Coalition is the new mantra, say direct marketing experts

Industry experts emphasise on the importance of customer relationship in retention today and cite coalition as the new mantra towards this goal

e4m by Priyanka Mehra
Updated: Aug 6, 2012 10:16 PM
Coalition is the new mantra, say direct marketing experts

With people being inundated with a minimum of a dozen offers on a daily basis, ‘How to write copy that sells’ by DM Guru Andy Owen from the UK on the various facets of writing copy that has considerable customer pull has caught marketers’ attention.

Customers today are not only spoilt for choice with a plethora of brands, customer loyalty too seems like a thing of the past, gone are the days when generations continued to use one brand for decades. While consumer acquisition continues to be the focus, customer retention is the bane of every marketer and company’s existence.

“We live in the age of the never satisfied customer. Consumer loyalty cannot be demanded, it has to be earned. Customers don’t love you they love themselves,” noted Rajat Sethi, ED, Direxions , who cited coalition as the new mantra for customer retention and urged marketers to leverage partnerships instead of trying to please customers by doing everything on their own.

“There is a lack of metrics. We are not ready to handle data when it comes, loyalty programmes in India are designed to cause disloyalty,” observed Sandip Tarkas, President Customer Strategy & CEO, Future Media.

While marketing experts agree that to be able to change the way customer loyalty is handled today there needs to be a ‘buy in’ at the top and that customer retention needs to be the focus of the day, as opposed to be relegated to the back seat in the race to acquire more clients to meet targets.

Select Direct MD Ramesh Iyengar’s advice to marketers is to regard consumers as flesh and blood. “Use different strokes for different folks, brand marketers need to be a little brave and support agencies,” he said, while emphasising that each consumer is an individual and needs to treated as one.

Marketers also need to avoid sameness in loyalty programmes and understand the importance of analytics in customer retention, say industry experts.

‘Emotion, Engagement, Exclusivity, and Experience’ were cited as the four Es of marketing in the new era by David Whittaker, MD, Market Data of Brazil. “80 per cent of CEOs think that their company provides superior service, 8 per cent of consumers agree with this,” he said. Whittaker stressed on the importance of relationship with a consumer as opposed to giving importance to technology by marketers.

While customer relationship is pivotal, the importance of the digital medium cannot be underestimated, with 67 per cent of e-commerce coming from mobile devices.

Rajat Sethi, Sandip Tarkas, Ramesh Iyengar and David Whittaker were speaking at the DMAi 2012 Convention, held in Mumbai from August 1 to 4.

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