What's happened to loyalty?
In the last few years, I have noticed a worrying trend. Loyalty seems to have become less important as consumers have more power and greater expectations and are being presented with increased choice, competitive pricing and comparison websites.
In addition people in general are less bothered by upsetting brands or people as long as they feel they are getting a deal or there is something in it for them! So if the loyalty mind-set has shifted to value, savings or just financial rewards, where does that leave your marketing?
Not very many years ago when you had a client that knew, liked and trusted you, that used to mean they were locked into using your product/service or brand for a while. But now, that’s no longer the case and that seems to have left some businesses floundering and unsure what to do next.
Authenticity and meaningful experiences
To me, it’s all about being authentic. Real, honest and engaging are the words I would use to describe how brands today need to appeal to their buyers of tomorrow. In order to earn loyalty you have to create a meaningful experience with your customers. What do I mean by this?
We live in an experience-driven world. Consumers gravitate toward those experiences that provide them with the stimulation they are looking for. People have become sensitive about how they spend their time and what inspires them to do so. If a brand focuses more on trying to sell consumers their products/services rather than finding ways to creatively engage with them and solve a need, their brand will not survive.
Who do you trust?
So in a week where I heard a lady at a networking event refer someone to a business that does social media management (where she gets a referral fee) when her friend stood next to her and also offers social media management, it seems as if even those closest to us cannot be trusted to “big” up our businesses when there may be something more attractive (usually financially motivated) options making them behave differently!
Be true to your values
My advice is simple. You win some and you lose some and you have to make peace with the fact that not everyone you meet holds the same values as you do! Loyalty may have died, but if you are the type of business who puts their customers first, practices honesty and authenticity and who values interaction and encourages engagement, you will be fine, just as long as you follow my quick marketing 1, 2, 3.
1. Treat customers well
2. Be transparent
3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep