consumer loyalty 2022

Considering the high cost of customer acquisition compared to the lesser cost of retention, businesses go to great lengths to cultivate loyalty. However, recent trends reveal fickle consumers are harder to retain than ever before, leaving marketers concerned. Is consumer loyalty worth the effort anymore? Yes! And we’ll share why consumer loyalty still matters – and how to win these fickle consumers over – below.

The Importance of Continuous Consumer & Market Intelligence

Is Consumer Loyalty Over?

It’s really not a new concept to see business declaring that the “loyalty era” of marketing is over. Statistics are cited which show that consumers do not respond to previously effective methods such as loyalty programs. And adding to this, a recent study conducted by Omnicom Media Group revealed a significant decline in consumer loyalty during the pandemic.

According to the report, brand loyalty among U.S. consumers dropped from 65% to 49% between March and November 2020. One reason for this was thought to be the decline in income as people lost their jobs and switched to affordable alternatives. Logistical challenges also contributed, frustrating customers into switching brands when what they wanted wasn’t immediately available.

So, seeing how easy it is sometimes to prompt the modern customer to shift brands, does it point to the end of consumer loyalty? In response to this, Jess Huang, a partner at McKinsey & Company says that what is being observed is a result of a change in the modern consumer. The proliferation of digital communication has made it easier to access consumers but at the same time created a lot of noise that individual brands have to break through first. And before that, they need to understand the root of the noise as well – teasing out the relevant nuggets.

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Huang gives the example of the rise of direct-to-consumer businesses that are willing to invest in customer acquisition to establish themselves as an option for consumers. But this says nothing of the disparity between the large amount of data created as a result of the digital transformation and the limited ability of many businesses to collect and use it to cultivate long-term relationships with their customers. And that’s rub.

It’s not that loyalty is over, but consumers have more options now and are willing to try them out. They’re also sharing precisely what they want online, but brands aren’t hearing it. Rather they can’t find it buried under the cacophony online.

Brands can still develop and maintain lasting relationships with consumers but there are some things to figure out, chief among them – the optimal capture and analysis of consumer intelligence to make sense of it all

Why Consumer Loyalty Still Matters

Consumer loyalty has become the golden ring for marketers, and definitely still matters in 2022 and beyond. We’re going to show:

  • How to harness consumer loyalty
  • How to stay relevant in turbulent times

Here are some statistics that show why you should still pursue customer loyalty in 2022:

  • On average 65% of business is generated from existing customers.
  • You have a more than 60% chance of selling to an existing customer and under 20% to a new prospect.
  • Up to 68% of customers leave a brand because they feel it doesn’t care about their business, while 43% leave when they lose trust in the company

How to Harness Consumer Loyalty

There are many reasons why businesses value customer loyalty. Top of the list is that it costs significantly less to keep a customer than to acquire one. Existing customers who already have a rapport with your brand are much easier to convince to do repeat business than new customers who have to be introduced to your products and services and may be easily swayed by influences outside your control.

There are other reasons for cultivating customer loyalty. Existing customers can boost your business through brand advocacy where they not only inform others of your offerings, but actively promote them. Word-of-mouth advertising has long proven to be the most effective form of marketing; and most consumers trust recommendations from other consumers more than brand messaging.

On average, repeat customers spend more than first-time buyers. This is not surprising as customer loyalty indicates customer satisfaction, especially in an age where consumers have many alternative options. Loyal customers are likely to shop regularly and spend more on each trip.

So, how do you harness customer loyalty not from one but many of your customers?

First, you need to keep your business on their mind. Accounting for the increasingly noisy marketplace, you should take measures to ensure that consumers remember to buy from you. You can do this through consumer intelligence by learning as much as you can about your customers and using it to establish a ‘settlement’ in their minds. What do they love about your products? Where are the challenges?

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Second, you need to know them intimately. Data analytics can help you answer some important questions about your existing and potential customers. They include:

  • Who are they, specifically? This should include their basic characteristics such as gender, profession, interests, and other psychographic indicators of their behavior.
  • Where are they? This narrows down to their physical location. This is still important even today when you can reach Anyone from Anywhere because geography can help predict many factors: Culture, behavior, expectations, cost of shipping, etc.
  • What do they like? This includes what in your product category appeals to them most but goes beyond it. It is also about what language they prefer, what word choices work for marketing to them, and also what they don’t like about certain products.

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Third, you should know what they are talking about. Specifically, find out what they are saying about their experience with your own brand – and about competing brands.

Research shows that 96% of unhappy consumers won’t tell you directly if they are displeased with your business but will not hesitate to share with others. Through social listening, you can unearth active social media conversations to locate unhappy customers and resolve issues before they spin up. Did you know that customers that get their issue resolved satisfactorily by a brand end up being more loyal than those that have never experienced any problems with the brand?

Fourth, make it easy for consumers to contact your business directly. Consumers are generally more loyal to brands that are easy to engage with either on social media or at the customer service desk. It is incredibly powerful to show your customers that they are the priority in your business. This is not even going the extra mile – consumers expect this as a standard of service. Quick responses, engagement, and great customer experience – that’s just being a 20’s era brand.

Staying Relevant in Turbulent Times

It is estimated that 46% United States customers switched business from one brand or retailer to another during the pandemic. As we wade out onto dry ground, it is important to look back at the lessons learned about keeping customers loyal during turbulent times.

As sales plummeted and started recovering, research shows that brands that had access to and utilized accurate, real-time customer data were much better placed to weather the storm. The insights helped them manage their brand perception and meet their customers’ rapidly evolving needs. They were also able to serve consumers coming from competitors, folks in search of better alternatives – and sometimes not even realizing they had better alternatives till these savvy competitors swooped in!

 

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To maintain customer loyalty during difficult times, it is not enough to have your products ready to go to consumers. How consumers view your brand against the background of the crisis can make a big difference. Today, customers want to buy from businesses that demonstrate empathy and ability to tackle social, environmental, and even political issues. A study by Twitter suggests that 77% of consumers feel more positive towards brands that are proactively supporting society during the pandemic.

It is also important to understand the shifts in consumer needs. During such times as these, people’s preferences are apt to change. Through consumer intelligence, you can discover which products are gaining preference and which ones are falling out of favor. This is what brands like Kraft Heinz, Coca-Cola, Hershey, and Bumble Bee did, capturing intel around which less profitable products to suspend production on, and refocus efforts on the most popular. Keeping up with consumer preferences can not only save you from unnecessary marketing and production costs but also prevent you from frustrating your customers with irrelevant offerings.

Overall, we see this shifting focus on consumer loyalty becoming more important and more challenging at the same time. If you reach out for a demo, we can help you devise ways to harness the power of consumer loyalty during these unprecedented times and up the consumer loyalty ante to a level your competitors will have trouble matching!

The Importance of Continuous Consumer & Market Intelligence

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