Today’s consumers have endless choices at their fingertips. Regardless of what they need, there are countless options for finding the best-reviewed product at the most competitive price with the most convenient delivery. In such an environment, there’s little incentive for consumers to dedicate their business to any particular brand — which is why a recent study revealed that consumers believe 77 percent of all brands could disappear and no one would really care.
It is still possible to create deep, meaningful relationships with today’s consumers — but first you need to adopt a new understanding of what “loyalty” means in the digital age. To help in this task, Cheetah Digital partnered with the CMO Council to investigate the evolution of loyalty, and how marketing leaders are adapting their approach to customer relationships.
The resulting report, Loyalty That Lasts, features key takeaways like the following:
- Too many brands think of customers as dollar signs, not as people. More than 60% of marketing leaders surveyed define loyalty in transactional terms. By contrast, just 15% think of “loyal” customers as having a deep connection to the brand.
- There’s a major disconnect between loyalty goals and execution. Nearly half (43%) of marketing leaders surveyed agree that building deeper relationships with customers is a top priority in the next 12 months — but just 11% are confident that their strategies will get them there.
- Brands want loyal customers, but take few actions to create loyalty. Less than one third (29%) of brands surveyed currently have a loyalty or rewards program in place. Among those that do have such a program, just 9% rate it as highly effective and 39% say it’s fairly effective.
- Few brands are creating real conversations with their customers. The majority of marketing leaders surveyed are at least attempting to collect customer voice and have conversations across various channels. But just 18% are successfully conducting rich, bi-directional conversations that shape future customer experiences.
Marketing success in the digital age requires a new kind of loyalty — one that goes beyond transactions and reward cards. Today, loyalty is about creating genuine, lasting relationships based on a deep connection between a brand and its customers: an advanced state called “emotional loyalty.” Emotional loyalty keeps customers coming back to your brand, regardless of price or convenience, because of a strong emotional tie that supersedes transactional measures.
Achieving this advanced state is of loyalty is no small feat, but it can be done. It requires brands to first adopt a firm commitment to customer relationships — and a deep belief that relationships are more important than transactions. This belief must be conveyed to customers through every interaction, by making them feel valued, understood, and respected at every touchpoint.
Download the report, Loyalty That Lasts, for more insights into how successful brands view loyalty and customer relationships, and the steps they’re taking to drive continued growth and ROI. The report also features expert perspectives on loyalty from marketing leaders at top brands like Nationwide Financial, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Pabst Brewing Company, and AMC Networks.
Jen Ribble is the Director of Content Marketing at Cheetah Digital. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, including nearly 10 years in the marketing technology industry, she is passionate about the art of storytelling and the science of creating high-quality, data-driven content.