The FeedCast:
Marketing to the Mindset: How to Build Loyalty Across Generations

Featuring Eric Lent, COO, Gravity Haus

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For the first time, marketers are challenged with marketing to four different generations at the same time. Currently, we have Gen Z, Millenials, Gen X and Boomers making up the market audience.  An episode of The Feedcast, a Relay Network podcast, featured senior executive and CMO, Eric Lent sharing his thoughts on this multi-generational marketing opportunity along with his thoughts on keeping your customers loyal and engaged.

“Earlier in my career,” shares Lent, “I was given accountability for running youth marketing when millennials were just becoming teens. Now, they’re in their mid-thirties. We did a ton of research , both qual, quant and ethnographic. And what I learned back then was that this was the first time in history where fashion trends of teen girls haloed up to their moms. They were wearing the same pants, the same brands of shoes. And for me, it was a big ‘lightbulb’ moment. If you are targeting demographically, you run the risk of missing your buying target.” Essentially, Lent said, a buying target can span across generations. “You want to be personalized, you want to be relevant, to cater to an understanding of what their needs are, and needs span generations.”

This led to a conversation around the best practices for ‘marketing to the mindset’ and how that plays across channels.   “In my career,” shared Lent, “I’ve had the fortune of having run pure play digital businesses through a website or an app down to a combination of digital and physical experiences. And I’d say, across industries, the best practices are largely the same.”

Those best practices, he says, include: 

  • Personalization and relevance – It is critical to leverage your data—all data points—to build content that is fresh, relevant, and drives a 1:1 dialogue.  Your customers are giving you signals through each touchpoint, so its important to not rely just on one channel or one metric. Customers are smart and will learn to “tune out the noise” of poor content. Data enables personalization.
  • Community – It’s common practice today for consumers to seek out others with experience with a brand before making their purchase. Building your own community means you’re creating an environment where your buying community can come together and share ratings, reviews, and perspectives. If you can keep them in your environment, the chance of getting them down the purchase funnel is exponentially greater. Forcing them to go to another website or somewhere else to get that information opens you up to losing that customer. 
  • Gamification – How do you create little hints and nudges along the way to make people feel loyalty? It comes down to introducing the right elements along the way that give people social status, help them earn rewards and making them feel like they’re part of something special.  It’s consistent engagement between your brand and your customers. 

Lent continued with how to employ these practices in various channels, referring to our mobile phones as “the modern-day Swiss Army knife”. “As we all know, our apps act like a tool within the device.” To clarify, he used the example of IHG’s use of the mobile channel to personalize hotel stays and preferences. “They allow you, within their app, to set your preferences. So, when I book, I can select a room away from the elevator, on a top floor, with soft pillows. You’re allowing the customer to design their experience.”  This plays into personalization and gamification (the app will nudge you as your stay date gets closer), and also allows you to see other guest reviews on the app. In this example, as in others shared by Lent, his notion of multi-generational marketing by brands should be squarely on a marketer’s radar.  

“Loyalty is earned,” states Lent. “It’s not given, and it is only given when the experience and the engagement is consistent over time.”

Eric Lent

Marketers are taught to be champions of the brand, Lent continued, but your customers each have their own, individual experiences with your brand. Marketing to mindset is a philosophy that considers the broader needs of their audience along with segmented nuances that can be dialed up and down based on age and lifestyle. Marketers who adopt a ‘marketing to mindset’ philosophy may well see an increase in brand loyalty

All of these observations led Jim to use an all-hands approach in his Heart of the Customer consulting projects. By having a client’s team all at the table to hear what the customer is saying, they are all invested and there’s no finger pointing. “The ultimate goal,” Jim continues, “is keeping the customer satisfied throughout their lifetime with your company and product. We involve sales, product, operations, the marketing teams and get them to talk with their customer, to be part of the interviews so that I don’t have to tell them what the results were. They have heard them firsthand.” This sets a company up for success by making those participants
customer advocates within the organization.

As for the success rate of customer journey mapping, it was cited that two thirds of organizations that do customer journey mapping were not happy with their results. When asked why, it was because nothing changed. In Jim’s experience a customer journey map is doomed to fail without asking the following five questions:

1.) What is the business problem we are trying to solve? If you don’t start with this question, you may be going after things that don’t matter to the business and you won’t get the [right] resources.
2.) Which journey do you want to map? – broadly, from end to end? Or is there a specific part of the journey where we are seeing challenges?
3.) Which customers? Meaning, those who are complaining, those who are attriting, new customers that are onboarding? Be sure to segment
4.) What’s the right approach? – Give the voice to the customer
5.) Who’s on the team? This is the most important question and Jim advises its better to assemble a large team if you are truly serious about actually making changes: ‘I’d rather have too many people on the team so that you are hitting
all the different touchpoints, breaking down the silos.”

Metrics play a crucial role in measuring customer experience and satisfaction. These metrics can include Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and more, however, tying back these metrics to customer behavior is essential. Understanding how specific behaviors and interactions impact customer satisfaction allows you to make data-driven decisions and improvements. By analyzing customer behavior, you can identify patterns, trends, and areas to focus on for delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Jim went on to share that many CEO’s drift away from the customer experience because it is not in their day to day purview. An imperative, Jim says, is to be sure that the CEO is talking to customers on a regular basis. He takes it a step further by advising that all roles need to speak to each other: Marketing to Sales, Finance, Operations, etcetera, and vice versa. “In order to create change, you have to speak to the two most influential roles and that is the CFO and the COO. By establishing an ongoing relationship with Finance and Operations, you create a heightened sense of awareness around the customer experience.” Remember, a customer-centric approach is key for building long-lasting relationships with your customers and fostering loyalty. By prioritizing the customer and focusing on customer journey mapping, you can continuously improve the customer experience and drive business growth.

To hear the full podcast interview with Eric Lent, click here.

To experience a Relay Feed for yourself, click here.

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