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We often hear pundits say "brand loyalty is dead." Though I don't believe it's completely buried, I do agree that the price a brand must pay to ensure consumers are as loyal as they were 10-20 years ago has increased dramatically.

Not to mention that by the year 2020 loyalty will be based solely on experience, not on price or quality of product or service, research indicates.

Why this trend?

Digitally empowered consumers are fickle in our hyper-connected economy. They have so many options, available via so many avenues, that creating and maintaining loyalty is extremely difficult.

Brand loyalty will get you only so far when consumers can google your product or service and immediately see whether a competitor's pricing or location works better for them.

Which is why data-driven customer engagement is a must—to understand whether price motivates purchase or something else will get this person to your site or in your physical location to make a purchase.

In short, you have to know your customers well enough that you can predict what they want. But where do you begin, and what steps must you take?

Let me suggest four steps for synchronizing your brand marketing with the customer journey.

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image of Jonathan Moran

Jonathan Moran is senior product marketing manager for SAS Customer Intelligence Solutions. Jon is particularly interested in the rise of social, the profitability of customers, and best-practice retention strategies.

Twitter: @jmmoran12

LinkedIn: Jonathan Moran