Thursday, 20 September 2012

Touchpoint Marketing Chapter 2: Are Your Satisfied and Loyal Customers Committed Enough?

Are Your Satisfied and Loyal Customers Committed Enough?
This is the second part of a seven-part series on Touchpoint Marketing. Catch-up on the first part here
  • How often have you come across a wonderful piece of direct mailer that makes you feel ‘The chosen one’?
  • Yes, retailers keep blasting us with end-of-season, fresh-stocks, and clearance sale mailers on a perennial basis. But those are generic mailers. How often have we seen a customized mailer or offer from a retail chain?
  • Our Banks and Insurance firms keep us occupied with higher interest rates mailers and ‘we care about you’ kind of mushy mailers. But how often have you witnessed a terrific pitch of up-sell or cross-sell from your bankers/insurers?
  • Everyone has been doing database-based telemarketing since the birth of Christ, but how often have you come across a genuine case that talks just to you? A Marketer who actually knows your attitude, preferences, lifestyle and lifestage and has a terrific offer ‘Just for you’!
  • My hatchback car company never reached out to me for a potential upgrade. I love their latest Sedan. Just a gentle nudge, some offer, some freebies…and I am sold on. But no one ever attempted this.
  • My Insurance firm never tried a potential cross-sell for a kids plan despite being well aware of my lifestage.
  • My online holiday provider was of good help during my last vacations. But they never reached out again with some exotic offers and locations for my next vacation.
  • My executive education service provider takes web-based management lessons to the length and breadth of this country. However, closer home, its own team is struggling for simple customer service etiquettes.
Makes me wonder, where is all that Analytics going into? Is it sitting in water-tight silos? Does all the output from ivory tower data warehouses goes in creating only historical patterns, trends and dashboards? The predictability, the power to predict that we keep talking about, never reaches the on-the-field marketing teams?
In today’s age of ubiquitous feedback forms and KYCs, do companies actually KTCs i.e. Know Their Customers?
To improve sales, you don't necessarily need more customers. You need better customers.
A concept wonderfully explained in Jan Hofmeyr & Butch Rice’s seminal work in Commitment-led Marketing.
The customers that your data says are your most satisfied may be the most likely to leave tomorrow. So are you asking the right questions and measuring the right dimensions? Some customers appear to be loyal because they habitually buy a product, but this does not mean they are committed to it. They appear to be loyal because in all probability they don’t have many options. They may be the first to fly off your radar the moment another similar product arrives. More like commitment levels in many long-term marriages and relationships. Many times, loyalty could just be a virtue of lack of exciting options! 
Loyalty is what customers do. Commitment is what they feel! Customers can appear deceptively loyal but actually be uncommitted (they might only use the brand because everyone else does (Microsoft), through lack of choice, affordability, or distribution. Commitment-led Marketing is about creating a Conversion Model that allows companies to segment users by commitment to stay, and non-users by openness to adopt their brand. By applying this to their brand, and competitors, companies can identify the right strategy to defend share (if they are a large brand), or steal it (if small). It’s time companies and marketers start acting on the fact that customer satisfaction is a poor predictor of behavior commitment is better. How many committed customers are being created and nurtured across their Touchpoints?
Many businesses believe mass advertising through email marketing, billboards, radio/TV, direct mail and other channels alone will drive sales. They couldn’t be more half-baked in their assumption.  ‘Above the Line’ Media simply creates awareness, interest levels, enquiries, walk-ins and at best, trial purchases. Beyond that, it’s your brand attributes and service features that take over.
Many businesses simply create the pre-requisite Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter home pages and think they’ve cracked the Social Media Marketing (SMM) puzzle. Just beaming over the no. of likes and shares (most often by your own employees) can’t be the only defining metrics for SMM. It’s more about how your brand has adapted or presented itself in the social media context. How is your brand engaging (and not just informing and entertaining) with the online customer?
This shotgun outbound marketing approach (one to many) is very helpful in creating the ‘Brand Decibels’ – the awareness. It ensures is setting up potential customers’ first meeting with your brand. Beyond that it’ your ‘Touchpoints’ that need to make conversations, conversions, establish connect, build relationships, drive repeat purchase and most importantly enforce commitment. Touchpoint-based marketing is all about smart and focused client retention through effective inbound marketing. All the marketing media, with their distinct reach and impact, help building your brand saliency (awareness). But what actually builds a Brand is what happens when the customer ‘pull’ results in equally impactful customer service or product commitment.

To know more, continue reading the third part of this seven-part series here

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mike, please read more about commitment-led marketing on Google! Thanks for coming over on this blog.