What makes a consumer loyal to a brand? While you might assume that merely being satisfied with a brand's performance is enough, the real reasons for loyalty go deeper. Looking at data from hundreds of brands across categories, research from Harvard Business Review found that on a lifetime value basis emotionally connected customers were more than twice as valuable to marketers than highly satisfied customers.
While delivering a satisfying customer experience is table stakes, brands need to cater to consumers' emotional needs, like feeling a sense of freedom or standing out from the crowd. For marketers, that means understanding customers on a deep level and offering them messages and creative that resonate so the consumer will talk up the brand to others and become a repeat purchaser. In other words, it's all about nurturing existing customers.
TV is great for reaffirming a purchase and nurturing the emotional connection with a consumer. For instance, a car ad can reaffirm a lifestyle that fits with the reason the customer bought the car. And if you set your segments up well from the start, your segmented messaging will do double duty, reaffirming the purchase for loyalists and attracting new customers.
Leaving the Best Impression
One way to achieve loyalty is by effectively sequencing messages. Think about how you want your favorite brand to reach you. See their ads too often and you'll get sick of them. You might want to hear about offers, but only if they're very relevant. A sign of appreciation, like a coupon or just a thank you message, is a more welcome means of reaching out.
With many different channels available, one hazard of using traditional TV advertising for this purpose is the risk of overexposure. A spray-and-pray approach makes it impossible to deliver personalized messages. Addressable TV offers a new vehicle for messaging that is targeted to the household level. Testing can reveal the optimum sequence of messaging via email, digital display and addressable TV that helps instill loyalty.
Segmenting Brings Success
As McKinsey illustrates, consumers can hold vastly different views of your brand. The choice is often which segment to focus on for maximum efficacy. First-party data can help identify different groups of customers, ranging from dissatisfied to evangelists. Observing behavior and preferences and unearthing their emotional connections with a brand can help execute such segmentation.
McKinsey recommends looking at traditional customer survey data and linking those results to anonymized online activity to see how such consumers behave. For instance, do product upgrades help turn moderately satisfied consumers into very satisfied consumers? Which messages have resonated with them most? As with everything else in marketing, only rigorous testing will unearth the answers to such questions. Testing won't make your marketing perfect, but it will point you on the right side of the continuum between ineffective and very effective.
At the loyalty stage, advertisers should look back at the entire journey. Now that you know something about the customer, how would you segment them, and how would you tweak messaging to encourage the customer to buy from you again?
Looping Back to the Beginning of the Journey
Advertisers that are successful at fostering loyalty have this stage in mind through the entire customer journey. Through relevant messaging, excellent creative that resonates with the audience and great brand experiences, the customer is likely to start the journey over again.
Strengthening consumer loyalty is very important to the health of a brand and can be a potent tool for acquiring new customers (hence the Net Promoter Score). Take the time to thank your customers. They'll thank you back.
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