Marketing is full of lies, deception, misrepresentation, and all manner of inaccuracies. It is no wonder that so many people don’t believe claims made by sales and/or marketing professionals.
Nearly everyone in TV commercials and photo shoots is either a model or actor. They are carefully selected with the hopes that aspects of their appearance might convey trust, confidence, caring, or other demographic attribute and ‘connect’ with the marketers’ ideal audience.
These actors and models are available to use by anybody. A professional model might portray the role of a customer service associate for a well-lit, clean and professional call center; a server at fast food restaurant where everyone smiles and the products are pristinely packaged; and on the header of an RV website with a fake family enjoying a sunset picnic all within the same month!
How does this build loyalty with a customer base?
Rather than distorting or falsely representing things; make a point to build loyalty through genuine connections.
With the omnipresence of social media, marketing is shifting from large and long-term campaigns towards lots and lots of relevant conversations between brand, customer, and prospect. It continues to become much more guerilla – connecting in places ideal customers and fans already exist.
Building loyalty is about understanding where a potential customer is in their buying journey (rather than our sales process) and having the right information to form a valuable connection.
We must know our processes frontwards and backwards, inside and out. We must know the typical stages and hang-ups of making a purchase decision. We must then arm ourselves with stories about how we solve these challenges. And be able to relate them in a timely manner.
Since we cannot be in exponentially more places to have these conversations; savvy brands look to past customers, fans, advocates, and ‘influencers’ to help transmit the message in informal ways. This is best when the domains of marketing, sales, customer service, and operations share resources.
As I talk with leaders of organizations about how this type of marketing builds higher levels of loyalty; they often rebut that they don’t trust enough of their customers to engage them in such efforts and that they would rather continue their tried-and-true methods.
Ironic isn’t it?
They use manipulations to gain customers, yet those customers are not trusted enough to secure others.
While some industries, businesses, and products lend themselves to this easier than others; it can work for any company that is willing to make the commitment to building these types of relationships.
I remember calling on a well-qualified account in one of my territories several times. He could never make a full commitment to my product line because of an overly controlling and mostly absent owner; but he willingly introduced me to a number of others who became clients.
The lesson I learned was loyal fans are not always customers.
How do you build loyalty?