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McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Winning the Customer: Turn Consumers into Fans and Get Them to Spend More / Edition 1

Winning the Customer: Turn Consumers into Fans and Get Them to Spend More / Edition 1

by Lou ImbrianoLou Imbriano
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Build Customer Relationships and Win Big Revenue!

“Unbreakable relationships are crucial to success in business. Lou Imbriano captures what it takes to forge the kind of deep credibility that encourages consumers and clients to trust you with their hard-earned dollars. If you want to deepen your customers’ trust and grow your revenues, I suggest you read Winning the Customer and you will win.”
—Bob Reynolds, President & CEO, Putnam Investments

“Lou Imbriano rescues the word ‘winning’ from the clutches of Charlie Sheen . . . and, like a Patriots playbook, Lou takes you through his game plan for successfully building a victorious team that opponents will respect and fear . . . from who should be answering your phone to effectively saying ‘no,’ it’s all there . . . lazy, unmotivated people, this is not for you. . . .”
—Steve Levy, ESPN SportsCenter anchor

“Imbriano definitely made his mark in the NFL and now he’s an MVP again with his new book, Winning the Customer. Lou’s down-to-earth marketing philosophies, which he brought to the Patriots, epitomize how everyone, in any industry, should approach marketing. If you want to truly know how to build remarkable business relationships, read Winning the Customer.”
—Michael O’Hara Lynch, Head of Global Sponsorship, Visa

“At a time when consumers have the power to use media where and how they choose, to like, dislike, and share their opinion on products and corporations, brand engagement is the best answer to build emotional and enduring relationships between brands and all their relevant communities. This book should be given to anyone who wants to understand the new dynamics that can bond brands with their ever-demanding customers.”
—Lucien Boyer, President & Global CEO, Havas Sports & Entertainment

About the Book:

During his nine years in senior marketing positions with the New England Patriots, Lou Imbriano laid the foundation and marketing vision for the football team that led to its astronomical growth and explosive revenue—perfectly positioning them to be ready for when the Patriots became repeat Super Bowl champions and the NFL brand to beat.

Now CEO of TrinityOne, a strategic marketing firm, Lou has an undefeated record of showing all types of companies how to tackle customer relationships and convert them into tangible revenue. In Winning the Customer, Lou delivers his original strategies for both short- and long-term financial success:

  • The Marketing Playbook: how to identify those who are dying to spend money with you
  • Relationship Architecture: how to connect with customers in meaningful ways and create “memorable moments”
  • The Revenue Game: how to build revenue instead of selling concepts

Throughout the book, you’ll find Lou’s dynamic personal stories drawn right from his years of real-world business experience. He’s learned that to maximize revenue, every organization must both turn its customers into fans and coax those fans to spend freely. Winning the Customer shows you how to do just that using the Three Tiers of Customer Relationships. Imbriano shares his strategies with his innovative DELIVERS system: Dedication, Entertainment, Loyalty, Investment, Vision, Energy, Responsibility, and Sacrifice.

Filled with practical information and written in Lou’s inimitable conversational style,
Winning the Customer is your all-pro offensive attack against old, ineffective methods and flat results. Lou’s tools will give any business an inspired team, supersized income, and a virtual stadium full of engaged, high-paying customers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071775267
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 08/19/2011
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 951,348
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lou Imbriano, the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the New England Patriots football team from 1997-2006, is President and CEO of TrinityOne, a marketing company specializing in creating strategy for corporations to maximize revenue generation through building customer relationships and becoming custodians of the brand. Formerly a radio and TV producer, he has appeared on numerous local Boston radio and television programs. Lou has been profiled on as one of its “Names You Need to Know” and has written multiple columns for the Sports Business Journal. Lou, who teaches sports marketing at Boston College, is based in Boston, MA. Visit Lou at

Elizabeth King, a professional writer and test preparation educator, is author of Outsmarting the SAT. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt




The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2012Lou Imbriano
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-177529-8




For most of the team's early existence, the New England Patriots brand was widely considered all-around flimsy: a marginal team on the playing field and a mediocre, middle-of-the-pack business organization. Everything about the organization reeked of poor business planning and knee-jerk decision making. Games were rarely sold out, and I remember as a kid following the news to see if the coming Sunday's home game was going to be blacked out on TV because of the lack of interest in attending games at Foxboro Stadium. The stadium was built on the cheap and was outdated as soon as it opened. When it rained, the concourses flooded. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you there was not one true fan amenity in that building; its most egregious flaw was posing as an NFL stadium while offering only cold aluminum benches instead of seats. Those metal benches epitomized price-driven decision making and made it blatantly clear that no thought had been given to the fans.

