To build loyalty, don't make assumptions

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Colleen Considine, Acxiom
Colleen Considine, Acxiom

I love it when self-help books bleed into my professional life. I recently read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Ruiz writes that one of the four ancient Toltec mantras (or agreements) needed to achieve inner balance is, “don't make assumptions.” Here comes the crossover to my professional life as a marketer and a loyal shopper: I'm remembering all of the wasted ploys spammed to me based on erroneous suppositions.

Being kid-free, I have little use for the frequent shopper “punchcard” that was mailed to me by the salesperson at a nearby specialty kids clothier after I purchased a baby gift for a friend. What I'd really like was a discount on the shower gift I'll need to buy next month. If she'd only asked me. 

To get your best customers to boomerang back to buy, simply ask what they want. 

Where should you start? Ask yourself what the true point of differentiation is for your business. Is it your product? The convenience you offer? Now test your theory and ask your best customers, via surveys or in-store polling, what would incent them to shop more. You'll not only validate your assumption, but you'll also have the foundation for testing your loyalty offers. Ask. Test. Learn. Refine.

Building on points of difference for a loyalty program is not a new idea. A recent Kurt Salmon study validates that “retailers that ‘act vertical' have a greater chance to outperform their peers in revenue growth, margin and sales per customer.”

Leave your ego at the door to gain insight into your loyalty offers. You'll be one step closer to retaining your profitable customer base with predictable value offering because you didn't make assumptions.

I wonder if a Toltec-enlightened marketer with an affinity to a local children's boutique could request 10% off a snuggly baby blanket?  It never hurts to ask.

Colleen Considine is the global marketing manager, retail, for Acxiom. Reach her via Eldrina Easterly at eldrina.easterly@acxiom.com.  

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