Today’s consumers have more choices than ever, which means brands need to work harder than ever to develop and maintain loyalty. Customer retention marketing targets these existing
customers in hopes of turning them into long-term repeat customers, and in today’s marketplace, it’s going to take the right blend of creativity and authenticity to stand out over
and over again.
Why Retention Marketing Matters
Attracting first-time customers is expensive and one experience is not enough for brand loyalty to root and bloom. Loyalty takes time and effort to build, and crafting a sustainable, engaging
brand is key in this fast-changing world. One approach, suggested by experts in the Harvard Business Review, involves four “prongs” to keep customers engaged and keep the brand feeling
fresh: mastery (offering exclusive rewards for using and engaging with the brand and its products), accessibility (make “entry-level” products as affordable, widely available, and widely
appealing as possible), cadence (keep up a steady stream of new content), and ensnarement (keep customers coming back with switching costs and network effects). 4 This kind of retention
marketing and brand-building requires long-term thinking and effort.
The “decline” of brand loyalty also has a generational component to consider. Research found that the oldest shoppers tend to be the most loyal, while the youngest generations are more
interesting in finding disruptors and new ways of doing things: 56% of Boomers are “brand loyalists," while only 37% of Gen Z fall into the same category. 5 That same research also found
that 80% of shoppers are using comparison shopping – mostly online – before making a final product purchase decision.
Simply attracting a customer once – perhaps during that “comparison shopping” stage – isn’t enough to garner repeat visits. Brands must prove themselves time and time again in order to
retain customers over time, and Allied is here to help!
Simple Steps for Today’s Marketers
So, what can marketers do to increase the odds of brand loyalty among their customers? Here are a few suggestions, based on current consumer behaviors.
- Make loyalty personal
“Traditional” loyalty programs have been a fairly structured model: think loyalty cards, basic rewards, and the occasional event or sale. Today, consumers are looking for something a little more in-depth and a little more personal. Brand loyalty is about brand relationships, so look for ways to reward loyalty in a more personal, customized way tailored to the individual shopper. Everyone has tons of data, so use it to make marketing more personal. This could be as simple as responding to collected customer data with a recommendation or coupon targeted at customers’ browsing choices or selected preferences, but even those simple steps can improve sales and loyalty.
- Keep Values in Mind
Younger shoppers – aka the generations where brand loyalty is waning – are more likely to view their purchasing behavior as an extension of their personality and core values. 68% of Millennials and Gen Z view shopping this way, compared with just 43% of Boomers. That means these younger consumers are more likely to stay loyal to a brand whose values align with theirs. Highlight the “good” your brand is doing to set it apart, whether that’s ethical manufacturing practices or a sustainability pledge or something else.
Celebrate milestone and anniversaries
Who doesn’t love to be celebrated? One simple way to help build brand loyalty is to celebrate and recognize existing customers. Sending out a gift or a special offer on a birthday or an “anniversary” of being a customer can make those customers feel like the brand pays attention and values them – and it also can nudge them into making a purchase when that special offer comes through.Focus on Authenticy
When faced with challenges like dwindling brand loyalty, it’s tempting to look for a cure-all or a flashy promotion that will “magically” grab everyone’s attention. Today’s consumers are much too savvy for that, however, and gimmicks are more likely than not to backfire. Instead, consumers will be loyal to brands that provide consistent, authentic, and high-quality products and services. Being the “reliable” one can build much more loyalty than anything else.
Supporting these programs requires the smart collection and use of customer data. With Allied Intelligence, we’ll take basic data and fully integrate it into marketing efforts, from list matching to customized mail pieces, personalized QR codes, and much more. Talk to your Allied team today about how our best-in-class data can support your customer retention strategy.