I found Barbara Bund Jackson’s book through a citation in an old article. The book seems to be now out of print. The book was published in 1985, so being out of print is understandable given it is a bit dated. The examples tend to be about what IBM did in the 60s and 70s and Xerox’s copier strategy. Plus, honestly, the book is a little dry compared to many ‘more fun’ marketing books published nowadays. That said, Jackson made a significant contribution to the field of understanding markets and customers. She deserves credit for her ideas which I think, although I wasn’t around at the time, include lost for good and always a share markets.
Models And CLV
Scholars who investigate customer-related notions will know the terms, lost for good and always a share. These are typically applied to approaches to CLV. A lost for good model is typically used in more subscription-based markets. The marketer either has a relationship with the customer or doesn’t. The customer relationship is alive and well or it has been lost. (Asking questions about how ex-customers should be treated in models gets a bit more complex but let’s ignore that for now).
Always a share markets are much more messy. The marketer gains a share of the customer’s wallet but this can change between periods, e.g. 40% this month, 20% next month, 50% the month after etc… The models can be, in many ways, harder to use if the relationship waxes and wanes but still exists.
Lost For Good And Always A Share Markets
It is worth saying that Jackson introduces the ideas in respect of B2B markets rather than customer-valuation models per see. She didn’t worry about the math as much as the later modelers but talked about the strategic implications.
The sort of markets she talked about were often big-ticket items with large ongoing commitments. I know exactly what she meant. I remember signing copier contracts in the 90s and the costs and commitments were truly staggering. Because of the cost and commitment what supplier to use was a massive decision for the buyer. This changed the entire market. Jackson lays out what this means. There is a lot of detail on the implications of large commitments for long-term relationship marketing. (Contrasted with shorter-term transactional marketing). Switching costs, the inability to easily change suppliers for whatever reason — including psychological reasons — matter. They are a key driver of the market.
Changing The Market
She also talks about ways the marketer can impact how the market is. And, crucially, how the market is seen by the customer. Actions taken by the marketer change the market. For example, marketers can allow for decisions to be broken up. Common technology/size/materials standards might make buying a piece of equipment from one supplier less of a commitment. With common standards, future purchases from different suppliers should still fit with the initial purchase. This makes the initial commitments less dramatic.
In general, it seems reasonable to conclude that the big names were happy if the market had big risky commitments. ‘No one ever got fired for buying IBM’ is a classic saying that fits well here. In a world of risk, the big established players look especially safe and appealing. This is especially true when the buyer at the customer organization is more likely to be punished for a mistake than rewarded for success.
Always A Share Is Not The Same As Not Having A Relationship
Given Jackson looked at B2B markets and not the models any connection to the later CLV literature is imperfect. Many in always a share markets would, rightly, argue that their relationship with the customer is long term despite not having 100% of their needs satisfied. General Mills might not get 100% of a consumer’s cereal purchases. Still, it would be a bit odd to say the consumer didn’t have some sort of long-term commitment to Cheerios if that is their favorite cereal and they purchase it regularly. Still, you can see how this work had a significant influence.
The Origin Of Ideas
Jackson’s ideas of lost for good and always a share are not 100% the same as many might think of them now but ideas evolve. It is always great to go back a little and see where the ideas were coming from.
You can also google a background story of her work not being appreciated at Harvard so she sued for sex discrimination. Given it was the 1980s it would be quite surprising if she didn’t have a valid case, see here for a few more details. (Apparently the judge thought Harvard wasn’t guilty despite the school having burnt the records). This makes it especially good to give her credit even if it is a couple of generations on.
Read: Barbara Bund Jackson (1985) Winning And Keeping Industrial Customers: The Dynamics Of Customer Relationships, Lexington Books