Marketers have long sought to build relationships with consumers to encourage brand loyalty, but their tactics are falling short.

Many marketers try to drive loyalty through traditional channels, such as maintaining a CRM database, launching a loyalty rewards program, and even using a social media following as a de facto "community" (hint: it's not). Yet, loyalty is getting hard to come by, and consumers cheat on brands often: Fully 77% of people retract their brand loyalty faster than they did three years ago.

Marketers still make two significant errors when using traditional loyalty tactics: trying to develop a relationship built on transactions; and not listening to consumers.

Marketers often try to get consumers to stick around solely by offering points, levels, and reward discount codes, only to find that consumers ignore these outreach methods: 78% of Americans abandon loyalty programs they signed up for.

Another way a company can quickly lose loyal customers is to ignore them. Fully 83% of consumers say they would be more loyal to a brand if they knew that the brand would act on their feedback and make improvements. In a study of 6,500 Americans, 85% said they have given some form of feedback to a brand or company, but just 46% of those people said they feel their feedback was used in a constructive way.

When companies listen to their customers, they succeed. When companies don't listen, they flounder.

A shift is happening, and marketers who act on it are ahead of the game. Traditional loyalty tactics are actually missing some of the critical components that make loyalty possible. Points and one-way communications do not define the future of loyalty. The X factor for building loyalty is emotional relationships built from a customer-first dialogue.

Marketers from revolutionary fitness and technology brand Peloton once said, "We made a conscious decision not to offer a rewards program because we felt it risked cheapening the authentic relationship we have with our community. Instead, we aim to cultivate emotional loyalty by listening closely to members."

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image of Susan Frech

Susan Frech is a co-founder and the CEO of Social Media Link, an enterprise engagement and activation platform launched in 2009 to help brands build communities. She has 20+ years of experience in advertising and marketing services.

LinkedIn: Susan Frech

Twitter: @SueFrech