If you subscribe to the old adage that holds it is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one, the numbers are looking bleak. According to Nielsen, 32% of Americans say they are more product-disloyal than they were five years ago, and despite brands’ best efforts to keep their top customers, it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.
While recent research shows a 15% increase in loyalty program membership, that doesn’t mean consumers are satisfied with what brands are bringing to the table. In fact, 54% of customers that signed up aren’t even using them, and 28% have left a program before redeeming a single reward. All of this begs the question: is loyalty on the outs?
Though brand loyalty is becoming increasingly uncommon, it is far from extinct. Here, we take a look at three ways that experiential marketing can help brands build loyalty and keep their top customers coming back for more.
From social media to chatbots, digital communication has opened the door for more immediate engagement between consumers and brands. However, consumers expect those conversations to be personalized and authentic at every touchpoint, and a brand’s performance during those interactions can have a huge impact on customer relationships. How much, you ask? Research from Forrester indicates that consumers are 57% more likely to be loyal to a brand that demonstrates human communication.
Experiential marketing can be a highly effective tool for brands to communicate their story, educate consumers on their products / services, and engage in a two-way conversation that allows consumers to share real-time feedback. Ultimately, consumers who experience a human connection with your brand are more likely to recommend – and, most importantly, purchase – than those who do not.
Create Emotional Connections
The most successful brands have long understood that creating an emotional connection with consumers is key to driving loyalty. However, the increasing financial influence of Millennials (and Gen Z, in the coming years) is making it all the more important. Half of Millennials say that the products they purchase say something about who they are and what their values are. Even more so, 90% say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause. Translation? Your brand ought to stand for something bigger than the bottom line.
Once you’ve identified a cause, though, it’s not as simple as just communicating it to consumers. Millennials and Gen Z are able to sniff out inauthenticity from a mile away, so it’s imperative that brands to live by the values they preach. Experiential marketing offers brands the opportunity to create one-on-one connections with consumers and show them how the brand aligns with their lifestyle and values.
Surprise and Delight
Thanks to brands like Amazon, whose Prime offering has over 100 million subscribers, consumer expectations are higher than ever. The result? It’s not enough to just meet expectations anymore; brands have to work even harder to set themselves apart from the competition. Whether it’s an unexpected addition to the product itself or an unexpected experience, surprise-and-delight moments go a long way towards getting customers to keep coming back.
For Thomas’ bagels, we had the honor of helping them celebrate National Bagel Day in style. Based out of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, we surprised busy commuters with delicious bagels and cream cheese and invited those who had the time to snap a quick pic in front of our “Bae Goals” wall or our larger-than-life toaster. These brief, fun moments may be but a small gesture, but for a busy commuter in the middle of the work week, the positive memories associated with Thomas’ will last long beyond the bagel and cream cheese.
Is your brand looking to keep customers coming back for more? Contact us today to learn how our suite of experiential-led services can help you create connections that lead to lifelong loyalty.
Sources: Shopkick Customer Loyalty Revolution 5 Foundations for Engaging the Modern CPG Consumer 2019, Nielsen Insights Turning Shopper Disloyalty into Brand Opportunity 2019, Synchrony Financial The 4 Pillars of Loyalty in Customer Lifetime Value 2019, Forrester The Importance and Impact of Human-Like Brand Communication 2018