Customer retention: How relevance trumps loyalty

Customer retention: How relevance trumps loyalty
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Co-Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.

Most loyalty programs fail to make the mark as they lack value proposition. According to a recent study, 71% of consumers claim loyalty incentive programs don’t make them loyal. That happens because brands fail to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape.

That’s why the next generation of consumers is more interested in relevance. It will be the key to marketing success in the coming years. So, how do you shift your focus from loyalty to relevance?

Here are five tips that will help.

Stop telling and start listening

The first thing you need to do is to start listening actively to your customers. The more you know about them and their needs, the easier it becomes to create relevant content. While listening to your customers, don’t let your own frame of reference come in the way. Try to understand what they are saying from their point of view, not yours.

For example, Foxy’s Pash Frozen Yogurt almost went out of business for not listening to their consumers. As it turned out, 71% of consumers didn’t like their product packaging, among other things, which affected their sales. Luckily, they were able to act in time to save their brand.

Loyalty will also remain important. But, you won’t get to it unless your products or services are relevant to your consumer base. So, listen, collect feedback, filter it out (but don’t edit it), and act on it as soon as possible.

Focus on the five ‘Ps’ of relevance

Whether you are running an online store or a tech startup, the five Ps of relevance are the essential elements that will allow you to craft a relevant marketing strategy. Regardless of how trivial they may seem, they can improve your brand’s relevance by a mile.

  • Purpose: Make your customer feel that your brand not only shares, but also encourages their values and beliefs
  • Pride: Make your customers feel proud about your brand to turn them into your champions. It will lead to word-of-mouth publicity for your brand, both online and offline
  • Partnership: Ensure your consumers feel like your company works with them and that they are also a part of your brand identity
  • Protection: Make your consumers feel safe when dealing with your brand
  • Personalisation: You need to ensure all your customers get shopping experiences tailored to their personal needs and priorities. Personalisation and relevance go hand in hand.

Timing is crucial

Whether it is a promotional email or an online advertisement, delivering it to the right person at the right time will amplify its relevance. Otherwise, it will fall on deaf ears. For example, what is the point of sending Christmas sale emails in the second week of January?

You can use predictive analytics and machine learning to study and predict the possible online behaviour of your target audience. You can find a variety of predictive analytics tools online. They will allow you to time your message to a T.

Let go of your rigid business mindset

Most brands fail to be relevant because they can’t overcome their rigid business mindset. They are not willing to change their set ways of doing business, usually nothing but a product-focused mindset. To be relevant, however, you need to develop a customer-oriented mindset.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to take advice from your consumers at every step. However, consumer sentiment should be the backbone of your content marketing strategy. For example, Google recently launched the two-wheeler-specific navigation in India. If they want to survive in the largest two-wheeler market in the world, they need to adapt, and they did.

Stepping outside your comfort zone

If you are to change your business mindset, you will need to step out of your comfort zone. You should find creative ways to connect with your audience. For example, Guinness, a leading beer brand, used virtual reality to connect with their consumer base, especially the younger generation.

While prioritising digital targeting, the brand allows people to taste and experience different Guinness beers with a virtual reality headset in the pre-designed 360º settings. You can experience colors, textures, movements, and sounds that can enhance the flavour profiles.


Though loyalty will continue to play an undeniable role in marketing, relevance is going to have the upper hand in the coming years. Companies focusing on relevance will drive more repeat purchases. Hopefully, the above five pointers will help you incorporate relevance in your digital marketing endeavours. Good luck!

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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