To Market for Loyalty, Choose Message Over Media

Apr 25, 2005

By John Hennessy

According to the 2005 Yankelovich Marketing Receptivity Survey, 55 percent of all consumers would be willing to pay a little extra to get only the kinds of marketing they prefer, but marketers aren’t listening. The survey results were summarized in an April 19th CRMToday article.

In delivering the results of the survey at the 51st Advertisement Research Foundation (ARF) Annual convention, J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich Partners, suggested that marketers were getting too hung up on media and taking their eye off best marketing practices.

“Marketers are mis-framing the debate about how to reconnect consumers,” Mr. Smith said. “This is not about new versus traditional media. New media, like digital and wireless technologies, will never solve the ongoing decline in marketing productivity. The most resistant consumers are still waiting for better marketing practices, no matter what media is thrown at them.”

The CRMToday article listed the top three marketing practices that consumers wanted as:

  • “Marketing that is short and to the point” – 43 percent

  • “Marketing that I can choose to see when it is most convenient for me” – 33 percent

  • “Marketing that is personally communicated to me by friends or experts I trust” – 32 percent

At the bottom of the list were marketing practices involving new media:

  • “Marketing that ties together traditional media with new media like the internet, PDAs or video games” – 7 percent

  • “Marketing that only uses new media like the Internet, PDAs or video games” – 8 percent

Moderator’s Comment: What marketing practices can be modified to gain the extra dollars shoppers are willing to spend?

How about promoting what shoppers enjoy?

Regular shoppers purchase a fairly static set of products. Purchase history can reveal what those preferences are. Then, instead of trying to entice shoppers
to buy what you want to sell, use marketing to encourage shoppers to buy more of the products you know they enjoy.

If a shopper regularly buys six units of product A, a marketing message that suggests they buy six units of Product A:

  • Is a message that is relevant to them and demonstrates that you’re paying attention,

  • Builds trust with the shopper,

  • Helps the shopper expand their enjoyment of Product A,

  • Reduces the likelihood that they’ll run out and stock up elsewhere and

  • Increases your sales of Product A to that shopper.

Best of all, since you know the shopper enjoys the product, you don’t need to use much incentive to get the sale. Just make sure you stock up on Product
A. You’ll be selling a lot of it.

Relevance is a very powerful tool.
John Hennessy – Moderator

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6 Comments on "To Market for Loyalty, Choose Message Over Media"

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Karen Kingsley
Karen Kingsley
15 years 10 months ago

I fundamentally agree with both the premise here and Ryan – however, there are still opportunities for some push marketing. If, for example, we know the consumer buys 6 units of product “A,” and I’m marketing product “B,” which has some legitimate, and new point of differentiation, it would be worthwhile bringing it to that consumer’s attention. Incent them to try it, then leave it to them.

The fact is, with the internet, consumers willingly spend more time asking to be sold than ever. The amount of time people spend on the internet researching products is unprecedented. I have, on numerous occasions, been sold on brands or products I’ve never heard of because of the research I did online. There is a unique opportunity here for those willing to truly absorb the sales cycle of their product line, unearth the logical points of contact and provide some sort of “opt in” mechanism for consumers to learn about the product.

Don Delzell
Don Delzell
15 years 10 months ago
I agree with the comment oriented toward marketing as education, combined with the insights provided by true CRM capability. This may sound entirely too humanistic…and it is…the motivation behind the effort may be more important than the message or the media. Why are you putting specific information in front of a specific customer? Fundamentally, I’m going to argue that if your motivation is simply to SELL stuff….you are going to eventually fail. However, if your motivation is actually to improve the life experience of the customer….you will ultimately succeed (assuming you are correct that the product will deliver that benefit). I’m not interested in any marketer’s loud self-absorption about “if I bought 6 of this, I might like that.” That’s statistical and non-humanistic. Why? Because many customers who bought A also buy B? Why am I like those “many”? CRM uses aggregations of data to give insight into those “why” questions, so that the product offered has a logical basis….one rooted in improving the life experience of the consumer. The companies I have studied who… Read more »
Tom Zatina
Tom Zatina
15 years 10 months ago

I think another and very basic place to start is with an examination of the so-called “loyalty” card programs. Retailers have spent a lot of time and money to implement these programs. Then they apply largely the same treatment to everyone with the card. So, we now have two groups of customers: those with a card and those without. And the customer with the card again feels no real special or individualized treatment and no real recognition. No trust and no sense of appreciation is developed and, thus, it has a negative impact on marketing efforts.

Stephan Kouzomis
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 10 months ago

Consumers are inundated with advertising, traditional and new internet ways.
And many of the Baby Boomers aren’t interested in buying new cars, furniture, etc. like 20 or 30 years ago. Again, the advertisers need to know their shoppers, and segment the market, accordingly. Mass marketing in all mediums to all consumers is fruitless.
Specialty bread companies are beginning to sell smaller sized products based on usage / household size, and price value. But, maybe, shoppers are tired of the overload of messages received on the internet. Hmmmmm

Ken Wyker
15 years 10 months ago

I think Ryan’s comment about rethinking our selling approach is right on target. With the new media and increased customer control of what they choose to see, we need to recognize that customers don’t want to be marketed to. We really need to shift from a selling approach to a Customer Service approach. Provide information that serves the customer in a way that makes it easy for them to get what they want from your store.

We have had a lot of success with a program that is built around the concept of serving the customer by making it easy for them to find the best deals and plan their weekly shopping trip. To the customer, it is nothing but a terrific customer service…a source of personalized information and convenient shopping tools that they find valuable. To the retailer, it is a marketing effort that drives sales, not by changing customer behavior, but by making it easy for customers to continue to shop their store every week.

James Tenser
15 years 10 months ago

Marketers who succeed in engaging customers and prospects in meaningful dialog will tend to win more often than marketers who randomly flood the channels with their messages.

As a consumer, will I willingly pay a little more for this targeting? Yes, but not by accepting a higher price point. I’ll pay something by purchasing the products of marketers whose approach is congenial to me — versus paying nothing by rejecting the propositions of those who are obnoxious.


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