Creating connections with customers takes work—just like any relationship. So what does it take these days to attract a loyal customer? A nice ad, a good website, a big discount, a special premium, or a personal phone call? How about a dozen roses?
That's the problem today. It takes all of the above—and even the best brands are struggling to deliver the personal touch that customers have come to expect. Exactly when did customers become so needy—and so picky?
As a consumer, you know in an instant when you're dealing with a company that doesn't have it together. We’ve all been there: “Pleeeassse, don't ask for my serial number again and the spelling of my name and my account numbers. Know me. That's all I ask."
So as a marketer, you know when you've gone awry and crossed the line from a clever campaign to an intrusive, poorly formed communication. But sometimes, the systems, the agencies, and the processes hold you back. I am, like the rest of you, searching to deliver this Nirvana. Done well, our customers become something more than customers. They become brand advocates who shout from the highest rooftops about how truly great we are. Done poorly, and well, the opposite happens.
All of this is, of course, hard work. Back-end processes need to talk to the front-end office. Marketing campaigns need to be tied into inventory. Websites need to know what interests people. Customer service needs to be clairvoyant.
I'm thinking it might just be easier to take out an ad on Craigslist: "Motivated marketer seeks loyal customers and active brand advocates for long-term relationships."
On second thought, today's savvy customers just might see through it!