The Interview: Talking with Terry Vavra and Tim Keiningham, coauthors of Loyalty Myths

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I received an advance copy of Loyalty Myths [1] and knew it was totally relevant to you, our readership.

One of the biggest challenges firms have is creating and sustaining customer loyalty. And for supply chain leaders or brand companies, working through their channel partners to achieve these goals can often fail. With that in mind, sitting down with Tim Keiningham and Terry Vavra was a great experience!

By the way, you can meet Terry Vavra at Parallax Views 2005 and join us for a
book signing with Terry.

Ann: Tim and Terry, please tell our readers a bit about yourselves, and what gets you inspired and motivated.

Terry: We were thinking about both strategic directions and personal convictions when we started our current firm Ipsos Loyalty. Before, we were partners in a marketing research firm. Research had become a commodity and we were looking for new avenues, new ways to dialogue with customers, how to interpret customers’ needs and pass that back to our Manufacturing customers. For us, the issue was beyond research. So in the early 90s we migrated to customer loyalty and customer retention.

Tim: Yes, for me, I was a frustrated musician. So I thought, if I had to be a corporate guy, I wanted to be in business to teach people to be good to each other. Our goal is to change the world—you can make business by doing good for people and by serving your customers. Our firm is totally dedicated to customer loyalty. And we want to change the world—we are passionate and want to say it!

Terry: For twenty years I have been an entrepreneur, and there is not a day I don’t enjoy coming to work.

Ann: So, I expect that is what customers want, for the vendors to be good to them. Certainly, I do.

Terry: Of course, but you cannot separate fundamental business performance metrics from people being good to one another.

Tim: That would be a great headline wouldn’t it? YOU ARE BROKE, BUT BELOVED.

Ann: What drove you to write Loyalty Myths?

Tim and Terry: You can make money by being hard, or by creating relationships that uniquely serve your customers. Yet you have to understand how your business fundamentally makes money. You spend money where it makes money! And that is what drove us to discuss the Myths. If you ask any CEO, they will tell you that customer retention and loyalty is the top agenda. Yet so much of the investments are based on myths— fundamental misunderstanding of what works.


In this Interview we also discussed:

  • Channel Strategies—Can retailers actually represent your products?
  • Frequency programs are not Loyalty Programs!
  • Customer Behavior vs. Customer Attitudes—Where is the real money?
  • What to do with brand power?
  • What loyalty is really about—wallet share! —And many more topics.

Come meet Terry at Parallax Views 2005 and learn more about these critical topics!


[1] Loyalty Myths: Hyped Strategies That Will Put You Out of Business- and Proven Tactics That Really Work, by Timothy L. Keiningham, Terry G. Vavra, Lerzan Aksoy and Henri Wallard – Wiley Publishing 2005

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