The focus of many marketers and CEOs is to ensure they are getting the attention of their target customers.
Most of them are spending most of their time and effort on this activity, without thinking about the other related activities. Once you have the attention of your target market and you have them highly engaged in all the content you are producing…what next?
Well hopefully, they will buy from you now; they will accept that you are good at what you do and you align with their own personal values. Up until now, it is all based on you issuing a promise to your prospect that should they follow-through and make that purchase, this is the outcome you will deliver.
I read recently a long article on HBR that stated “highly engaged customers will become loyal customers”, and it got me thinking: this is not necessarily the case. From our own real world experience, yes the two things are linked, but not dependent on each other. Some of the best marketing campaigns do not lead to long-term profit.
If we break this down, a customer is someone who buys from you and a loyal customer is someone who repeat buys from you. So no matter how engaged they are with your content and your brand, they may or may not repeat buy. They could stay engaged in order to receive the content or information because it is educational or amusing, but will they definitely maker another purchase?
This is a separate question completely and there are an increasing number of consumers out there who consume content, but do not buy.
A key realisation will happen at the point when they consume your service. This is the moment of truth, when we will really find out if you deliver on your promises. This is the point at which they decide – does the product taste as good as the packaging?
So far it has been an emotional connection, where they feel this is a good choice for the prospect to make. Now we will see the delivery of this promise. You can either fall short of the promise and maybe lose them, or you can fulfil that promise, in which case you will retain that customer for the future.
At this point, your content marketing is irrelevant; if the product does not match the packaging it will be a failure for your objectives. So no matter how good your engagement strategy is, you will not have a loyal customer.
So a few questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Does your team – who are delivering the service – match the passion, drive, and standards that your sales and marketing staff possess?
- Are you interested in this single transaction, or are you willing to treat the customer so well that they want to come back for more?
- What is that little bit extra or something different that you are giving that will make you stand out and be more memorable than your competition?
If you want to get loyal customers, then you need to ensure that your operations strategy is in line with your marketing. Building loyalty is not just about a single transaction – it is about many transactions. If you only measure your team on turnover or profit, then there is no reason for them to worry about repeat business. The reality is that the returning customer will firstly buy quicker, and secondly buy bigger or more than they bought last time, because they already know and trust you.
Your team should be thinking about what your customers value, not about how much they can squeeze out of them in this single transaction. I would rather give something that is fit for purpose today, because the customer will appreciate my honesty and come back to me for more. The multiple transactions will deliver more profit to me and so I am interested in the lifetime value of this customer.
A lot of people talk about this concept, when in reality, it is something that has be measured and delivered over a period of time. You need to be ready to see the benefits over time, because you will not see them in the short term. This is why it is important that you are prepared to measure your staff on things other than sales.
If you deliver on this, you could of course exceed expectations and deliver more than what was promised, which is even better. In such cases you will probably have an advocate on your hands – someone who not only returns to you, but actually tells others to also buy your product. Make sure your team understands your strategy here and follows it through.
So if you are thinking that engaged customers will always lead to loyal customers, think again. Consider instead that delighted customers will be what leads to loyalty.