In a recent study done by IBM, the IBM Institute for Business Value survey explores “Winning over the empowered consumer” – why trust matters. This study examined a sample size of 28,000 consumers worldwide to determine the reasons for giving loyalty to only a select few retailers and specifically why having the right product and prices are not enough for the modern consumer. Naturally, this got me thinking.
Trust is the Key
Trust is imperative in any relationship whether that be romantic, business, friendship, or familial. Many would argue that trust is the most important element in these connections. In terms of business relationships – there are many factors that affect the level of trust a consumer or business has in your company. How can we win over the loyalty of the customers who are faced to determine where to spend their time, resources, and money?
IBM highlights three things retailers must do to win over this “empowered consumer” in the Executive Summary. Retailers must: Listen and Learn, Anticipate and Adapt, and Execute and Excel. As a consumer myself, I agree with IBM’s assessment. As IBM mentions, whether you are a retailer tailoring your messages to consumers, or selling to other businesses, knowing your audience is the most critical aspect of effective marketing.
Non-Profit Approach – relying on loyalty
The idea of knowing your audience to build a loyal customer was again presented to me at a non-profit panel discussion I attended last week. The Director of Donor Markets for the Greater Twin Cities United Way, spoke about non-profit business and United Way’s marketing approach to receiving this trust. In marketing to potential donors and volunteers, finding stories and messages relevant to that individual is vital. Replace donor with LOYAL customer, and you have yourself a similar situation. The difference with the non-profit business model is that, without these contributions, their business cannot function. Going forward, try thinking like a non-profit. “If I want to continue marketing to my customers (because otherwise, I will have no money to do so), I NEED advocates. Who of my customers are willing to share a testimonial or story that will get the occasional shoppers to trust and remain loyal to us?”
A Non-profit approach to a 4Profit Industry
While clothing stores, technology companies, and restaurants have nice big budgets for branding and building customer loyalty, what if we all had to rely solely on our advocates? Would your business be able to survive on your supporters and shared successes alone? Are you spending enough time getting to know your target audience(s) and what they want, or are you throwing marketing dollars into programs because they have worked for other retailers? How do you apply a non-profit attitude to a for-profit budget? How do you tug at your customer’s heartstrings? So many questions to ask! Remember, share the stories that will make YOUR AUDIENCE want to spend money with you – Trust will follow!
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