Is Brand Loyalty still relevant for customers? In a market where the limitations of space and time are canceled by technology – and we can buy everything we want directly with a tap on a mobile screen – does it make sense to talk about loyalty?
The answer is ‘Yes’ to both questions. Customer Loyalty is still relevant, but it is hard to get and even harder to retain as the competition is so tight. This is the starting point of The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty, our new checklist that will help you improve your strategy and evolve to stay relevant.
As said, loyalty is still important and will continue to be in the next future. Indeed, in times when we have become accustomed to brand switching and polygamous loyalty, the ability to attract and retain the attention and engagement of customers is even more critical.
The reason lies not only in the economic value of this long-lasting relationship – loyal customers buy more and more often – but also in exponential effects regarding competitive advantage (i.e. the sharing of ‘positive vibrations’ in their communities and social networks).
If the intrinsic value of the customer loyalty remains unchanged, however, the same can not be said of the relationship between companies and people. This connection has been deeply altered by the advent of the digital technology, that has shaped the market scenario in which we have been immersed for more than ten years now.
Not to mention that the pace of this change has further accelerated with the advent of the mobile devices. In a few years, in fact, the smartphone has become the primary point of reference we all turn to when we need information and make weighted decisions.
Whether it is a car purchase, a comparison between two TV models, a holiday booking, the choice of the perfect outfit for the evening, or the sharing of our opinions, the answer is always there, in the palm of our hand.
If we turn the focus on the Brand, the story remains the same: the smartphone is the primary means of spreading contents and messages. When it comes to digital customers (Millennials and Generation Z above all), there is no engagement and loyalty strategy without mobile technology.
We want to emphasize the fact that technology is, as always, a means and not the ultimate goal of your strategy: the solution is not to recreate, in the digital context, the old dynamics of engagement and fidelization typical of the offline world (a virtual loyalty card, to name one).
The reason is that today people do not just want to buy products or services. They want to live experiences. At the heart of any loyalty strategy, there should be the awareness of the value of customer experience as the primary factor of differentiation on the market.
According to Gartner, 89% of companies expect that the decisive battle for relevance on the digital markets will be fought in the field of customer experience. It is not a coincidence: people already consider the experience more important than price and the product itself.
In order to grow your business, you must build personal relationships with customers. Focusing on the experience is the only way to move from a utilitarian loyalty (I spend, and you give me a tangible prize in return) to an emotional loyalty (I choose you because I feel I am an integral part of the Brand).
The evolution from a traditional fidelization to the ‘new customer loyalty‘ is not easy or immediate, but it is necessary if you want to survive in an ecosystem increasingly saturated and competitive. To move towards the future, you must first take a step back, admitting that you do not know your customers, despite the Big Data and your CRM.
The amount of information about customers that the technology makes available to companies is of no use if you do not know what to look for, how to move from macro to micro, and ultimately how to get an intimate understanding of the person.
Before even thinking about customer engagement and loyalty, you have to understand people. Choices are mainly driven by emotional elements, so you need another key to read the traits of personality, behaviors, attitudes, thought patterns, and prejudices.
We are talking about the final step from the study of the Demographics – which tell you who the customers are – to the Psychographics – which tell you what they think and what they want.
Only by studying these essential hidden traits you will be able to gather and select the data you need to personalize experiences and messages. Understanding is the basic requirement to convert customers into Brand Ambassadors.
The purpose of The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty is to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, to create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.