Today, just about anyone who is familiar with the team, fan or not, views the organization as a model franchise—both on the field and in its business structure and execution—and it has the Forbes magazine cover story to prove it. As with the vast majority of successful businesses, transforming it from so-so to a powerhouse did not occur overnight; it took years of careful reorganization from the ground up (and the top down) to reinvent both the brand and the business model to the level of excellence it now enjoys.

When I joined the New England Patriots back in 1997, the transformation had already been set in motion. The rebuilding of the organization had begun, initiated shortly after the Kraft family purchased the team and grounded in the family's clear vision of the team's future. Because the Krafts had owned Foxboro Stadium prior to buying the team, they enjoyed an inside position; they were primed to apply their business success in other industries to the team, and they had a real understanding of how to turn the franchise around. When the Kraft family bought the team, it focused on cleaning up the image and experience of going to games at Foxboro Stadium. That transition was going to require migrating the team's business practices from a transactional to a relationship-oriented model.

Whether you realize it or not, you're already deeply familiar with transactional business models. Those folks selling bouquets of flowers on the street at stoplights are the simplest example. As you slow down to stop at the red light, they come to your window, hoping you will buy a bunch for $10. If you do, they grab the ten-spot, hand you your flowers, and you're off. They are, too—in hopes of landing their next sucker. This is a purely transactional sale. It's not quite so cut-and-dried in the context of an enormous organization like the Patriots, but the model is transactional just the same. Let's look at one specific area of the organization so you can get a better idea of what I mean: sponsorship.

The reason companies sponsor the team is to use the Patriots' identity and assets for their own branding and marketing initiatives. Before the rebuilding of the organization, selling a sponsorship package would go something like this: the sponsorship sales reps would get a meeting with a company they felt would buy in, show up at the meeting, and plunk down a package of team and stadium assets like signs, media, and logo rights. The sales team's approach was to always focus on selling the inventory that it had in stock, so if it hadn't sold enough, say, signs for the year, that would be the first thing on the table for sale to a potential sponsor—whether or not it was relevant to that company. The ways in which the company could use the inventory were not an important part of the equation. The team just wanted to sell its inventory and was focused on getting the sale.

Once the transaction was complete, the sales reps were off to the next sale. It was almost like, "Thanks for signing the contract. See you in three years!" (at the deal's expiration date). The process was all about closing business and not about producing results for the customers, which, at the time, was a typical way of doing business in the NFL and other leagues. Unfortunately, some teams still operate this way, not recognizing that transactional business is built around short-term gain and sacrifices long-term vision and sustainability.

The biggest issue with this approach was that when the contract expired, evaluating whether the inventory had helped the sponsor see a return on its investment was about as reliable as flipping a coin. Let's face it: it is pretty difficult to determine whether a sign in a stadium actually drove business to your company. Come budget evaluation time, things that aren't easily quantified are easier to do without. If the added value couldn't be proven, sponsors might not renew, which further forced the staff to operate in a reactionary, year-to-year selling method. They continuously worked to replace lost sponsors, each rep a hamster running on its wheel—there was plenty of motion, but no progress.

A cycle like this obviously hampers revenue growth; it's a struggle just to keep up with the status quo. At a football team, revenue-generation plans like this are disastrous for the team because the marketing group ends up being dependent on wins to fuel the team's financial advances—when the team wins, it makes money selling more merchandise, tickets, and sponsorship. The problem is that a sports team's winning is unpredictable, and the folks in marketing have zero control over the performance of the team. Having a marketing plan based on wins and losses will cause you to lose revenue. It's a stupid plan.

Dependence on the team's win record is not a great strategy for generating recurring revenue, and the same is true for any other business. You sell a product or service, but no organization should rely purely on the validity of the product to generate revenue. No matter how significant the brand, it's the relationship that the organization forms with its consumers to cause continued revenue growth that drives revenue. We're going to get into how to generate revenue beyond your product in great detail in this book, but implementing a business structure that supports relational business is the first step in getting there.


A product alone does not create fans of a brand; it's the harmonious dance between the product and its positioning that does so. The teamwork between product design and marketing is crucial to ensure maximum growth. While the owners of the Patriots were working to rebuild the product, the team, and the stadium, our group was charged with developing a marketing structure that would win customers, regardless of the team's wins and losses.

I want to pause here because I realize that it's easy to believe that winning on the field solves everything. Yes, winning on the field is awesome, but without the right structure and plan in place, it's impossible to capitalize on those wins. Similarly, you may have the best product for sale, a product that's far better than your closest competitor's, but if your business structure isn't built to support it efficiently, you are not marketing it properly, and you're neglecting to create relationships with your consumer, you will never maximize your revenue opportunity. Always remember, revenue begins with the product; it doesn't end there.

