Measuring and Managing Customer Profitability

Gary Cokins

Gary Cokins

Gary Cokins is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, and author in enterprise and corporate performance management improvement methods and business analytics. He is the founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management, an advisory firm located in Cary, North Carolina. Gary began his career as a strategic planner with FMC Link-Belt...
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60 Mins
Gary Cokins

The only value a company will ever create for its shareholders and owners is the value that comes from its customers – current ones and new ones acquired in the future. To remain competitive, companies must determine how to retain customers longer, grow them into bigger customers, make them more profitable, serve them more efficiently, and target acquiring more profitable customers.

Customers increasingly view suppliers’ products and standard service lines as commodities. This means that suppliers must shift their actions toward differentiating their services, offers, discounts, and deals to different types of existing customers to retain and grow them. Further, they should concentrate their marketing and sales efforts on acquiring new customers who have traits comparable to those of their relatively more profitable customers.

As a result of this shift from being product-centric to customer centric there needs to be an increased emphasis on measuring current and future potential profitability of products, standard service-lines, channels, and customers. (For business to consumer (B2C) industries, there is need to also consider applying of “customer lifetime value (CLV)” metrics.)

A mind-shift is needed from pursuing increased sales volume at any cost … to profitable sales volume. Cost accounting leveraging business analytics is essential to achieve this result. Organizations realize it is substantially more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. This focus on customer retention combined with the recognition that spray-and-pray mass marketing of products and service-lines is being eclipsed by direct one-to-one to marketing with customers and prospects is causing the need for the marketing function to require financial data on customer profits and future value. Why? Because given any company’s scarce resources, it should attract its relatively more profitable customers rather than high maintenance ones whose substantial cost-to-serve erodes profit margins.

The Internet is irreversibly shifting power from sellers to buyers. Suppliers must react. Earning, not just buying, customer loyalty is now mandatory. A popular term in CRM circles is customer lifetime value (CLV) – measuring each customer as if they are an investment with an ROI. Is this another fad or a real need?
Join this webinar to know which types of customers are worth more to retain, grow, acquire, or win-back? And types are not worth pursuing? And how much should you optimally spend on each type of customer micro-segment?

Webinar Objectives

  • Why customers are the source of shareholder wealth creation.
  • Why as differentiation from product advantages is reduced or neutralized due to commoditization, then service level differentiation matters, and the customer relationship grows in importance as a competitive advantage.
  • How to shift the mindset from growing sales to growing profitable sales and to view customers as investments like in a stock portfolio to seek higher ROIs – return on customers (ROC).
  • Why the marketing and sales functions need accounting data to better formulate customer account strategies including compensation incentives.
  • How to measure and manage product, channel, and customer profitability.
  • How measuring forward-looking customer lifetime value (CLV) differs from calculating historical customer / consumer profitability for B2C industries.

Webinar Agenda

  • Are our product and service-line costs accurate? 
  • Do we properly “allocate” our indirect expenses (i.e., overhead) to calculate reasonably accurate product and service-line costs based on “causal” relationships? Or do we “butter spread” expenses with cost allocation factors simultaneously over- and under-cost products and service-lines? 
  • Do we measure non-product channel and customer expenses (e.g., distribution channels, selling, marketing, customer service) to report profit or loss by each customer?
  • Do we know which customers are more attractive to retain, grow, win-back and acquire?
  • For the more attractive customers, do we know the ROI from our different actions to achieve profit lift from them (e.g., price discounts, deals, offers, coupons)?

Webinar Highlights

  • The six eras of management accounting including the shift from product and service-lines to a customer-centric one.
  • The continuum of direct costing from project accounting to standard costing to activity-based costing (ABC).
  • Basic concepts about activity-based costing (ABC).
  • Why “cost-to-serve” expenses (e.g., distribution, marketing, selling, customer service) expenses are more important than product and service-line expenses.
  • How to quickly design and implement a customer profitability measurement system in weeks, not months, using rapid prototyping.
  • Actions taken with the information to make customers more profitable.

Who Should Attend

  • CxOs
  • CFOs
  • Financial officers and controllers
  • Managerial and cost accountants
  • Financial and business analysts
  • Budget managers
  • Strategic planners
  • Marketing and sales managers
  • Supply chain analysts
  • Risk managers
  • CIO and information technology staff
  • Board of Directors
To access this webinar, kindly reach out to our customer support team at

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