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Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu’s hardball tactics benefit everyone but Aimia - The Globe and Mail
ANDREW WILLIS
PUBLISHED 3 DAYS AGO

Mr. Rovinescu, whose career includes stints as a lawyer and investment banker along with an investor-friendly flight at the helm of Air Canada, can take credit for launching Aimia as a public company back in 2005. Air Canada’s CEO also pulled the rug out from under Aimia, setting the stage for this takeover, by announcing in May, 2017, that the airline planned to end its relationship and start its own loyalty program when its contract expires in 2020. That announcement knocked back Aimia’s stock price by more than 50 per cent, and shares have never recovered.

Air Canada’s decision to spin out Aimia, along with the airline’s maintenance business and regional carrier, amounted to inspired financial engineering. The offerings brought in the cash needed to spruce up the fleet with fuel-efficient jets and pay down debt. It’s fair to say these deals set the stage for Air Canada’s stunning stock-price performance on Mr. Rovinescu’s watch.

The decision to buy back Aimia is also strategically and financially sound. Loyalty programs and the data they generate are valuable assets for airlines and credit-card companies. Along with Air Canada, this takeover is backed by Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada Corp. The consortium leaves long-time Aeroplan partner American Express on the outside looking in........Air Canada sold high on Aimia, then knocked the stuffing out of the company by ending its partnership. Now, the airline is buying low. Long-time Aimia shareholders will emerge from this journey badly bruised. But Mr. Rovinescu’s tactics are good business.

Students of corporate deal-making may recall how TD Bank, a member of the Aimia takeover consortium, played capital markets to its advantage. In 1999, the bank raised $1.5-billion by spinning off a stake in its discount brokerage division, TD Waterhouse. The move gave TD Bank the capital it needed to buy Canada Trust the following year, a transformative deal.

By 2001, the dot-com bubble had burst, taking with it the premium valuation on discount brokerages. The parent bank bought back TD Waterhouse for a fraction of the price it had sold shares for, just two years earlier. TD Waterhouse shareholders complained, but at the end of the day, they sold. TD Bank’s bosses came out of the experience with a stronger company and burnished reputations.
Aeroplan  Aimia  Air_Canada  Andrew_Willis  Bay_Street  Calin_Rovinescu  CEOs  credit_cards  deal-making  dealmakers  loyalty_management  offensive_tactics  hardball  financial_engineering  transformational 
july 2018 by jerryking
7 Closing Strategies to Double Your Average Sale Size
August 11 | Entrepreneur Magazine | Marc Wayshak - GUEST WRITER
Your success depends on closing bigger, better deals. Put your time and energy into prospects with the power to make large investments and introduce you to others who can do the same.

1. Get over your fear.
Many salespeople are simply too scared to sell to huge companies...... large companies face the same problems as your small customers do, just on a bigger scale. This means they need a bigger version of your solution -- and they have the budget to match. Get over your fear.

2. Stand apart from the crowd.
High-level prospects hear from an average of 10 salespeople every day. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll never get through to them or earn their trust. To double your average sales size, you must be intentional about standing apart from the crowd in your industry. While others pitch, you should ask questions. While others are enthusiastic, you should be low-key and genuine. While your competitors focus on their products, you should focus on your prospect’s deepest frustrations and show how you can solve them.

3. Stop selling to low-level prospects.
Selling low-level prospects harms your close rate and decreasing your average sale size. Low-level prospects simply don’t have the power or budget to tell you “yes." They’re not the decision-makers. If you want to increase the size of your sales, stop selling to prospects who lack the budget to invest in your solution.

4. Sell to decision-makers.
It’s a best practice to head straight to the top of the food chain and sell to directors, vice presidents, and C-level executives. They have the power and budget to say “yes” to your offer. If someone refers you back down the chain, you’re still landing an introduction to the right person -- by his or her boss, no less.

5. Stop cold-calling.
Cold calls are miserable. Try implementing a sales-prospecting campaign. Plan your calls, letters and emails as follow-ups to a valuable letter or package you send via FedEx. This could be a special report, unique sample or company analysis. These intentional, repeated touches over a series of months will set you up as a familiar name by the time you actually get your prospect on the phone. When a huge sale is on the line, you can afford to invest time and money to catch a single prospect’s attention.

6. Know the decision-making process.
If you’ve closed only small deals at small companies in the past, you might be accustomed to working with just one or two decision-makers at a time. In large corporations, the decision-making process can be much more complicated. One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is failing to understand the decision-making process. Get a grasp of this early on, and you can stay in front of the right people, build value for them and close your sales at higher prices.

