If we ever needed any more proof that we are moving into the consumer-led business era, new data from Nielsen which delves into customer disloyalty just might be it.
Research published in the Nielsen Global Consumer Loyalty Survey has found that 33% of European consumers (36% in the US) say they love to try new brands, while a further 56% – although more loyal – also admit that they can ‘be moved to experiment.’
This trend for brand-hopping among consumers is a relatively modern phenomenon. 40% say they are more likely to try something new than they were five years ago. Brand loyalists are a shrinking minority and companies are having to double down on enticing exploratory consumers and – crucially – retaining them.
Of course, your martech stack will go some way to helping keep this new crop of fickle customers loyal. Let’s dive into the Nielsen consumer trends to see what marketing technologies and strategies can achieve this.
One of the key takeaways from this latest Nielsen data is the need for brands to reach beyond so-called firm loyalists.
Beyond this minority of your brand power-fans are the lazy loyalists, i.e. those who can be easily swayed by your competitors. And beyond them are the new, experimenting customers – those who might drop by to try you out.
A comprehensive omnichannel strategy is super important for these consumer groups. Potential customers are more likely to discover and be enticed to you if your brand is available on the channels they use. And they are more likely to make a purchase if the path to conversion is as short, consistent and easy as possible.
This convenience across all channels is also integral to retaining both new consumers and the lazy loyalists – even at a time when the cost of a product or service is still important.
‘Consumers are enticed by price, but more likely to commit for the tangibles,’ the report states.
We know that understanding our customers is important. As I covered in my last piece, the Single Customer View (SCV) is the most popular type of data platform among marketers in Europe.
The Nielsen report teases out some curious trends among consumers which reinforces the need for good practice with data and analytics.
In the first place, a personalized customer experience which is enriched with data and is seamless across channels is crucial to retaining the aforementioned lazy loyalists and new customers.
The report also highlights how important local products and experiences are to consumers too. It finds that 7% say they only buy local products, while a further 49% ‘mostly buy local but will consider those from other countries as well.’ This is relevant to certain brands more than others. But good data can ensure local origin can be leveraged and sufficiently targeted – and it can also assist with tailoring content marketing to local trends and tastes.
Trust is another key theme in the report. Clearly, in the context of big data, consumers need to be confident that their personal information is safe and respected.
In the brand disloyalty context, Nielsen also finds that trust-building through social engagement, interaction, social responsibility and transparency is vital too.
In both cases, if consumers can be sure a company is responsible with their data and with how they operate in the physical world then they are more likely to stick with them. These virtues also resonate with potential new customers as well.
Loyalty is changing and it’s easy to see why. There is less risk for consumers to try something new – and in many cases there are more brands to consider and to be admitted into the customer repertoire.
The good news for brands is that there is more martech accessible to large and small companies today to help retain customers long into the future.
Omnichannel marketing not only increases the chance of discovery of your brand, but also promotes convenience for future repeat custom. Consumers can be enticed by price, but they nearly as often remain loyal if the customer experience is easy and convenient.
Data and analytics help enrich the omnichannel customer experience. Consumers want the added efficiency of personalization, but are also – in many cases – drawn to businesses supplying local products and experiences. How well are these local needs being met by targeting? And should localization be reflected more readily in online content?
Nielsen also finds that trust is more important to customers than it ever has been. Can they trust you with their personal information? Additionally, can they trust that you are responsible and transparent with regards to how you operate more broadly?
If the answer to the latter question is yes, then consumers are increasingly likely to explore your brand – even if it means leaving behind another that is large or well-known. But, more importantly, a trusted brand can still be seen to build loyalty – even in the age of disloyalty. The loyalists are likely still there, they just might be persuaded to stick around for different reasons.
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