Getting from Sampling to Brand Loyalty (part 3)

M had a great point once we were in a relationship the little ‘thinking of you’ gifts stopped showing up. Spontaneous demonstrations of affection and appreciation no longer happened. All in all the things that I did to gain her attention in the first place just were no longer happening.  

I really liked M, a lot! The way she approached the subject struck a chord with me, so I started trying to show her how much I liked her. Since I already had a relationship with her it was much easier to demonstrate how valuable she was to me. I knew what she appreciated and liked, so I took to writing her a note or two a week. Random flowers would show up at her house, and when I was faced with problems or challenges I asked for her input. Very quickly, M began to feel engaged and cared about. 

Brands suffer from very similar issues retaining customers as I had retaining a girlfriend. According to one study by Bain & Company, 60-80% of customers who describe themselves as ‘satisfied’ never return to do more business with the company that provided satisfactory service. It seems impossible in this age of customer disservice, that customers would not return to a Brand that did what was expected well. 

Unfortunately, this is all too real. As Brands, chase the ever elusive ‘new customer’ with new and innovative marketing campaigns, snappy new ads, eye catching new graphics, and slick catch phrase, they ignore what the customers want … connection. It is a rare Brand that customers connect with in a way that brings them to buy time after time.  

Often when I think about CBR and Customer Retention, my brain drifts to music. I find myself comparing the one hit wonder artists and those who create long term multi-generational fans. I try to figure out how artists such as Prince, Michael Jackson, Areosmith, Jimmy Buffet, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra are successful decade after decade, not only retaining fans from the beginning of their careers to end and beyond, but also continually gaining new fans as new generations discover their music. I wonder, can a company or brand do that? If so, How? 

How can a Brands make REAL connections at scale? 

All too often Brands only begin to think about their retention plan as an afterthought once they have matured to the point they begin to measure things like CBR. Creating a plan in this manner is reactionary and lends itself to being focused on indicators rather than root causes and solutions. Realistically, retention should be a front-line strategy, developed and considered on par with customer acquisition.  

Going back to the multi-generational music artists, it becomes very clear there is a way not only attract new fans, but keep the fans as well.  

A quick aside here, based on customer/fan interactions and advocacy it seems clear the best comparison for Brands are Musicians. The success of both is predicated on not only convincing their fans to stick with them but also attracting new fans as time passes. Both are focused on crafting messages and creating connections with their fans to maintain their position in the given marketplace. Both experience with returning fans and entice new fans. 


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