It’s no surprise that, with an impending recession and inflationary concerns, a common theme amongst marketing leaders is how to increase customer retention. What is also common, is that the strategies many marketing teams use to drive customer retention are product-centric vs. customer-centric. The traditional marketing funnel that many marketing teams rely on implies that there is an end point to the relationship between the brand and the customer. It’s rare that there’s a vision for after the customer buys and how to create a meaningful value exchange while they have your products and services in hand. Successful retention marketing strategies should collaborate with CX and leveraging CX processes and customer understanding assets to drive better outcomes. CX focuses on supporting the best-case, end-to-end journey for your most valued customers. That best-case outcome is advocacy—where your customer grows their relationship with your brand and inspires other customers to make a purchase wit your brand.
How to NOT “Boil the Ocean”
There are several avenues that brands can take to create valuable experiences that drive customer advocacy and growth, but there is one approach that recently stood out to me as a customer. This particular approach can be found in the below illustration of Gartner’s Categories of High-Value Experiences That Drive Advocacy. (Originally featured in the report Design Customer Experiences to Improve Brand Advocacy and Growth Gartner subscription required). The category of interest that stood out to me is “Reduce my uncertainty.” Customers tend to have sticky memories regarding times where they encountered “moments of doubt.”
Knowing that, what could your brand do to make it very clear that when your customers are having some sense of uncertainty, that your brand is there to reduce that uncertainty for them now and in the future? To translate the “reduce my uncertainty” approach think about it as providing customers with clarity and offering targeted expertise to customers when there is a perceived lack of expertise both personally and in the market.
How to Identify Where Your Brand Can Provide Expertise
These dynamics can be surfaced through customer listening and research. Are there topics within your industry where your customers are turning to customer communities and influencers to ask questions and get advice on? Do these trends indicate that there is a lack of an official, authentic sources of information on the topic? For example, a maternity wear brand discovered that their customers and prospective customers needed support on topics related to fertility, IVF, and post-pregnancy (often referred to as the fourth Trimester). They created a separate community platform, outside of their ecommerce store, to feature content written by physicians and experts in the space, as well as live Q&A sessions on traditionally sensitive topics. This not only provide existing and new customers with confidence that the brand knows them, but also understands how to help them in an authentic way. This is critical given that 2021 Gartner Consumer Values and Lifestyle Survey identified that authenticity is the No. 1 overall value for U.S. consumers. Even further, Millennials and Gen Z are the two generational groups most likely to say that they follow (on social media) “people, typically topic Experts, who dedicate their accounts to focus on or specialize in one of my interest areas” (see Elevate Your Brand by Partnering With a New Type of Influencer: The Expert Gartner subscription required). What does this all mean for your brand? Seize the opportunity to help reduce your customers’ uncertainty by identifying where you are best positioned to partner with experts to offer help at meaningful moments across your customer’s end-to-end journey and they will thank you for it.
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