Understand Customer Value First and Lasting Brand Loyalty Will Follow
Brand loyalty starts with a deep understanding of the value of your best and worst customers. To get there, you need to conduct a full data assessment. This should include an understanding of all available data sources, an evaluation of data collection techniques for extraction and manipulation, and an analysis of data gaps.
Once the data has come together, you’ll need a data visualization tool to derive insights. An intuitive end-user tool for marketers (not superusers or IT rock stars) will ensure that easy exploration of data and quick creation of “what if” scenarios are at the brand manager’s fingertips. That’s when the heavy lifting begins. With the data collection initiative completed, you can develop a customer value-based segmentation. Making the data useful through modeling and scoring brings customer value to life and allows you to build brand initiatives based on customer insights.
Once you understand your customers’ value, focus on relevant, targeted brand initiatives to drive increased loyalty. Here are five basic tenets you need to consider:
1. Build a relationship by providing a platform for social interaction. People connect with brands in myriad ways. Provide them with the opportunity to connect and converse with your brand on their terms. Respect your relationship by providing a preference management center to address privacy concerns and empower the customer to command the conversation. Most importantly, if you ask for their preferences, adhere to their requests.
2. The mission of your company must hit a nerve with your most valued customers. Promote what your company believes in every time you communicate with your best customers. An emotional connection will drive customer engagement.
3. Create a rewards program. Your most loyal customers already love what you sell. Share coupons with fans and followers, and email special promotion codes to loyal customers above a purchase threshold. Provide a special free report to your most loyal subscribers. Reward programs can be expensive, but they're major drivers for sustained brand loyalty. Be sure to track results to gauge effectiveness and identify areas of improvement.
4. Enlist feedback from your valued customers. Provide your high-value customers with a reason to talk about you. Incentivize customers to review your products, talk about their last in-store experience, and vote on their favorite color or version of your new product release. Your most valued customers could be your most valued focus group. Make it easy for them to contribute.
5. Highlight your employees. Your best customers want to connect to your best employees. Similar to promoting what your company believes in, spotlighting your employees can provide an emotional connection to the company for your most valued customers — while driving employee satisfaction and retention.
Increasing brand loyalty starts with an in-depth understanding of customers’ behaviors and preferences. From there you can turn that understanding into programs that drive bottom-line results. Whether you’re establishing emotional connections, leveraging social media or rewarding customer behavior, the table stakes of data analysis and collection, data visualization, and customer analytics must be in place to drive and deliver lasting brand loyalty.