As… empowered customers become increasingly savvy, marketers need to re-evaluate how they define and build customer loyalty. The issue, according to a recent survey of 129 marketing executives conducted by Loyalty 360—The Loyalty Marketer’s Association on behalf of Acxiom, is that although marketers know they need to focus better on customer retention, they aren’t doing it.
Think way back when – you know, like maybe 30 years ago. Customers knew the companies with which they did business based on the faces they saw. The butcher, the tailor, the book seller. More importantly, those faces knew their customers and who bought what. Today, those mom and pop businesses are, for the most part, history. Instead, we’ve got chains and online megastores, and with that comes the ignorance mentioned in the study:
Only 49.6% of respondents agreed with the statement “I know who my most loyal customers are, and I know the best way to reach out to them and get them to engage with my brand.” Only 10.1% strongly agreed.
Obviously it’s not going to go back to the way it was before the web and before chain stores. The marketing dynamic has come full circle in many ways – from customer-centric control over local merchants to brand control over pushed messages and back to the customer. As a piece on the study concluded :
Consumers have access to ever-growing volumes of information about products, prices, customer satisfaction, and availability. As a result, virtually all metrics, including loyalty, are in serious decline.