THE EDITOR: In today’s world of marketing, achieving customer loyalty is based on rewards and benefits which are consistent and easily accessible.
Some professionals advance that loyalty is not really based on affection or allegiance as others may believe.
Therefore marketers setting a goal of achieving loyalty to a brand should instead place their focus on achieving repeat purchases.
This reality of purchasing based on rewards and accessibility may explain the shifts in purchasing patterns of customers as more options become available in the marketplace.
A major cause of this disruption can be attributed to the dynamics of the digital age.
Digital business models have already resulted in many successful traditional businesses being displaced if they fail to respond with the agility required to transform their operations.
Digital marketing has taken segmentation and targeting into a realm that measures reach, engagement and conversion as never seen before in offline marketing.
According to Phillip Graves, “nothing has made the myth of customer loyalty more apparent than the digital revolution. Seemingly loyal customers found they had access to better, cheaper, easier alternatives.”
Consequently, organisations no longer have a choice; they now either get into the digital marketing revolution or die.
Money gives customers the opportunity to choose. As digital marketing utilises algorithms, artificial intelligence and online influencers, markets and customers are more empowered. When switching brands, the customer rarely feels any psychological counterbalance of guilt or shame. The “ex-brand” is no longer interesting when better value and personal benefits are experienced.
For businesses to survive in a digital world they must engage in activities that will attract new customers and repeat business.
Such activities may include personalising content based on what the customer is interested in that your product can provide.
Secondly, using chat and virtual assistants to deliver faster and easier access to your good or service.
Additionally, linking customer service through the cloud to share resources and collaborate on solutions.
Once an organisation enters the digital business it now has to keep up to date and chose the best performing platforms and tools.
For instance, most marketers use search engine optimisation for Google which boasts of 3.5 billion searches per day, but Facebook searches are also just as significant with over two billion searches daily.
Therefore, the main focus cannot be brand loyalty when the ease of access to products which customers enjoy in the digital world has allowed for so many options when purchasing.
Organisations wanting to be relevant must utilise the many digital tools available to reach customers with measured consistency. There is definitely the need for a switch in marketing/sales goals towards retaining customers while targeting prospective buyers.
RONALD HUGGINS, St Joseph