Here is an excerpt from an article written by Karen Freeman, Patrick Spenner, and Anna Bird for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, and sign up for a subscription to HBR email alerts, please click here.
Note: This post is the last in a three-part series.
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Most marketers think that the best way to hold onto customers is through “engagement” — interacting as much as possible with them and building relationships. It turns out that that’s rarely true. In a study involving more than 7000 consumers, we found that companies often have dangerously wrong ideas about how best to engage with customers. Consider [the first of] three myths.
Myth #1: Most consumers want to have relationships with your brand.
Actually, they don’t. Only 23% of the consumers in our study said they have a relationship with a brand. In the typical consumer’s view of the world, relationships are reserved for friends, family and colleagues. That’s why, when you ask the 77% of consumers who don’t have relationships with brands to explain why, you get comments like “It’s just a brand, not a member of my family.” (What consumers really want when they interact with brands online is to get discounts).
How should you market differently?
First, understand which of your consumers are in the 23% and which are in the 77%. Who wants a relationship and who doesn’t? Then, apply different expectations to those two groups and market differently to them. Stop bombarding consumers who don’t want a relationship with your attempts to build one through endless emails or complex loyalty programs. Those efforts will be low ROI. Chances are there are higher returns to be had elsewhere in your marketing mix.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
To check out more of their blog posts, please click here.
Karen Freeman is a managing director with the Corporate Executive Board. Patrick Spenner is a managing director and Anna Bird is a senior researcher in CEB’s Sales, Marketing and Communications practice.