It was clear from the outset at the Patriots that we had to build a different model to secure financial sustainability—we had to become relationship-orien

Excerpted from WINNING THE CUSTOMER by LOU IMBRIANO. Copyright © 2012 by Lou Imbriano. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xix

Part 1 The Marketing Playbook: Marketing Operations are your foundation 1

Chapter 1 Transactional Versus Relationship Marketing Model 5

Designing a Business Operations Model Built for Revenue 7

Changing How We Thought about Teamwork 8

Don't Cover Up the Weak Spots 11

Management: Reinforcing and Defining Roles 11

Defining Your Structure 12

Putting People in Position to Win 13

Key System Elements 15

How to Thrive in a Structure as an Employee 17

Put the CMO in Charge of Both Sales and Marketing 19

Think Like a Structured CMO Even If You're a Team of One 20

Creating Connection Across Departments: Custodians of the Brand 21

Going Beyond Reception 23

Chapter 2 Consumer Affinity: Making Fans of your customers 25

Creating Fans 25

Identifying Fans of Your Company 27

The Rings of Fan Avidity 30

Moving Fans to the Inner Rings 32

Promotions that Move People Through the Rings 33

Simple, Creative, and Dominating 34

Little Bit of Time, Big Impact 39

Promotions foe Different Ps 40

Shock and Awe 41

Final Thoughts 42

Chapter 3 Building Revenue-Generating Extentions 45

The Three-tier customer model 47

Getting Started: Organizing Your Tiers 47

The First Tier: Your Season Ticket Holders 48

The Third Tier: The Corporate Sponsors 49

The Second Tier: Club Seats 50

Initial efforts: How building a new stadium revolutionized our marketing 51

Never Close the Opportunity for Further Revenue 54

Identifying and Creating Tiers at Your Company 56

The Birth of the Revenue-Generating Extension 58

Revenue-generating extensions 61

Don't Forget the Customer Service 63

Making it your own 70

Final Thoughts 71

Part 2 Relationship architecture: Building remarkable business relationships 73

Chapter 4 Delivers 77

D: Dedication 81

Your Individual Business Brand 82

Saying No Can Be a Positive 83

E: Energy 84

Positive Energy Evokes a Positive Response 85

Find Your Trigger 85

L: Loyalty 86

The Independent Problem Solver 86

I: Invest 88

V: Vision 91

E: Engage and Entertain 93

R: Responsibility 95

s: Sacrifice 97

Relationship Architecture is a Discipline 99

Chapter 5 The Ten Commandments of Relationship Building 101

The Art of the Icebreaker 101

It Takes Only One Change in a Process to Make a Difference 104

Controlling the Process 105

The ten commandments of organizing a business relationship 106

1 Thou Shouldst Always Review the Business card of Anyone You Meet 107

2 Create a File and a System to Capture Information about the Relationship 109

3 Follow Up with Any Person You Meet 111

4 Honor Your Relationship and Gather Information 112

5 Thou Shalt Not Stop Here 115

6 Send Periodic Notes to Keep Communication Flowing 115

7 Surprise People by Remembering Something That Is Very Important to Them 115

8 Invite People to an Event That You Can Attend Together 118

9 See That What You Do Delivers to the Relationship 118

10 Repeat Commandments 6 through 9 on a Consistent Basis 119

Chapter 6 Creating Memorable Moments 121

Memorable moments 121

Magnitude or Attitude? 124

The Bow 127

Finding the Bow and Tying It Perfectly 130

It's All about the Execution 131

The Hunt for the Perfect Bow 131

Groups: Exponentially Magnified Relationships 134

Relationships Equal Revenue 135

Your network, not your net worth 137

Part 3 The revenue game: Converting Relationships into revenue 139

Chapter 7 Build, don't sell 141

Stop selling 141

Keep the Contract in the Drawer 143

Forgoing the short-term sale 146

Listen and Solve 147

Always be creating 148

Closing Isn't Selling 150

Cold Calling 151

Seven deadly sins of sales and marketing 156

Greed 156

Gluttony 156

Envy 157

Sloth 157

Pride 157

Lust 158

Wrath 159

Chapter 8 Revenue generation: The new business funnel 161

The nine steps of the new business funnel 162

1 Prospecting 162

2 Research 165

3 Identify Your Target List (Short List) 168

4 Relationship Architecture 170

5 Needs Analysis 173

6 Create a Pertinent Program 176

7 Pitch the Concept 179

8 Exchange Ideas to Get to the Close 182

9 Close/Dead 182

Creating and generating 184

Chapter 9 Don't spike the ball on the five-yard line 185

The five factors of drive 186

Direction 186

Desire 186

Discipline 187

Determination 187

Destination 187

Sometimes you just have to suck it up 188

Giving up is not part of the plan 190

Quit 190

Stay the Course 191

Adapt and Overcome 193

Don't be a doormat 196

When the dust settles: the tasmanian devil effect 200

There's a price for everything 203

Afterword 207

Index 209

Customer Reviews