‘We need to be thinking about consumer loyalty differently in the age of experience’, writes David Burnand, enterprise marketing director, Adobe EMEA
There’s no question that there has been a seismic shift in how we regard brands over the past decade. It certainly feels like consumer loyalty has become increasingly diluted, so what’s driving this trend? Working with Goldsmiths, University of London, we set to find out. We surveyed consumers around Europe, as well as conducted experiments with a group of people to get an in-depth understanding of how they interact with brands.
What we uncovered was that digital has changed the landscape – it has given consumers more choice than ever before. They are no longer confined to geographical boundaries when it comes to buying the stuff they love and need. The internet has also allowed any type of company big or small the ability to compete for business and ultimately consumer loyalty. Finally, digital has heralded a new era of ultimate convenience, where time poor consumers can get whatever they want, whenever they want it. Our research reflected these trends strongly:
- 50% of consumers said they would buy from an unknown brand that offers a better experience
- 46% said they felt overwhelmed with choice
- 59% said convenience was a key aspect of loyalty
While undoubtedly a challenge for brands, there are opportunities. Given these new consumer realities, almost two thirds (61%) said that they are now loyal to brands that tailor experiences to their needs and preferences. A further 50% said they feel good about brands that continuously introduce innovation to improve the customer experience – but, only if brands use consumer data with respect.
Looking at the results of this study, one thing became very clear to me: data and the content informed by the intelligence it provides is the foundation for loyalty. This may be obvious: we’ve all been using data and insights for many years now to inform our marketing efforts – be that for customer acquisition or retention (loyalty). But, we need to step up a gear and this is where breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) hold the key. Using AI technologies, brands can make that data into true intelligence that delivers great content and experiences to customers. Experiences that are adaptive, relevant, consistent and exciting, that help them to navigate the overwhelming choice and solve their problems quickly and seamlessly. AI can deliver this at scale too. This is what customer loyalty will be all about in the next few years.
The new ‘ABCD’ of Loyalty
Working with Goldsmiths, we also used the research insights to identify four key new dimensions to delight customers, meet their needs and promote loyalty.
A – Give people an Adaptive experience
Brands that have individual conversations with consumers will be the new loyalty leaders. The use of data is at the heart of this, allowing brands to give individuals the personalised experiences they want. AI will allow this to happen at scale too – potentially nurturing engagement and loyalty among millions of customers.
B – Be wherever the consumer loves to be
We live in an age where consumer experience of a brand is often fragmented across a number of different devices, and at different times of the day. As a result, businesses need to become flexible enough to be wherever their customer is – regardless of device or location.
C – Help consumers filter Choices
The digital revolution of the last few years has brought with it unprecedented choice for consumers. Helping consumers cut through this noise will grab their attention and build loyalty. AI is powerful in bringing together relevant data with great content, delivered at just the right time to the right person.
D – Differentiate through immersive experiences
In the experience era, brands must use new and emerging technologies to help convenience-driven consumers get what they need, faster. Being able to offer immersive experiences that delight consumers will be a major way brands can set themselves apart from the competition.
In the new era of experience, the concept of brand loyalty has changed. The winners will be those that can successfully reach a consumer who is more capable, self-aware and demanding than ever before. Those that use new technologies and data to power this could see themselves with customers who are more loyal than before.
For a more in-depth look at the new ABCD of Brand Loyalty – and what these mean for marketers – download our full report here.