Part 5: Know What I Care About
In our fifth installment of our thought leadership series, Loyalty Iceberg: Creating Human-Centered Experiences, we move on from customer expectations that a brand Recognize, Understand, Embrace, and Remove the Friction for customers, and explore the expectation that a brand knows what its customers care about… after all, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of customers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations. Below are five tips to help your company learn what your customers care about:
- Analyze their purchases. If your customer buys locally-sourced produce and organic meats, she probably has different priorities than the shopper who buys whatever’s on sale and favors big national brands. Using a bit of sleuthing, it’s not much of a leap to link shopping behavior to what a consumer finds important, even if it may feel like a bit of an over-generalization: the premium cat food shopper who gets the off brand mac & cheese for themselves will likely care about animal rights more than premium fashion labels. Finally, remember that customers buy on the “basis of expectation” – what they believe the product or service will do to help them. Going backward from the sale as the starting point will allow marketers to decipher what matters to the consumer who made the purchase.
- Give them options. With nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of consumers reporting that they feel loyal to brands that “tailor their experiences to their preferences and needs,” it’s smart to develop your company’s loyalty program with a “one-size fits-me” sensibility. Loyalty program choices such as being able to pick extra points for one item out of many will give insight into how that shopper lives… and what they like. The carpooler may always choose extra savings on family-focused utilities like gas or food staples, while the fitness fanatic might prefer anything related to self improvement. From these choices you can determine what is important to your customers, what they shop for most, what moves them most (and least) to act.
- Follow them back. Your customers share intimate details of their lives on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. If they take a moment to look up your brand and follow you, you should consider following them back. While obviously there are limits to how many people you can realistically follow, it’s smart to be a little selective. Some of the best follow-back candidates include people in your target audience, influencers (people who have a following and are well-known), and maybe just people you find interesting. Knowing what people who are into you are talking about when they aren’t talking about you is a great way to see what people are talking about, arguing about, caring about.
- Support their passions. If people care about a cause, a venture or idea enough to approach you for financial support, it’s worth your time to think it over. In addition to the benefits of increased visibility and revenue, expanded network opportunities and heightened employee morale, your brand will also be rewarded in increased goodwill and loyalty, not to mention given valuable insight into what moves your customers, both current and prospective, into action.
- Get local. Getting involved in the communities in which you do business is not only a great way for brands to boost visibility and brand awareness, it’s also effective to aid in learning what your customers care about. By joining a local chamber of commerce, speaking at a career day at a local high school or college, sponsoring a local sports team, or giving your employees the opportunity to work a few hours a month for pay for a local charity event, you signal that your company is interested in more than just the bottom line. In addition, once your company has the reputation for community involvement, you will have more opportunity to learn what matters most to your customers.
With these points of advice in mind, your brand can fine-tune its understanding of its customers, to finally make flesh the personas, the segments, the demographics, into something like a real person. And once you recognize, understand and embrace this real person, with the attendant insight into what really matters to him or her, you’ll at last be able to transcend the mere sale or simple transaction into something that’s more authentic… and enduring.