seal  Purdue News

June 24, 2003

Agribusiness seminar calculates value of customer relationship management

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue agribusiness experts will introduce concepts and tools to understand and calculate the value of customer relationships in a management seminar on July 14 and 15.

The sixth annual Strategic Customer Relationship Management (CRM) seminar targets agribusiness marketing and sales managers who want to strengthen their customer relations programs. The seminar is presented by the Center for Food and Agricultural Business in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue.

"There is so much consolidation in the agriculture industry, it is essential for agribusiness managers to maintain a good relationship with each key account," said Jay Akridge, Purdue professor of agricultural economics and director of the university's Center for Food and Agricultural Business.

Paul Wang, associate professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at Northwestern University and a CRM expert, will facilitate the seminar with Akridge.

Wang conducts numerous executive training seminars at Northwestern and in the private sector for firms such as Lexus/Toyota, UPS, Hewlett-Packard, The Limited, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Hyatt International. Wang will guide participants through discussions and exercises on developing CRM strategies.

"There is nothing more fundamental to your agribusiness team than the relationship with your customers," said Akridge. "When building a strong relationship with a customer, one must realize the unique needs of that customer. By truly understanding customer needs, one may build profitable relationships with current accounts and find ways to target other potential customers with similar needs."

Featured sessions in the CRM seminar include: relevancy and uniqueness, segmentation and measurement, customer lifetime value, managing customers for profit, technology and customer relationship management, and commitment and reward. Additionally, a representative from the Royal Bank of Canada will discuss changes in the technology used in customer relationship management.

A tool used during a simulation in the seminar is the Customer Lifetime Value Calculator, which places a monetary value on customer relationships. The calculator, created by the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, first figures annual customer profitability, and then uses a discounted cash flow technique to compute the value of the relationship in today’s dollars.

"The calculator helps you understand which customer yields the most profit. Then the key is to find more customers just like that one," said Akridge

Akridge said with the essential tools and concepts presented at the seminar participants can find ways to deepen relationships with their key accounts.

The fee for the seminar is $895, which includes all instruction and program materials, refreshments during breaks, daily lunches and an evening networking event reception.

For more information about the CRM seminar, contact Sharie Wall, senior project manager, at To register for the seminar, contact Aissa Slayton, program manager, at (765) 496-3884, or by email at Or to register online go to .

Writer: Meggie Issler (765) 494-8402,

Source: Jay Akridge, (765) 494-4327,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

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