01

Your customers aren’t loyal, they’re lazy.

Increased customer loyalty is rarely an outcome of marketing strategy. It’s a big statement, and most marketers will jump up and down and tell you in no uncertain terms that their customers are loyal to their brand because of the perceived product differentiation. They are mostly blowing hot air...

We like the brands we buy, not buy the brands we like. That Breville kettle in the kitchen has been quietly boiling away for a few years now. When it packs it in, Breville will most likely be the future kettle of choice - not because of the ‘Quiet Boil Technology’ but because it’s the one we know.

‘Brand Love’ is a misnomer.

When did we all start believing that brands are at the epicentre of the consumer’s universe? In a Nielsen survey in 2015 the number of brands the average Australian actively follows on social media is ... wait for it … one. And two-thirds don’t follow any at all.

The reality is, people are mostly loyal for no other reason than human nature. We create buying habits to reduce the number of decisions we make each day to make our lives easier. Repeat purchase is largely just repeat behaviour, doing something we have done before.

As long as your product did what it was supposed to do, people are more likely to buy it again because it’s one less thing they have to think about. There’s around 40,000 products in the average supermarket alone … imagine having a ‘loving relationship’ with all of these companies? Relationships with real people are hard enough!

There is, however, one guaranteed way for any brand to achieve more loyal customers …

Achieving more loyal customers

Brand loyalty is a natural part of buying behaviour and it’s how we streamline our purchase decisions to make our life easier. We choose a number brands in each category and switch between them depending on availability and mood/preference at the time.

An experiment run in 1964 at Texas University demonstrated this in-built loyalty very clearly.

Each day, for 12 days, four loaves of bread from the same bakery were offered to 42 women. The loaves were wrapped identically, except for a large letter on each ... L, M, P or H. The position of the brands on the tray rotated each day as well. Quickly, loyalty developed with some respondents favouring a particular brand. Some also favoured the position on the tray, usually the left-hand side. Even with very minor differences, loyalty will occur.

Professor Byron Sharp from the Ehrenberg Bass Institute of Marketing Science has written two bestselling books - How Brands Grow & How Brands Grow Part 2 - using historical data over long periods of time. In these books, he talks at length about loyalty and the Law of Double Jeopardy.

Double Jeopardy was identified in the 1960s by a sociologist, William McPhee regarding the popularity of radio announcers, and has since been statistically verified by the Ehrenberg Bass Institute as the underlying principle for all brand choice. The law states that smaller market share brands have fewer sales because they have fewer customers (the first jeopardy) who are slightly less loyal (the second jeopardy). Conversely, larger share brands have more customers who are more loyal.

The path to more loyal customers is therefore to increase penetration by appealing to a broader cross section of customers and these customers will be naturally more loyal.

This has been proven to apply to both B2B and B2C products and services … everything from Colgate to concrete supplies.

When your brand is distinctive, visible & memorable, you will achieve a greater certainty of return.

Insights and marketing principles

01

Increased customer loyalty is rarely an outcome of marketing strategy. It’s a big statement, and most marketers will jump up and down and tell you in no uncertain terms that their customers are loyal to their brand because of the perceived product differentiation. They are mostly blowing hot air...

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02

When we are young we talk to everyone, we throw ourselves into life and experience new things, people and places. Over the years, our network of friends begins to diminish as we find our core group who we can rely on. We know they will always enjoy our company.

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03

We are all different people, from different backgrounds and cultures. These differences and unique life experiences make us who we are.

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04

If you provide a service or product that lots of other companies do, it’s a natural instinct to want to tell them why you are better, why they should choose you, what makes you different. ‘Differentiate or Die’ has been the mantra for decades in marketing.

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05

We all love a bargain and there’s no doubt that you get a sales spike when you run a sales promotion. Everyone is happy and everyone is working really hard, volume targets are being met …. we must be making lots of money, right?

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06

Most marketers, and agencies for that matter, will create campaigns telling you all about the product, and usually the price. Particularly in the B2B space. But rarely does this make for compelling communications.

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