Which? Case Study

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The challenge –Business Transformation and Strategy Audit

Which? is a highly respected consumer organisation with a powerful subscription business of 800k consumers, some of whom have been members for 20-25 years.  It has significant brand loyalty in a valuable demographic the over 50′s.  But how safe is this business in a digital world with (predominantly) young consumers using reviews readily found around the web for free?

Chris worked with me and other Executive Board and senior colleagues on a variety of different initiatives on an interim basis at the beginning of 2013.

Drawing on his extensive experience from a wide variety of media organisations Chris was instrumental in helping us develop and articulate a clear strategic direction for our UK publishing business.

His conclusions and recommendations were built on sound analysis. He successfully challenged a number of our underlying assumptions (and slaughtered a few sacred cows on the way!) And, critically, he built consensus for his conclusions and recommendations from the CEO downwards.

Chris has in-depth knowledge of the media world and broad based commercial and marketing experience which we valued. But what I particularly liked about Chris was the role he played as a critical yet constructive friend – pointing out things that didn’t make sense, and then doing something about it.

Chris Gardner – Managing Director  Which? Publishing

The goal

Audit the business and assess how future proof Which? was.  Establish key recommendations that would help transform Which? and set it in on a new path for the next 10 years.

The approach

  • Work with CEO and MD and Senior management exec
  • In depth audit of consumer insight and performance data.
  • Consultative workshop to establish objections and opportunities with regards to the strategic approach.

The learnings

Which? primary asset is its membership base and affinity in a demographic. This is the over 50′s market. Rather than chasing a younger demographic Which can successfully focus on super-serving this audience, a demographic that is set to double in the next 20 years, that controls 50% of the online e-commerce spend.

A successful direct marketing funnel operation needs tweaking in the modern age. With the proliferation of media-channels and media choice there is a need to focus on super-serve the existing audience and   focus on providing a functional and emotional attachment with its membership base.

The success

A new strategic narrative focusing on maximising the core business opportunities and organising the whole of the commercial business around two imperatives.  Focus on the Over 50′s target audience and superserving the existing membership base more effectively.

A series of strategic initiatives:

  • Proposition development and Partnership strategy for Which? Local
  • Commercial Opportunities for new ventures such as Which? University.
  • An examination of the customer research and performance measures, to ensure information was turned into insight.