10 July 2024

Customer Loyalty: From mass media to minutiae, from reach to reaching out

Submitted by: Teresa Settas
Customer Loyalty: From mass media to minutiae, from reach to reaching out

Opinion by Richard Cramer, Customer Engagement Director at Achievement Awards Group

The proliferation and splintering of media, and the different ways in which people use them, makes communicating with customers more complex than ever. It’s more layered and detailed and should be constantly monitored and adjusted. But if harnessed cleverly, it enables us to make communication more personal, more relevant, more meaningful. And much more successful, for both businesses and customers.

Ah, the good old days. When we had just a handful of mediums, TV was king, and there were only four channels. Life, as the cliché goes, was simpler then.

Now those mediums are splintered and niche. We have hundreds of TV channels, plus several streaming services, some of which carry advertising. These days, the real mass media is social media. Broadcast competes with narrowcast. And then there’s podcasts.

Reaching customers in the 20th century was, comparatively speaking, straight-forward. Now, especially with younger millennial and Gen Z customers, things are very different, very fragmented, and also very fluid, with new apps coming out all the time, and their popularity fluctuating over time too.

This modern-day media-complexity has some practical implications. On one hand, it brings challenges.

A one-size-fits-all, “spray and pray” approach isn’t appropriate anymore. Marketers may have more audience segments. And there can be segments within segments, based on the kinds of media people use. For example, a supermarket chain might have two customers who’re alike in many ways, with similar incomes, lifestyles and dietary preferences. But one of those people might be in their 50s, and the other might be in their 30s. One might watch lots of TV and use Facebook daily; the other might not have a TV or Facebook account. So, each segment or sub-segment needs its own communications strategy.

Additionally, it’s not a matter of pressing the “go” button and then dusting one’s hands off. Each of those multiple communications strategies should be constantly monitored, adjusted and iterated, according to what is and what isn’t working. Which communication(s) to which customers performed best? Which customers and customer segments clicked, responded, purchased – and which didn’t? What can be learned from that information?

On the other hand, the proliferation of media, and the data we can get from them, presents new opportunities.

These multiple media enable us to personalise communication like never before. Ultimately, customer loyalty is about making an emotional connection – and connections are deeper when they’re personal.

Knowing something about a customer’s habits – for example, their purchasing patterns and platform preferences – means we can personalise both message and medium, sending relevant information to the relevant place. Think about someone who buys a coffee every morning: sharing a voucher for a free latte to their phone at 7am would go down rather well.

It applies to both the time of day and time of life. A single person who was buying (and getting discounts for) fragrances three years ago might now be a parent buying nappies, and may soon be needing multivitamins for their children.

That kind of personalisation builds a relationship. It moves us from a mindset of breadth (how many people we can communicate to one of depth (how meaningfully we can connect with them). It changes our intention, from thinking just about “reach” to “reaching out”.

One brand that personalised their loyalty programme successfully is Scottish craft beer company, BrewDog. And they did it very successfully using a medium many of us might roll our eyes at – email.

Of course, many people actually choose and opt in to email communication. But Brewdog didn’t just blast their entire database with a generic email campaign. Instead, they customised the emails in line with data they had about their loyalty programme members. They crafted personalised customer journeys according to things like product preferences and past purchases. It doesn’t mean that every email was individually written, but multiple templates were created, and the process of sending relevant emails to the right people was automated.

The personalised, loyalty-driven emails saw a 136% increase in click-throughs, and led to a 40% increase in the first purchase conversion rate and a 100% increase on second purchase retention rate. 

It’s a great example of a company going beyond reach and aiming, rather, to reach out. BrewDog’s personalised loyalty helped to build meaningful relationships. And they did it using just one medium.

What’s the lesson to be learned?

Great loyalty comes from an approach that’s customer-first, not media-first. Modern-day media, if used well, is a super means to a superior end; a tool to make communication more personal, and relationships more meaningful.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardscramer/