|Not Normal Marketing
Loyalty or Just Repeat Business
by Stephen Ghelerter
So you have
customers that have been coming back to you over and over again
for years. But does that mean that they are loyal? Maybe
they find your company marginal or generic and return for one of
familiar with your phone number or location.
They have a
fear of the unknown if they approach someone else.
know anyone else to call.
Your firm has
some familiarity with their needs and they don't want to
make the effort to start over with another vendor.
want to take the time to research a new vendor.
If you are a
takeout pizza restaurant, do they call you because your pizza is
so good and your service is so fast, or because your phone number is
on a magnet on their refrigerator and they don't want to make the
effort to look in the phone book for someone else?
Maybe they use you
because your are just OK. This may seem to work, but it is risky.
As soon as someone else approaches them, by personal visit,
coupon in the mail or in a newspaper, or a television ad, you
could lose them.
The trick to
loyalty is twofold. First, be good at everything you do so there
is no great incentive to go elsewhere. Good service, good products, knowledgeable
personnel, etc. Secondly, be outstanding at something.
What that something
should be depends on your capabilities and the needs of the
market. For Walmart it is low prices. Sears for many yours
offered satisfaction or your money back. For Brookstone it is
having the coolest, neatest stuff.
I know of a grocery
store in an upscale location that has valet parking. Some stores
will let you have an item free if it is priced wrong. I have
vendors who offer discounts or faster service if I place my order
online. Domino's Pizza became big by offering free pizza if it
was not delivered in 30 minutes.
The ideal something
is something your competition can't easily duplicate. While
McDonald's was frying their burgers, Burger King promoted theirs
as "grilled, not fried," i.e., healthier. McDonald's
couldn't start grilling all of a sudden. They just had to bite
the bullet and lose out to those who perceived grilling better.
Whatever you are
outstanding about won't appeal to all your customers, but the
ones who do like it will not want to go to your competitor. People who like the
easy ordering process and free shipping that amazon.com offers
don't want to shop elsewhere.
our Not Normal
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