Reversion marketing

26Nov08

Reversion marketing is the evil twin of conversion marketing. The reversion marketing experience from a consumer point of view is about receiving such dreadful service that you choose to leave. Why would any organisation do this? Well, it’s a way of getting rid of unprofitable customers without directly saying to them ‘we don’t want you any more’. It’s the corporate version of the person who can’t say to their boy/girlfriend that they don’t want to see them anymore, and instead behaves like a jerk so the other party breaks off the relationship. This is dark side of customer segmentation. Whilst the textbooks are full of what you should do to extract more revenue from the most profitable customers they have little to say about what to do with the unprofitable ones.

So why can’t organisations say ‘we don’t want you any more’? Is it more or less damaging to brand values and perception to be transparently pruning customers, or to be delivering bad service to those customers so that they self prune? In a socially network world full of feedback and reviews, can the reverted customer do a lot of damage; or would a declined customer be even worse?

From my own perspective this is a practice that I see most often from large and resilient brands, which gets me wondering if I’m mistaking incompetence for malice? I’d love to hear from any insiders whether reversion marketing is an actual process anywhere?



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