MESSAGING: where is our silver bullet?

Our client was a full-service ad agency serving Fortune 500 clients in the financial, technology, and food and beverage sectors. Our client's client was a financial services firm wanting to test six possible positioning statements among business divisions and clients. 

Question: Do we need to incur the expense of running six separate messaging statements for the six different divisions?  Or is there a single “silver bullet” statement which plays well with all our customers?

Solution:  Analytics uncovered the hidden patterns in customer responses.  For each of the six divisions, we tested individually tailored messages against the overall average, and determined winning areas and close runners-up.  Our deliverable to the ad agency was a series of clear graphs of findings (including Bird’s Eye Views of division messages vs. the overall average), select customer quotes, and intelligent crosstabulation of results.

Result:  Each division had its own favorite message, but the runner-up in all cases was Message Number Two.  This message resonated well with each group, and performed poorly nowhere.  The agency could move forward with its branding and positioning work, confident that a single positioning statement, Message Number Two, would play well nearly everywhere.



Our client was a stylish advertising firm specializing in creative print and electronic ad campaigns. Our client's client was a large alcoholic beverage company that wanted to expand its market for premium whiskey using existing customers as brand champions.

Question: Who are the beverage company's best customers and how much is each one worth over a lifetime? For this project, we needed to make an intimate demographic and psychographic map of customers to support future ad campaigns.

Solution:  We started with customer data collected from surveys, contests, and other sources. The beverage maker had custom dimensions they needed to incorporate, such as sociability and usage of their brand.  The beverage maker also had customized profit and churn metrics for each segment.  Prefabricated demographic segments from information bureaus did not support this level of detail; we built a custom model instead.  Six clusters emerged, each with its own demographic traits, consumption patterns, and lifetime value metrics. Result:  The biggest current revenues flowed from Baby Boomer couples; broadly speaking, the wife would buy the whiskey and the husband would drink it.  (This was not exactly a secret.) 

But the new insight uncovered the most profitable lifetime segment --  thirtysomething single men with rising professional careers.  These Rising Stars were not currently heavy whiskey drinkers, but they were very influential in their peers’ brand drinking decisions, and with such a long career ahead of them, it was critical to lock in their brand preferences early.   The agency could move forward knowing its focus on the emerging market segment would drive future growth.