Voice-of-customer model, not daily deal discounts, helps marketers deliver brand experience that matches disparate customer expectations

Cincinnati, OH.  (January 26, 2012)  “A brand’s customers have similar, yet distinct interests and expectations. Retaining these customers long-term is dependent upon a brand’s ability to understand them when you acquire them and to use a data-centric marketing strategy to drive brand engagement and create loyal brand advocates,” says Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association.  “When the expectations of both the consumer and the brand are understood and refined through a process of interactive dialogue, the ‘expectation’ is ‘matched’ and mutually beneficial outcomes and financial benefit for the brand are created.”

A term coined by Loyalty 360, expectation matching is when customer-centric brands create immeasurable brand loyalty and engagement by using the behavioral insights from their customers (gleaned through a pro-active dialogue) to ensure they match their disparate expectations.

As Johnson explains, “Marketers believe that ‘they’ know what is best for the customers, and through countless customer experience surveys they think they understand what their consumers want. Yet, we know that people are inherently irrational and what they tell you in a feedback mechanism may not mirror their actual behavior. Marketers that successfully cultivate loyal brand advocates do so by implementing a true voice-of-customer model to get under the hood and create a comprehensive, 360-degree view of the customers.  Only when armed with this insight can marketers deliver a brand experience that matches (and ultimately exceeds) customer expectations.”

Brands that do not meet the expectations of their customers typically resort to using discounting, gimmicks and other methods to entice potential customers to purchase from them.  This practice is not new nor the exclusive domain of Groupon, Living Social or Google; it has been around for years in the form of coupons, FSI’s, ValPak, and others. The contention is that a brand can offer a significant discount that will encourage customers to partake in the brand now and in the future—- yet they have little or no knowledge if you will do so more than once.

Johnson believes that this ‘acquisition without expectation mentality’ is detrimental.  “I would argue that you harm the brand indefinitely when, from the onset of the relationship, you tell the customer that you will give them a huge discount to purchase their brand.  Doing this creates divergent expectations, and since the brand is not going to meet nor exceed customer experience baselines, there’s really no hope that the customer will re-engage with brand.” 

Johnson will explore “expectation matching” in greater detail during his keynote session at Loyalty 360’s 5th annual Loyalty Expo, being held March 18-20 in Orlando. At this premiere loyalty marketing event, more than 500 executives from leading companies worldwide will gather to learn how today’s most innovative brands are creating truly customer-centric organizations. Keynotes and interactive sessions led by many of today’s great minds in marketing, will explore how to:

  • Engage the hearts and minds of today’s customers
  • Optimize loyalty programs to drive sustainable business results
  • Align marketing strategy and customer experience
  • Leverage influential customers and social media feedback

For more information and registration, please visit Loyalty Expo 2012.

About Loyalty 360

Loyalty 360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association is an unbiased, market driven, voice-of-the-customer focused clearinghouse and think-tank that is committed to bringing loyalty to the forefront as a critical marketing strategy. A trusted source for cutting-edge research, best practices, and networking opportunities, Loyalty 360 gives marketers the expert insights and guidance they need to better understand loyalty and develop programs that effectively engage their customers and employees and build stronger relationships with them. www.loyalty360.org

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