November 25, 2012

The New Loyalty Formula Brands crave loyalty. That’s because loyal customers spend more and buy more frequently without the need for expensive communication or stimulation. And the most loyal customers tell their friends about their favorite brands. Consumers are much more ambivalent. They like what they like on their own terms. Their enthusiasms wax and wane. They want to hear from brands – but not that often. They are governed by a WiiFM (what’s in it for me) mentality, even for brands that are near and dear to their hearts. They can be swayed by price offers. The availability of 24/7 digital, social and mobile communications channels creates new and creative opportunities for brands to communicate and interact with loyal and potentially loyal consumers, which, in turn, creates opportunities for fans to interact, respond and share back. The trick is how, when and using which approach. The points based system, pioneered by the airlines and expanded by credit cards and grocery chains, seems to have limited appeal as an across-the-board loyalty solution. Few consumers care that much about many brands. Few are willing to amass points to buy Timmy a bike or trade 80,000 points for a microwave. Consumers’ appetites for a monthly statement of points accrued and catalogs of shiny prizes to be redeemed have diminished. The digital sensibility seems to rest on a critical consumer expectation. DiFM (do it for me) expects brands to understand what consumers do and want and to intervene with rewards and offers at the appropriate inflection points. These inflection points can be planned and communicated in an easy-to-understand way (e.g. 5% cash back) or spontaneously; which tend to surprise or delight customers usually at the point of sale. Similarly the DiFM idea demands that brands create or aggregate deals and offers and automatically communicate them and/or apply them in relevant circumstances. For grocery stores this means -- find all the coupons for stuff I buy, put them on my loyalty card and automatically deduct the discounts when you ring me up. For other retailers, it means automatically deduct deals and discounts and apply whatever rewards I’ve earned in the moment, when I’m making a relevant purchase. And while the systems requirements to deliver on this expectation are significant, consumers don’t care. If you are not proactively taking care of them, all the cards, points and promises in the world don’t matter. The new digital formula for loyalty programs is WiiFM + DiFM.
Zig Ziglar's Enduring Lessons I love working with sales guys. But I’ve always been extremely skeptical of sales trainers and motivational speakers; most of whom are full of it. But the sales and marketing world lost a giant this week with the passing of Zig Ziglar, one of the best and pioneering sales motivators. Long before others turned sales motivation into a slick, multi-channel industry, Zig, who carried a bag for 25 years before he started talking about it, was able to take real-world experience, draw common themes and lessons and deliver them in a memorable and folksy way. I had the pleasure to work with Zig several times. He was a humble guy who had an incredible way with people and the ability to size up his audience and tell a story like no one else. He had kind of a southern accent and he could frame big ideas and punctuate them with humor in ways that you could easily relate to and think about. Unlike other speakers, you could remember what Zig said the next day. In a word of blowhards and phonies, Zig was the genuine article. I’ll miss him. Here are his 4 key “teachings” that stick in my head. Be Real. People buy people. We are hard wired to spot threats and BS. Be yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t be afraid to expose your life experience. Every sale is about making a person-to-person connection. Be Memorable. Zig’s real name was Hilary. He knew that wouldn’t fly so the pneumonic nickname worked in his favor. His polyglot accent also set him apart as did his countless home spun funny stories. He always had a dramatic, unexpected or startling opening line. There are zillions of people pushing zillions of ideas, products and services. Differentiation is everything. Be Grateful. You may not have the sale … yet. But you have a bunch of other amazing gifts in your life. Don’t take this particular sale too seriously. Don’t underestimate the inner and material resources you have going into the sales conversation. You never have to be desperate. Leverage your strengths to endure the numbers game that is sales process. Be as patient and as giving as you can be. Karma exists in the world. It will work in your favor; even when its not immediately evident. Pace Yourself. Selling is conversation. It’s two-way and interactive. You’re not jamming something down somebody’s throat. You are creating a dialog where each subsequent interaction reveals new information and fleshes out a picture of what a prospect thinks and needs. One-call closes rarely happen. Punctuate the conversation so that key points are said and re-stated. Use examples and humor as reasons to believe or as evidence to support your pillar points. Repetition and variation drive resonance

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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