Don’t Fake the Engagement: Three Marketing Strategies To Build Emotional Loyalty

It’s not about pushing short-term campaigns or even long-term purchases. You want to win over customers to your side, according to the CMO Council. Here’s how you can make emotional loyalty work for you.

Not all loyalty is created equal, and if it feels like a simple transaction, it could harm the overall effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

That’s a takeaway from a CMO Council study on loyalty, which found that 43 percent of marketers identified their customers as being “transactional” in nature. The result of this is that, while another 43 percent of respondents called building deeper customer relationships a “top priority” in the next year, only 11 percent of respondents felt that their current engagement strategies were going to help them reach their long-term goals for growth, profitability, and engagement.

“Too many of these organizations are building relationships with line items and invoices, instead of the actual people behind the voice and the transaction,” said Liz Miller, the CMO Council’s senior vice president of marketing.

So how do organizations get closer to the broader goal of drawing lasting, meaningful customer relationships rooted in emotional loyalty? Some key points underlined by ‌Loyalty That Lasts: Evolving Growth Strategies to Activate Emotional Connections with Brands [registration]:

Put less focus on purchases, and more on overall experience. The report highlights how loyalty is often defined by what consumers buy—with 58 percent of respondents expressing the belief that loyalty is reflected by repeated purchases—rather than how they interact with the brand. The report suggests that leaning on unwavering attachment rather than individual purchases has the effect of creating a stronger bond of loyalty. “While this definition may still involve transactions, and more specifically purchases, these organizations have chosen to prioritize the bond over the scheme, building lasting relationships with their customers instead of just developing programs that develop more lucrative single outcomes,” the authors state.

Build toward a deeper relationship. The report notes that emotional loyalty comes in multiple parts that come together to create a stronger whole: a general affinity, a long-term attachment, and trust that the brand will do the right thing. It requires something more than a mere habitual purchase. “These are the touchpoints that bring brands and consumers closer together, but genuine loyalty is an outcome—a goal that can only be achieved by truly knowing your customers and carefully nurturing every relationship you have,” the report continues.

Think toward the long term. Trying to grab customers based on a series of well-executed campaigns may help to juice numbers over the short term, but it’s better to lean on an engagement strategy that focuses on long-term nurturing over short-term growth. And that requires a long discussion about what customers mean to your organization and how to best serve them, so that they not only stick around but also care about what you represent. “Emotional loyalty isn’t a campaign or scheme implemented in one department. Emotional loyalty can’t be achieved by just installing a new system or adding a new solution,” the report adds. “A path towards emotional loyalty must start and stop with a foundational evolution of how a brand thinks, sees, and respects their customer, from their data to their voice.”

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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