Satisfaction is not enough – How to build emotional customer connections

Today companies face ever increasing global competition, whilst striving for continuously growing profits and market share. Most firms focus on achieving high customer satisfaction at every stage of the customer journey. But satisfaction is not enough!

A recent study published by the Harvard Business Review suggests that customers with an emotional connection to a brand are 52% more valuable than highly satisfied ones.

They purchase more and more often, are less price sensitive, pay closer attention to promotional material, follow advice and actively promote the brand.

But how can a brand build emotional connections with their customers?

A brand has to understand their customers’ deep and often unspoken needs and link these motivators to specific purchasing behaviour to evaluate which desires are most profitable.

 

Source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, “The New Science of Customer Emotions” 

 

Emotional connections may differ between industries, categories and customer segments and may even shift in a segment depending on where a customer is in their customer journey.

Each brand needs to identify a specific set of needs that motivate their key customers and drive sales:

  1. Examine how the top quartile of your customer base or your most successful location differ from others
  2. Search for the key motivators of these connected customers
  3. Quantify the impact of different motivators on purchasing, spending, loyalty, and advocacy
  4. Gain a deeper understanding of connected customers through online surveys
  5. Evaluate motivators separate from your brand (reasons for brand choices do not always match key motivators)
  6. Develop informed strategy and optimise investments to turn highly satisfied customers into emotionally connected ones
  7. Make emotional connection a key objective not just in the marketing department but across the firm
  8. Regularly review customers’ emotional connection levels, as well as the correlation of customers’ emotional connection scores with lifetime value measures, such as annual spending, churn and tenure to adjust the strategy

A retail case study has shown that the implementation of an informed strategy led first year sales of new stores to exceed past averages by 20%, leading to shorter breakeven times and higher returns on capital. Sales grew by 3.5% in comparison with the annual average of just 1%, whilst inventory turnover increased more than 25%. Market share and customer advocacy also grew, contributing to record-high customer lifetime values.

The retailer had identified the need for a sense of belonging, a sense of thrill and a sense of freedom as key motivators. The brand redesigned their stores and implemented a social media campaign were customers could share their favourite outfits to satisfy their customers deepest desires.

 

Sounds daunting?

Actually, some of the world’s leading brands mistakenly believe that being considered a “good brand” by a large percentage of customers will secure long-term success. However, the blue bar in the following graphic demonstrates how many customers these brand failed to build an emotional connection with.

 

Source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, “The New Science of Customer Emotions” 

 

This emotional connection gap represents an enormous opportunity for all brands to transform satisfied customers into emotionally connected and more valuable ones.

Source: The New Science of Customer Emotions

Know what your customers are thinking. It’s really that simple.
Read more about the Key to Successful Marketing.

The Power of Data Analysis

Global competition and increasingly ambitious business objectives leave no room for instinctive decision making.  Staying ahead in a world of infinite social media tweets and posts and online shops requires a 360-degree view of the elusive customer to guarantee successful and goal oriented omni-channel brand engagement. You have to know your customer and their every wish and desire to service them strategically and uniquely to guarantee sustainable success.

However, a 2017 CMO survey by Black Ink revealed that marketers perceived access to advanced analytics and general data to be the biggest hurdles in marketing; and, continually find themselves forced to rely on legacy solutions such as Excel or CRM systems.

The key to sustainably successful marketing is to align data insights with strategic company objectives.

Ask yourself:

  • What are your core objectives?
  • How does marketing contribute to these objectives?
  • Which data can you utilize to analyse your performance?
  • How will you measure success?
  • How can you design and install a systematic and continuous measurement process?

These questions will help you identify your key objectives and strategically collect and analyse data to measure success and inform strategy.

Be very selective about which data you choose to analyse and how and why. Metrics should only be included if the relationship between the metric and the goal is clear.

Such as:

Goal

Metric

Increase brand awareness number of daily website visitors
Focus budget on most profitable customer segments return on ad spend
Maintain market leader position content trends
Optimise spending on campaigns campaign conversion rates

 

This objectives-focused data analysis approach makes data both accessible as well as actionable by providing an in-depth performance summary, enabling decision making on the spot.

Metrics should be re-evaluated and modified regularly and made accessible to all team members; guaranteeing informed, prompt and appropriate decision making and goal oriented actions.

Source: Marketing Analytics dashboards: The do’s and don’ts

Know what your customers are thinking. Act now.
Read more about the Key to Successful Marketing.