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One of the 24 Questions I use in my deep dive brand planning rigor is “How much company revenue comes from existing or repeat customers?” When I compare this figure with lost customer and new customer revenue I get a sense of a company’s loyalty, loss and business development focus.

If you look at marketing job boards today you will notice a great deal of acquisition activity.  The majority of marketers are absolutely smitten by new customers; it’s akin to generals in battle who need to take new territory. Loyalty marketers, on the other hand, know it is the back door, the door customers leave by, that is most critical. 


Loyalty is engendered when customers are not overlooked. Everyone knows a broken family where mommy or daddy found s new partner because back at home they felt underappreciated. This behavior not only breaks up families, it drives wedges between parents and children. Loyalty, love, under-appreciation and inquisitiveness are human traits. Marketers try to build love through the AIDA principle: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action, often forgetting Loyalty until it’s too late. Until the back door has been open too long.

Coupons (sorry honey flowers), shallow thank yous, and automated responses do not loyalty make. Understanding yourself and your customers through a well-principled brand plan, is the place to start. Otherwise, it’s off to the loyalty store for some quick fix tactics.  Peace.


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Here’s the thing about loyalty: Humans desire it but, frankly, are hard-pressed to embrace it. (Why else would one in two U.S. marriages end in divorce?) Brands seek loyalty because it keeps their marketing expenses down. Experts remind us we need to “delight” customers to engender loyalty, meaning don’t take them for granted, treat them better than family and provide unexpected, thoughtful product gestures. 


Creating incentive to remain loyal to a free Web property (part three in a series this week) may seem difficult but there’s a trick. The trick is the “brand promise.” Technology can be matched or mirrored by a competitor. Services can be matched by a competitor. But it is harder to match a promise.


Companies that look within, find a value that customers want and they alone can provide, can maintain an edge in loyalty.  I wrote a position paper for a free Web property entitled “Technology, service or brand?” The brand promise was future-ready and stood long after the platform morphed and evolved. More importantly, it helped provide direction to that evolution.


Loyalty is constantly being tested and needs to be strengthened over time. If a free online property has a good brand promise and stays loyal to that promise, that’s a huge start. 

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