Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Three C’s of Customer Retention: Character, Community, and Content

In a recent Fast Company article, Noah Fleming reflects on the importance of a company’s character in an article titled, “Why Is Jeff Bezos Always Talking To Me?” He writes about the frequency of which there are letters from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos displayed on the site’s homepage, usually referencing a significant product launch (like the free availability of the Harry Potter series in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library), or, like last week, the anniversary of Amazon Prime.  These types of announcements serve a number of purposes, but Fleming makes an excellent point about one particular one.

“Character is about positioning,” the author states, “you can either decide what those few things (that people remember) will be, or let the market decide.” Jeff Bezos is working hard to create customer retention by emphasizing his personal connection with the company, and therefore, with his customers.  He is deciding what the most important things are for the customer to remember as they come and go from his site, and attempting to leave them with a lasting memory of something positive.  Does your company do something similar to this?

In an article published last February by Simon Mainwaring, entitled “What Brands Must Do Now to Engage Their Customer Communities,” it was noted that brands must be change agents for their own right. As community mentors, they must provide tools, techniques, and strategies for their customers to being more empowered to act on their own ideas. Simultaneously, both trust and responsibility are put in the hands of the consumers, as they are now vested in the brand.  Rather than customers, companies want brand ambassadors; people who are so enamored with the brand that they will go so far as to market it themselves. Consider those recent Nature Valley “Trail View” commercials you may have seen; a granola bar company is imploring hikers to contact them if they’re interested in participating in a Google Street View-like project that involves filming trails throughout the National Parks in the U.S.  Nature Valley gets consumers (potential and current) interested with their project with the hopes that it will bring more people to National Parks, invites enthusiastic involvement from anyone interested, and in turn is doing a huge advertising campaign for their granola bars.

Which brings me to content…This should be the easy one, folks!  To quote Crosby Noricks from an article he wrote in April, “Marketing strategies will maintain their mediocre successes as long as we keep expecting engagement and loyalty from our customers without giving them the same consideration.” It’s not as difficult as it sounds; what is your company selling? Would you use/buy whatever that product might be, if you were in the consumers’ shoes?  Is this product/service/idea worth sharing?  If you’ve made it past these first questions, you’re on the right track.  Most people get stuck when it comes to promotion, so rather than baiting the hook and waiting for a bite, chum the waters and see what kind of feedback you get. Get your product out there at conferences, trade shows, festivals, wherever your consumers are, and wait for the feedback.  Spread the positive around using social media, and don’t be frugal when it comes to selecting platforms.  When current consumers tell you something you like to hear about your product, tell your future consumers.  Don’t keep it a secret!

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Posted in: Baldrige

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