BrainTrust Query: Will You Be Fired Because of the New Acquisition?
Through a special
arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article
from Cultivating Your Customers, the M Squared Group blog.
In recent weeks,
three of my clients have told me about an acquisition that their organization
was making. Apparently, this is a good market to add scope and resources. Industry
leaders are turning around and looking to improve their short and long-term
profits by buying some of the competition.
believe that customer data never came up during the acquisition discussions
for any of these clients at all? The value of a company is really the projected
future value of cash flows that come from customers, right?
Yet, this situation
frequently occurs. Companies evaluate a lot of factors during due diligence,
but synergies in marketing are rarely considered. And we marketers are left
to pick up the mess.
Here are three things companies need to do after they
complete an acquisition:
- Figure out the rules of the road. Many times during an acquisition,
promises are made to the existing marketing department about keeping the
old brand for some time, retaining the existing marketing department, etc.
It is critical that you find out what those deals are; often they are verbal
ones during the agreement, so you have to talk to the people involved in
the deal to make sure.
- The early days of a new relationship are critical and you must be sure
to get off on the right foot. No matter what, you want customers to experience
a smooth transition. In these days of social media, you have to make sure
employees are comfortable, if not happy, to prevent a backlash that you do
not want to deal with.
- Inventory your assets. Before you get going, make sure you know
what you have. This inventory includes people, creative assets, relationships,
and most importantly, customer data. Pay particular attention to assets
that impact the customer experience of your newly acquired customers. You
can always mock up a new logo, but losing information about when your best
customers last purchased — that is an issue. Be patient — at
the start, you will know far less than you don’t, but keep plugging
- Focus on relationship building. The temptation (and pressure from
management) will be to start making money off the newly acquired customers,
but let me urge you to focus on relationships at the start more than short-term
profit. Relationships are like investments — make deposits early on
and you can reap rewards for years to come. Remember, these customers know
about the acquisition and they don’t know you. First impressions
are hard to overcome so make yours about the brand, values, people and service.
Then provide reasons for customers to come back and get to know about you.
Tell them about the benefits of the acquisition and then make sure to highlight
those benefits in future communications.
Discussion Questions: Do you agree that customer relationships are often a second thought in acquisitions? What’s the best way to retain acquired customers during and after an acquisition?