- Programme: Strategic Branding
- Nationality: Italian
- Job Post-programme: Marketing Responsible, Axpo Trading
Alex Benincà completed London Business School’s Customer Focused Marketing programme in November 2012. Currently heading a new role as Marketing Responsible with Axpo Trading, he is also a successful entrepreneur with a passion for delivering a premium, high value customer experience.
Setting Yourself Apart
I had very clear goals going into the programme. My previous company went through a period of substantial restructuring following its acquisition by Axpo. As a result, I came out of it with a completely new position, in a new department. This meant that I had the luxury of growing the role myself, but it also meant I urgently needed to freshen up my marketing skills.
Leveraging Customer Insights
My area of focus within Axpo is growing the origination business – that is innovative and customised energy products and solutions. Straight away I was tasked with increasing revenues by reviewing the business plans of all our hub offices across Europe. To meet this challenge, I needed a marketing course that offered me a strong theoretical foundation, that was hands-on, and that was applicable back in the workplace.
I chose this programme because I liked the fact that course participants are from a wide range of industries, and very global. Most importantly, it’s a customer-focused programme, one that emphasises the value of the consumer landscape and uses customer insight as a means of gaining competitive advantage.
The programme has rewarded me with measurable and concrete outcomes almost immediately. Previous business models within our organisation had focused on selling what each individual department did, but I have been able to flip this approach completely on its head. The Spanish hub was my first project, so I began by looking at our customer base there. Management has now seen my plan and approved the logic going forwards. It was risky to adopt a new strategy in such a new role, but I get huge satisfaction in bringing change to an organisation at this level.
The programme’s impact on my own start-up has also been significant. In 2011, I launched Cosmobutler. This is an online shirt laundering company with a pick-up and delivery service. This evolved out of my frustration at local dry cleaners' inconvenient opening hours and poor cleaning and ironing quality. One of my key learning’s was the detrimental effect of discounting on perceived value and profit margins.
Since completing the course, I am more confident about remaining premium with my pricing and differentiating my product offering to ensure our customers fully understand the value of the service. We expanded into a full laundry service in November 2012 and are well on track to grow the business into new markets.
Creating Value for the Customer
I don’t believe in making money just for the sake of it, but I do see it as a by-product of success. To me, business is a game. I love the idea of creating something new, providing a service that has highvalue for the customer and where the perceived value is much more than has been paid. The logic of the programme supports this. Instead of targeting a market with an existing product, you need to realign your offering around customer needs. As I expand my role at Axpo and grow Cosmobutler further, my challenge is to ensure I keep my focus on customer needs; the competition will follow.