As we try to drive loyal customer behavior, we often make mistakes because we over-simplify. We don't just have one kind of customer who is more loyal. Our loyal customers have diverse motivations, and their behavior can be triggered by various events. And they experience different emotions, yet all still fall within the "loyal" category. This realization is behind the increasing popularity of personas among marketers. Instead of segmenting our customers by demographics, we try to capture their motivations with a rich description of their situation and goals.
As marketers, when we plan loyalty programs, we are creating triggers which may fail. We have to be prepared to use that failure as data. We can't always afford to figure out why or what to do next, but we should not classify someone as 'not loyal' because they didn't respond to our offer.
I'm reminded of the Groucho Marx comment, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Without a loyalty program, it's hard to learn what motivates loyal behavior. Inside a loyalty program, it's still hard to read the data. We just have to plan to build up our knowledge over time.
strategy + business: Fan Favorites, 2016-Jun-7 by Erin Reilly
For example, a common fan mind-set among Americans interested in music is the “Vocalist.” As the name implies, Vocalists frequently listen to music and sing along, most often in the car. Their mood drives their choice of song and genre. Vocalists typically look for new music to listen to and enjoy learning about music and musicians, and will gladly purchase an album or other products artists might offer. However, they don’t go out of their way to attend concerts or festivals, even though they are more likely than most music fans to play and create music. The Vocalist mind-set is a combination of play,identification, and creation, but a Vocalist is not motivated by social connection or advocacy....
Although most fans will hold just one of these fan mind-sets most of the time, they may shift to other mind-sets according to changes in their unique situational triggers. These triggers, which may take the form of tangible objects or discrete actions, can be based on a number of factors, including geographical and virtual location, level of knowledge, strength of social networks, and emotions. If media producers can understand the objects and actions that inspire certain fan mind-sets, they will be better able to create content and activities that can help these fans engage more deeply with a given team, story, or brand...
The challenge of working with the concept of fandom is the absence of a hierarchical ranking into which we can slot various fan groups. The entertainment and media industry widely believes that 80 percent of its revenue comes from the 20 percent of its audience who are frequently referred to as “superfans.” Some might not consider Followers to be true fans; in contrast, Connoisseurs could be classified as superfans. But this sort of taxonomy papers over the opportunities that each mind-set offers in an engagement strategy. And when we look at fans through the lens of our two core questions of motivations and triggers, we discover multiple points of entry into a fan community, with multiple versions of meaningful engagement.