Lots of companies say they have a focus on the customer, but do they really? Marketing-by-the-numbers says you should always look at your features and ensure there are benefits for the user. That’s all well and good, but you need to provide more than direct benefits like that to win loyalty.
Kevin Roberts, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, uses the iPod as an example. The real appeal is not in the features, it’s in its touch and design. It’s a sensual product — a big departure for the world of consumer electronics.
In his book Lovermarks, Kevin talks about how brands have become commoditised, and you now need to go one step further. You need to make your customers love you if they are going to be loyal. Listen in to the podcast to hear the key elements you need to consider when trying to form such a strong bond with the buying public.
Sally Hogshead says a key element is fascination. Consumers need to be fascinated with your brand. It’s that intrigue that will keep them coming back for more. There are seven triggers to that fascination, which anyone can use in their marketing.
David Meerman Scott says many of these principles were applied years ago, by the San Francisco band The Grateful Dead. They went against their record company’s advice to deploy techniques that built a strong affinity with their fan base. Musicians love what they do and want to share that passion with their listeners. Other product categories should be thinking the same way.
Of course, all this lovey-dovey stuff is hard to explain to your finance head, who is interested only in the numbers. The answer, says Bob Miller, is to treat your customers as corporate assets. If your largest customers see you as expendable, that becomes a big risk to write into your spreadsheet. Perhaps then, even a finance person will be interested in how to reduce that risk — and it can be done by making sure your customers love you.
So, do they? Or will they jump to your competitors when the price is right?