How feasible is it for your company to have meaningful relationships with your customers?
How many do you personally have with any business?
Our brains have to filter a lot of noise on a day to day basis, especially from marketing messages. Social media, radio, TV, banners, magazine ads… it is always around us.
To pay attention to it all it would become insanely tiring and overwhelming.
If your brain doesn’t want that kind of relationship with every business you use, why should your customers?
Why are you going to be one of those lucky few they give more than one monkey about?
The marketing reality perception field
When we come to work, and we put on our super-powerful marketing common-sense suppression hat with built-in realty filter glasses, we detach ourselves from what it means to be a consumer.
All we see are people just waiting to be converted in to brand advocates, who we could leverage to increase loyalty and referrals.
If only they’d engage with our amazing value added content, they’d fall in love with us!
Very, very few brands can rely on brand love, and even they can never take it for granted.
Take a look at the decisions Apple has made over the past few years and the constant chipping away at their biggest commodity – passion for the brand.
So, if even Apple struggle to hold on to the love, what chance do the rest of us have?
Brand loyalty is not a marketing function
In reality, a marketing department has very little influence over brand loyalty, but it is usually given the task of making it happen.
That’s because a lot of people misunderstand the difference between marketing and marketing communications.
Everyone in the business is part of marketing, and should know they are.
Every facet of the business customer’s interact with, or rely on (whether they know it or not), are part of marketing.
Product quality and customer services trumps all
Small companies that have a passionate following have two things in common – the product does what it says it will (or better), and the customer support is crazy good.
You put those two in place in any business, and you’re rocking with fried gold.
The marketing dept. can put a pretty sheen on top, but customers soon see past that.
I’ve seen brand love rise rapidly and fall sharply for a company I used to work for, and both coincided with the quality of the product and support.
When they were both high, people loved us and were vocal about recommending us.
As part of the marketing team, I happily took credit for all the amazing marketing we were doing to achieve this.
As soon as the product became outdated and unreliable, which coincided with a major brain-drain in the support teams, our brand fans had all but disappeared in a year.
It may seem odd that someone in marketing is saying this, but focus your efforts on product quality and customer support first, and the rest will follow.