennials are three times more likely than their non-millennial counterparts to purchase snacks and alcoholic beverages when they have the opportunity to sample them. That is because Millennials care about the experience of a particular product – the way it tastes and feels when they consume it. The more they know upfront, the more likely they are to buy.”
OFFBLAK delivers samples free of charge via mail and encourages customers to “send a blend to a friend.”
Messaging is on trend: our mission is to “Make instagenic tea that lives on the gram, not in the cupboard” clever code instructing customers to post testimonial videos and photos on Instagram. Teas are described unconventionally as evoking feelings. Squeeze Me orange and jasmine tea “Feels like: Soaking in a citrus scented bubble bath.”
It is helpful to think of customer obsession as a response to consumers who are shifting their focus from brand name products to the customer experience that brands deliver. Eighty-seven percent of organizations agree that traditional customer experiences are no longer enough to satisfy customers yet only 34 percent have established a customer-obsessed culture. Chief marketers say that “making our interactions more human” and “fostering customer engagement across the entire customer life cycle” are top priorities,” writes Stephen Shaw in DM (Digital Marketing) magazine: “The old brand-building model is dead.”
World Tea Expo Presentation
The presentation Retail Innovation: Customer Obsession at this year’s World Tea Expo, explains that customer engagement measures the level of involvement a customer has with a brand over time.
This differs from “marketing engagement” which measures the success of a sales channel or campaign during a particular phase of the life cycle. Ideally, marketing engagement moves customers to the next phase of involvement/engagement.
Measuring marketing engagement requires studying proxy metrics that track customer behaviors, involvement, and emotions. These metrics are somewhat unique across each business. The presentation describes specific practices used to observe behaviors of tea buyers, encourage their involvement and generate emotions that customers both welcome and respond to with ever-greater engagement and sales growth.
Dive Deeper in this World Tea Expo Session
Retail Innovation: Customer Obsession
describes how to practice mass customization and provides examples. This session will take a place June 12, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in room N254.