Thank-You Campaigns: Loyalty and Customer Retention

In Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM, Marketing and Sales by Kevin Kelly

thankyou!, Customer acquisition, customer appreciation, customer experience, loyal customer, loyalty, marketing strategies

Thank-you campaigns provide strategies for loyalty, customer retention, and marketing.

If you ever come to Soho in New York, let me tell you the corner of Spring and Broadway is the worst. People just stand there and look lost. New Yorkers plow through the idling visitors uttering, at most, an aggressive ‘excuse me!' if not more explicit frustrated exhalations. However, while awaiting the green walk man yesterday at lunch time, a New Yorker gave a sincere thank you to a tourist who nervously shuffled out of her way. She maintained her powerwalk but it was notable moment in a city that is often a little less than friendly.

It's that same kind of feeling when a brand tells you thank you—borderline unexpected. And this is not the thank you on the bag or on the bottom of the receipt: this is a spontaneous. Thank you's are an interpersonal tradition that have more or less socially declined and so, when a ‘thank you!' is declared now it means even more. This forges a unique space for brands to capitalize upon.

Thank you campaigns and their successes demonstrate the difference between customer retention strategies versus customer acquisition strategies. This distinction has been important as brands shifted marketing strategies for recession markets. Markets demonstrate that it is increasingly more important to retain customers than to seek new ones with gimmicky sales. Thanking loyal customers for continually purchasing your brand will likely make them feel valued and important.

Thank you campaigns are especially successful when brands play with the ‘you' such as Proctor and Gamble's "Thank You Mom" campaign. In this campaign P&G directly allowed customers to thank Moms for their work while indirectly thanking the Mom consumer base. Moreover, the campaign was expertly situated during the Summer 2012 London Olympics—a moment chock full of stories celebrating parent support. The result: over 795,000 Facebook likes.

Thank you campaigns also come in more direct forms that thank consumers for being loyal to brands. These coupon or discount campaigns reward customers for repeatedly choosing their store—the great thing is that it doesn't come off as a promotion. It feels good to get these emails or letters.

These are not, however, risk free marketing moves for a brand. They can easily backfire if poorly timed current events coincide with your brand declaring thank you. It's important to connect emotionally with your loyal customers—but do so effectively in a well timed cultural climate like P&G.

Brand loyalty is achieved through complex and thorough strategies—and it's critical (and potentially lucrative) to honestly thank them for that. Nissan and The Marketing Store North America will be discussing these kinds of issues at the Loyalty World USA festival this October. They will co-present a case study entitled "Beyond transactions: building true customer loyalty."

[PHOTO: Flikr hellojenuine]