We are close to the very begging of a new year. Yes, this was my mindset when I started writing. Every time something ends, the future is the force moving us forward. This article might be, if you consider suitable, food for thought when looking to the future.
In my latest article, I was talking about the fact that The Future of Customer Retention will belong to those marketers who will create for their customers a Feeling to Feeling relationship.
Also, I promised a “to be continued” part. Here it is, yes, this one too based on gut feeling. The title speaks for itself, but let me elaborate.
This year the entire world experienced, on multiple levels (personal, professional), of course, with different intensity, duration and variations, the feeling of FEAR. Fear for your own life, fear for the life of the closest ones, and the list can go on. And we all know deep inside that these feelings were 1 on 1, deeply personalized.
This word is present in any discussion about customers for some years now. Now, the world movement to online is happening at a higher growth rate than ever. Of course, with an enormous opportunity for personalizing almost everything: customer experience, support, offers, marketing communication campaigns, you name it. Everybody is at least aiming to provide a “1 on 1 & end 2 end” approach for their customers. Though, I dare to say we will see a shift in how customers will perceive the value of the brands.
If we are doing an honest reality-check, except some ATL/Branding campaigns, especially in some B2C verticals, most of the concrete actions on incentivizing customers to purchase are kind of built around fear. Yes!
Let’s take the easiest example, Special Discount Offers – they are all limited in time – therefore, touching in a more or less subtle way the fear of not being able to get it if you don’t react soon enough. Some of them also have attached a “huge” word – unique, anniversary, even gift and while examples can go on, you can add your own in the comments. Even though sometimes a purchase is planned to wait for the promotional period, what’s the, let’s say, Black Friday behavior? Jumping to get the discount and, if the “special offer” has the “limited stock” twist… we all know how this is happening. And I dare to say it also comes from a kind of fear – the fear of not getting what we think we want.
Now, compare the intensity of the “promotional induced fear” with the 1 on 1, personalized fears you felt this year. And stop reading for 10 seconds.
This is what I was referring to in the title. This type of “promotional induced fear” will become a come a commodity. What’s the most important impact of commoditization? Decreasing the value in the eyes of the customers.
How much will customers value a brand that will still want to sell based on fear?
Yes, I am not saying they will stop purchasing; I am thinking here at the VALUE brought by building TRUE loyalty based on relationship – and this cannot happen if you educate your customers to act la mercenaries – job done here, let’s move to the one with a better promo.
So what’s the alternative? I dare to say that in the near future, more than ever before, Retention Marketers aiming to build Loyalty as a Value will need to have the courage to make a decisive shift to Honesty Marketing.
This is the key takeaway I strongly believe we should keep in mind as food for thought: Honesty Marketing. While we might not know enough about how this concept will look like, I liked the description of honesty from VIA Institute on Character:
“When you are honest, you speak the truth. More broadly, you present yourself in a genuine and sincere way, without pretense, and taking responsibility for your feelings and actions. You are a person of integrity — you are who you say you are — and you act consistently across the domains of your life rather than being one way in the community and a completely different way in your family. As a result, you believe you are being consistently true to yourself.”
With these thoughts in mind, I promise that this will be continued.
Until next year, enjoy yourself, your closest ones, and stay safe!