The objective of having a retention marketing strategy is to keep customers engaged with your brand and in turn interested in your products and services.
Over the past ten years the way businesses implement and design their retention marketing strategy has changed dramatically with new ways of thinking and new technologies. And what’s more is that best practices in customer retention are constantly changing with the times.
To get your head around retention tools and techniques, we’ve run through just a few ways that customer retention has changed.
The History of Retention Marketing Strategy
Traditionally in business customer retention took a minor role, whilst customer acquisition strategies played the lead. In the past business managers would budget huge sums of money to gain new customers. This would leave customer retention tactics with little to no allocated budget. Businesses are now realizing that it is in fact more cost effective to shift the focus from acquisition to retention.
A decade ago customer retention focused roles were few and far between, indicating the low priority that retention marketing strategy had at the time. It used to be that the extent of some businesses customer retention tactics came down to generic uninspired loyalty programs, and lackluster discount campaigns. Some companies had basic retention campaigns in place but communications with customers were generic and written in a one-size-fits-all manner.
How is Customer Retention Changing?
We all know that technology and customer expectations are constantly evolving. Both of these elements are playing a huge part in the shift towards building a solid retention marketing strategy for your business.
There is definitely a shift toward maintaining relationships with existing customers and this is apparent in the allocation of resources in most companies.
This shift in priorities, from gaining customers to retaining them, is seeing retention plans moving away from product benefits and sales. Modern retention plans are now looking towards customer-focused engagement as well as high personalization of communication.
Marketers are now acknowledging the need for growth in customer retention and this is a sign of the changing times and the increasing importance of retention marketing strategy.
Why are businesses shifting their focus?
Marketing Managers are changing their tune and focusing on customer retention because customer choice has reached an all-time high.
Companies understand that with so much choice they need to make sure that their business stands out from the crowd.
Marketing as a whole is taking a more customer-centric approach in order to keep existing and new customers interested. Customers have high expectations these days and now expect a more engaged and personalized experience with every business they come into contact with. Your business must respond accordingly and give clients what they want.
The best Pathwwway Gamble marketing being done nowadays is being done directly through your customers through social media and word of mouth. To take advantage of these channels you need to retain customers, keep them happy and nurture them into advocates for your brand.
Nurturing as many customers into advocate makes perfect sense for your marketing strategy and like we said earlier research done over the past few years proves that existing customers are worth more than newly acquired ones.
Four Ways Retention Marketing Has Changed
We’ve discussed how and why businesses are changing their focus, as well as a giving you a brief history of customer retention marketing. Now, you’re probably wondering exactly how retention marketing strategy has changed. Below we’ve listed a few ways that retention has changed over the last decade or so.
- Experience is Essential
The biggest change seen within customer retention practices is the shift in focus, nowadays good retention plans place a lot of value on ‘customer experience’ to win and retain customers loyalty.
Customer loyalty is much more complicated than a structured loyalty programme and brands must focus on the Pathwwway Gamble customer experience. It’s imperative that you have this in mind when designing every part of the customer journey, including marketing, in-store experience and online platforms.
This emphasis on on providing a great customer experience and service has occurred naturally from the advent of the internet. Your customers have your competitors in front of them at any given time, and can switch brands at the touch of a button.
- Loyalty Programmes don’t always equal loyalty
Not a change but a realization that many retailers have had in the past decade or so is that loyalty programmes don’t always represent true loyal buying behavior.
With so many loyalty programmes around it’s not uncommon for consumers to be a part of multiple reward schemes for rival retailers in the same niche market. In fact a number of studies have shown that on average households in the U.S have 20 to 30 loyalty cards.
Marketers think the reason behind this is because programmes are too complicated, points take too long to accrue or the rewards aren’t worth it.
If you have a loyalty program make sure that you take into account more than simply the membership numbers when you’re evaluating customer loyalty.
- But, Loyalty programmes can work
Having said that, loyalty programmes are still a key driver of consumer behavior but only when they’re done right
When loyalty programmes are well thought out and are obviously customer-centric they can increase the value of your brand as well as improving the relationship and connection between your business and your customer.
The key to this is finding the magic spot between the rewards programme itself and the customer’s experience of interacting with your brand. What drives true loyalty today, is a personalized, one-to-one experience.
- Social Media
With the rise of popular platforms full of user-generated content, a single customer can now have a real impact on your business. What customers say about you online can have huge impact on loyalty and sales, for better or worse.
Studies have shown that in the millennial generation the top reason for trying a new brand is through friend recommendations. Social media is the perfect tool for your customers to be shouting about all the great experiences you provide them.
Social media is perhaps the biggest technological change to retention marketing strategy and one you should be taking advantage of.