Retention marketing: developing consumer preference into partiality


Developing a consistent dialogue between your brand and consumer is essential to long-term market share growth.  While lead nurturing campaigns create awareness to the market problem your product/service offering can solve, retention programs communicate to existing customers that you are willing to go to any lengths to keep their business.

Strategy efforts that truly enhance customer partiality focus on eliminating available customers from the market, not necessarily eliminating competitors from the marketplace.  Customers are the “air flow” that every business needs: when your tactics eliminate the air your competitor needs to breathe, you end their potential for growth.  How are you using retention marketing to develop preference into partiality?

The main goal of retention research is clear: what kind of marketing programs would it take to make your customer voluntarily take themselves “off the market” and only buy from you?  An effective medium of confirming this connection is to conduct satisfaction outreach with your existing customer database and listen closely to the voice-of-the-customer responses.  Survey responses can help you understand the relevance your value proposition resonates with your existing customers and the consistency your messaging must maintain to hold their attention.

Use a research professional to write your survey questions so that skip patterns are determined in advance to guide the user experience.  Data collected from respondents will give you a clear perspective of the issues you need to resolve before departure occurs.  Promoter customers will confirm core competitive advantages that connect your value proposition to the messaging that develops the greatest potential for success.

Build your strategy by understanding the emotional connection between the research data that connects buyer behavior and purchase intent.  Realize quickly that if your company does not give a comprehensive brand experience that highly exceeds customer expectations, there is minimal potential for creating partiality.  Dialogue with your customer needs to be clear and consistent, and must connect fresh and compelling content in line with the evolving needs of the customer.  Determine the most profitable characteristics of existing customers, including how sync your resources in alignment of when to pursue a customer and when to walk away.

Never lose sight of the perception that how you sell a customer determines how you will serve your customers.  When positioned correctly, loyalty programs offer an influential incentive for the customer to continue participating in your brand experience after first purchase.  This type of tactic can be highly successful when you need to differentiate your product/service offering without sacrificing quality or price.  Consider the highly profitable business traveler: hotel loyalty programs offer an incentive to show partiality for their favorite hotel chain without specifically giving revenue back at the time of purchase.  Traveler incentives are given only after buyer behavior confirms partiality through a revenue stream of earlier purchases.  Airline frequent flyer miles are an example of how status and service is translated into partiality: the illusion of premium beverages at no cost, focused attention on all the details and a brand experience that exceeds expectations goes over very well with millions of travelers.

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