Confession: I make most of my major purchases between the hours of 9pm and midnight, usually in my pajamas, and often after a glass of wine (or so) at dinner. Such was the scene earlier this month, when I decided to buy a Fitbit. Why? Fitbits, which measure the calories you burn and steps you take throughout the day, combine three of my favorite things: 1) exercise, 2) gadgets, and 3) hard data with which to brag about my achievements.

Credit card by my side, I started my research. At first, the only question was which Fitbit to buy. Which features did I need? Did I want a bracelet, or a clip on? How important was the alarm clock? As I pored over the reviews, I widened my search further. Were Fitbit-brand products the most accurate at counting calories? Was its competitor, the Jawbone, more attractive? Did I want a heart rate monitor instead? I’d opened my laptop determined to make a purchase, but over an hour later, I was exactly 0% closer to Fitbit ownership.

The Changing Face of Brand Loyalty

Because I had no loyalty to Fitbit or to Jawbone, neither brands carried any special power. I could view both brand’s products, side-by-side, on any number of retail sites. So as I researched, I wasn’t worried about the brand of my new step/calorie counter – I just wanted the best functionality at the best price.

This is exactly the kind of El Salvador Phone Number purchasing experience that inspired an article published in The New Yorker earlier this month, declaring that brands have never been more fragile. “The reason is simple,” writes James Surowiecki. “Consumers are supremely well informed and far more likely to investigate the retail value of products than to rely on logos.”

 

How to Give Your Brand the Advantage

Assuming you have competitors, your potential customers will probably approach your product in the same way I approached Fitbit – they’ll read reviews, ask their friends, and view you and your competitors’ products side-by-side. Thanks to the changing face of customer loyalty, you can’t even count on existing customers to make another purchase. So if your organization isn’t one of the Harley Davidsons or Coca-Colas of the world, how can you create marketing that has an impact at the final hour?

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Brand loyalty may be changing, but retention is still a crucial part of your marketing/advertising game. You can expect your customers to shop around after a bad experience. With your brand, but don’t underestimate the power of product familiarity. For example, I’ve always been a mac person – not because I’m certain. That macs are better than pcs, but because I’m used to them. This makes other products seem risky – what if I don’t like them as much? Where’s the “on” button? If Apple made a competing Fitbit product, my decision would’ve been easy.

Lifecycle marketing builds brand loyalty by continuing to market to customers after they buy. We’re always trying to gauge interest in our products, but what could be a bigger indicator than an actual purchase? Of course, it’s essential to adjust your marketing accordingly – nobody wants to be offered a product they’ve already bought. Using personalization tools, you can offer current customers complementary products, based on their previous purchases or website engagement.

 

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