7. Leverage sales for introductions.
When you close one large sale at a big organization, don’t stop there. Ask new customers for introductions to others in their company or network who could benefit from your offering. You have nothing to lose by asking for introductions, but failure to do so will cost you massive opportunity and revenue.
Gulliver_strategies  sales  fear  large_companies  differentiation  sales_cycle  buyer_choice_rejection  cold_calling  referrals  prospects  JCK  executive_management  campaigns  Aimia  LBMA  strategic_thinking  close_rate  questions  thinking_big  enterprise_clients  C-suite  low-key  authenticity  doubling  the_right_people 
august 2017 by jerryking
Big Data rewards come with tricky set of risks for companies - The Globe and Mail
SUSAN KRASHINSKY - MARKETING REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 03 2014

It was a sign that Loblaw Cos. Ltd. was taking a specific strategy with its loyalty program: telling people who shop at the company’s stores that their purchases would be recorded and tracked, but that they would be offered something of value in return: rewards for buying the things they like best.

In an age of “Big Data,” companies are scrambling to better target their communications with customers. If done right, businesses hope that this will eliminate more of the irrelevant advertising that makes people tune out at best and irritates them at worst.

But it has also thrown the advertising industry into a potentially damaging situation. As more of our behaviour is tracked, both online and off, many consumers are becoming wary about how their information is stored and used. Combine that with repeated instances of massive breaches of data security, and the corporate world faces the threat of losing the trust of consumers altogether....One area where consumer data is particularly important is in mobile advertising, where companies send people real-time offers on their mobile phones. But consumers are cautious. In supermarkets, 66 per cent of Canadians said that offers on their phones would make them uncomfortable.

“The complexity of the context is something that, if a marketer doesn’t feel their way through that, they can misstep,”
massive_data_sets  Loblaws  Susan_Krashinsky  data_breaches  mobile  contextual  advertising  loyalty_management  Aimia  privacy  risks  location_based_services  missteps 
november 2014 by jerryking
Finding gems of insight from customer data
Dec. 16 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by AMANDA HAY.

"Albert Einstein – “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” It’s not enough to be able do the calculations, build the models, run the analyses, you have to be able to articulate and justify your methods simply. Clients want insights they can use to generate revenue. Understanding your client’s business is key so that you can communicate with them in meaningful terms."
customer_loyalty  customer_insights  massive_data_sets  Aimia  loyalty_management  data  analytics  Albert_Einstein  insights  Communicating_&_Connecting  storytelling 
december 2013 by jerryking
Advertisers zeroing in on where, as well as who, you are
Apr. 04 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Susan Krashinsky.

The typical response rate for one of these campaigns is about 1 per cent. The location-specific campaign increased that by 400 per cent on average.

“There’s been a wholesale change in the amount …of data available and the tools available to actually understand it. It’s turning that data into knowledge that is the biggest task,” Mr. Okrucky said.

In an age where we transmit data from devices in our pockets many times a day, using information such as postal code profiles, housing statistics, and demographics by district may seem like an old-fashioned marketing tactic. And it is. But the processing of that information is changing rapidly: the ability to sort through massive data sets, to cross-reference them, and create detailed targets, has accelerated.

“It really gets to the cloud computing capability. We do programs with all these data sets very quickly. And some of the data sets can be absolutely massive,” said Phil Kaszuba, vice-president and general manager at DMTI.
Susan_Krashinsky  location  location_based_services  personalization  target_marketing  CDC  flu_outbreaks  massive_data_sets  advertising  data  databases  online_behaviour  behavioural_targeting  Aimia  LBMA  DMTI  specificity  response_rates  cloud_computing 
april 2013 by jerryking
The games customers play
October 6, 2011 | Report on Small Business | Omar El Akkad.
Gamification can make your brand appealing and addictive

Gamification refers to a strategy whereby interactions with a brand are made more appealing and addictive to consumers by incorporating tricks from the gaming world, such as high-score tables and achievement badges. Are such "achievements" almost completely worthless in the real world? Yes. Do consumers become mindlessly addicted to them anyway? Yes.

2. Think of gamification as a way of creating an Aeroplan-like loyalty program at a tiny fraction of the cost. Many businesses implement loyalty programs such as "get the 10th coffee free" cards. But Zichermann says free stuff is actually at the bottom of the list of what customers want. He uses the acronym SAPS: status, access, power, stuff. Those are the things loyal customers want, in that order. As such, lunch with the owner or a 15-minute head start on a sale for your best customers might be far more effective than a free coffee.

3. Figure out where your product fits into your customers' lives and help make that experience more meaningful.
in_the_real_world  games  Omar_el_Akkad  branding  gamification  loyalty_management  perks  customer_loyalty  customer_insights  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  Aeroplan  Aimia  brands 
october 2011 by jerryking

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