Sunday, April 24, 2011

Don’t Fear the Feedback: Social Media Can be Powerful PR Tool

I welcome Terrie's insights and share them with you. Terrie Mavros is electronic marketing specialist at the $332 million Bellwether Community Credit Union in Manchester, N.H.

Don’t Fear the Feedback: Social Media Can be Powerful PR Tool

Is the fear of negative comments keeping you from social media endeavors? Are you concerned that if you put your brand “out there”, you might have feedback that is less than stellar, for all to see? If you already have a page or two, are you quick to delete anything that could be perceived as negative, because you are worried that others will see it?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? Fear not! Look at these as opportunities to not only tout your brand, but to engage in conversation with members, embrace opportunities to serve, and show the world how you make your members a priority and solve their problems.
Here’s an example of how a negative comment could actually work in your favor. We recently encountered a member post on our Facebook page. The member had waited for what he perceived to be too long for a new ATM card. He posted his displeasure on our Facebook page on Thanksgiving Day, and I (thankfully!) happened to check the page that afternoon.
I immediately responded that I understood and would be lost without my own card, and that I'd have someone from our contact center get in touch with him first thing Friday a.m. I made sure that happened, and they got him a new card right away. Well, he came back and re-posted on the page how great we took care of him and that he was “all set”. So- every single person that "likes" our page got to see how we made a member a top priority and solved his problem to his satisfaction. PRICELESS PR!
Social media is about having conversations, establishing your business as “the” expert in its field, and getting yourself in front of new, potential customers. But it can also be an opportunity to show how much you care about your current members. It is not only a marketing tool, it is a chance for you to learn what is important to those members and perhaps even learn about areas in which you can improve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

5 Key Customer Loyalty Trends for 2011

Here are a few insights from Mark Johnson, CEO of Cincinnati-based Loyalty 360—The Loyalty Marketer’s Association for how best to engage customers in the coming year. He wrote 11 here are five.

“In today’s crowded marketplace, creating loyal, engaged customers is more important—and more challenging—than ever,” says Johnson. “That is why we are going to see a number of key trends unfold over the next year.”
Here a few key trends he predicts will dominate the loyalty marketing industry in 2011:
1. Focusing on engagement and building long-term relationships. Loyalty is not a program — it is a journey & a strategic business goal. 
2. Loyalty will focus more on emotions rather than on rational, incentive-based initiatives It’s the emotional side of the decision-making process that creates connected, passionate, & engaged customers. Behavioral economists tell us that economic decision-making is 70% emotional & 30 % rational, which is why incentive-based loyalty programs that engage the emotions of your customers will work better than rationale based ones.

3. Relevancy will be a key driving force of customer loyalty and engagement. Today’s customers want loyalty programs to be “about me”—individual, relevant, meaningful, etc. Ipsos Mori and The Logic Group found that 48% of people surveyed said “Personally relevant deals are the second most frequently chosen reason for spending more with a company.” As business owners we need to strategically use the data we collect to show customers we’re listening & give them what they’re asking for.

4. In-the-moment marketing - how best to use all customer touch points, including mobile.  This is certainly not a one-size-fits-all communication channel. The most successful loyalty initiatives will be those that are relevant in terms of both messaging & communication. Take a more strategic, generational look at how you can most effectively use moment marketing, including mobile.
5. Cause-related marketing/corporate social responsibility programs that are aligned with strategic corporate goals will effectively drive loyalty—especially with Millennials.  That marketing segment of 18- to 34-year-olds. According to a recent survey by Cone, interest in cause-related marketing grew among the general population between 2008 & 2010, with social & environmental causes having a significantly greater influence on the purchase decisions of Millennials than any other generation. If marketers are looking for 18-to 34-year-olds’ receptiveness to branding, social and green issues are a good place to start—85% of respondents said they would switch brands because of such marketing, while 73% said it would get them to try a new brand.
KEY TAKE-AWAYS: Focus on...

The goal of customer loyalty initiatives will be to engage customers. With engagement comes loyalty, advocacy, trust, passion—the soft side of the customer relationship that directly impacts the bottom line.

What actions are you taking to create loyal customers?