There are TWO keywords for your post-COVID marketing strategy: Trust and Retention
2020 won’t be a year any of us forgets anytime soon. Social distancing brought us personal and economic uncertainty that’s sure to last through the remainder of the year. We won’t fully appreciate the full impact on this global pandemic for a very long time. Now IS the time to think about your post-COVID marketing strategies though.
Right now, businesses are having to make decisions that will determine whether they’re company survives or even thrives in a post-COVID-19 world.
Let’s face it, post-COVID marketing and PR will be very needed. It’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “what” and “how.”
From past recessions, we know customers steer towards familiarity during times of uncertainty. With this in mind, it’s important for brands to cherish their customers, keep in touch with their customers and tap into and enhance brand loyalty.
Even in a recession, consumers will still splurge, they will STILL treat themselves, but emotional triggers take on outsized importance because consumers actually DO want to feel good about their purchases and when consumers are watching their expenses closely, they have more to lose from a lousy brand (product, customer service, communication) experience. When consumers are watching their pennies, they aren’t taking as many risks with their money.
Get Emotional With Your Customer Retention
Now is a great time to reinforce the brand relationship with existing customers. Think about customer loyalty programs and branding & PR initiatives that strike right to the heart of your existing customers. Discounts and sales are easy, but do nothing for loyalty, so look at reinforcing customer loyalty right now. Now, understand, no consumer says “I want a relationship with a brand,” instead the relationship resides in their subconscious. Our work with Captivation Motivations means we deeply understand how consumers act, even when they don’t understand why they act.
Not only does post-COVID marketing to existing customers cost less than acquiring new customers, but it also pads the bottom line for years to come:
1) Customers with an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71%, rather than the average rate of 45%. (Motista)
2) Emotionally connected customers stay with a brand an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years (Motista)
3) Emotionally connected customers recommend brands at much higher rates: 30.2% vs. 7.6% (Motista)
Grab Share of Voice While It’s Available
Brands who maintain or even increase ad spends are able to thrive in the years after recessions, the same will be true for post-COVID marketing. There are several reasons for this, first is branding confidence.
While the Edelman Trust Barometer of 2020 addresses the lack of trust in advertising, the strategy behind advertising isn’t trust itself, it’s exposure which leads to familiarity, which leads to increased trust. Also, the ROI will improve because fewer competitors will be advertising so your message will come across more strongly.
Plus, consumers know that marketing decreases during recessions, so by advertising you’re sending a message of your own confidence and strength to both customers and competition.
That said, expect PR, specifically earned media to take an outsized influence as earned media leads in trust. Brands using PR to refine and focus their commitment to their existing customers will score extra bonus points in customer retention.
4) Companies who maintained or increase ad spend during a recession saw a 256% increase in sales over those who cut back (Innovating Through a Recession: Professor Andrew J. Razeghi Kellogg School of Management)
5) 92% of consumers say they trust earned media over purely promotional content. (PR Daily)
6) 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads (Content Marketing Institute)
Maximize Happy Customers
Celebrate your existing customers, because customer retention is the name of the game. But go the extra mile too, ask for and encourage your customers to give you reviews and feedback AND show that you appreciate their willingness to do so. The reason for this is simple, the more engaged a customer, the more likely they are to be in the habit of referring you to others.
For the last decade, we’ve witnessed one of the most incredible consumer shifts in marketing: the traceability of consumer referrals. We now know that for certain that when a friend recommends a product or service, that product or service immediately benefits from a trust boost. This trend will be on supercharge throughout 2020.
During the boom economy, you probably spent the majority of your marketing budget on the acquisition of new customers. In the post-COVID marketing world, now it’s time to turn your funding away from acquisition funnels and into emotional connections and reinforcing trust with your existing customers, pivoting your marketing budget towards this strategy will increase revenues (yes, even during a recession).
7) Happy American customers will share their positive experiences with and refer about 11 people. (American Express)
8) It’s 5-25X more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. (HBR)
9) A 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%. (HBR)
10) 80% of an organization’s future revenue will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers (InsightSquared)