Customer loyalty is essential for a business to really thrive and grow. Let us take a closer look at what customer loyalty really entails and how to achieve it. I have recently become a big fan of Simon Sinek and he makes some very interesting points in defining customer loyalty versus repeat buyers. Simon is on of TEDx most popular speakers.
According to Simon, a repeat buyer is someone that buys your product/service because it is convenient for them or because you have a lower price point than your competitors. In other words, it is purely transactional and they view your product/service as a commodity. If another company comes along that is more convenient or with a lower price, they would switch to that product/service. The key in having customers that are loyal to your offering is that they will go out of their way to purchase your product EVEN if it is inconvenient or more expensive than the competition. They have established a bond or a relationship with your product.
How is customer loyalty achieved? By creating products/services that speak to the world view of your target audience. They reflect the core values and beliefs of your ideal customers. This idea of understanding your customers in a deep way that lets you connect with them is really at the core of any targeted marketing strategy. A great tool to use for this are buyer personas or customer profiles that let you really craft a very vivid picture of what your ideal customers believe and the values they hold.
Simon also makes a great point in his videos that your customers buy your products not because they are crazy about XYZ feature but because it reflects who they are—their beliefs and their values. In order to be able to develop communication that resonate with your customers and speaks to their core, you need to convey a sense of purpose. Why you do what you do, as Mr. Sinek puts it.
The example that most comes to mind is Apple. They have done a great job of being able to communicate a vision that has let them expand their product line and build a very loyal following. Apple is today a tech giant but a lot of us remember when it was on the brink of non-existence. It took the return of the company’s original visionary, Steve Jobs, to set it back on the path of creating products that astounded its customers.
Many of us entrepreneurs start by focusing on the product, the “what”. If we are lucky, we address the “how” we do what we do. But few, if any, address the “why” we do what we do. It is not an easy question to answer. It has to come from the founder and it requires us to look deep into what has shaped our world. We need to understand the circumstances and experiences that changed us in profound ways and have made us who we are. Because after all, a small business is really a reflection of whom we are. To be sincere and authentic is the most powerful marketing weapon we have. Again, this is hard because to be honest—sincere and authentic—means that we need to have the courage to be vulnerable and be “human.” This is specially a challenge for those of us that have spent years in Corporate America hiding behind a fabricated “persona” crafted by internal pressures. To accept the responsibility that freedom brings is a great opportunity to design our companies and to have a lasting impact on the world around us.
Here is a link to Simon Sinek’s site for more info: www.startwithwhy.com
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