Ian is a 3D printing and digital design entrepreneur with over five years of professional experience. After six years of aircrew service in the Air Force, he earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix following a BS from the University of Maryland. He is also a real estate investor, board gamer and homebrewer.
Customer Loyalty Loop
Leo has been tasked with explaining to his Business 101 classmates how customers make the final decision to purchase items in the customer loyalty loop model. The customer loyalty loop is a customer service concept that illustrates how consumers decide what they buy, and then continue to make purchases from a given company again in the future. The model recognizes that, in real life, once people make a purchase they tell others what they think about the product, but constantly reevaluate if they should stick to that brand. It attempts to serve as a replacement and more realistic model for the funnel concept of marketing. If the future business professionals of Leo's class understand how the loop models consumer behavior, they can eliminate the consumer's consideration and evaluation of other brands, and keep the consumer as a customer as well as a promoter of the brand.
The Four Stages
The stages of the customer loyalty loop represent decision points for customers. At each stage, the customer makes a choice that determines whether or not the customer remains loyal to a particular brand. Marketing professionals can consider and target their efforts with these stages in mind to attract and retain customers.
The customer loyalty loop begins with a consideration trigger. The customer sees or hears of an item and thinks about buying it. He sees his friend has this product, or he has seen an advertisement and thinks ''I want one of those''.
The customer begins to consider if he should buy the product. He will begin to look at reviews or ask friends what they think about it. The customer seeks information from any source possible, including retailers and the company itself. A successful evaluation leads to the buy stage.
It seems pretty simple; Leo has considered and evaluated the product and has decided to buy it. It's not that simple in marketing though. The buy stage offers yet another series of subtle decisions. Often a customer might choose to purchase the item, but go home with the idea of sleeping on it. He may also choose to purchase it online, or from a retail competitor. The buy stage gives marketers an opportunity to convince the customer to buy now. Packaging, product placement, pricing, availability, and any special incentives at the point of purchase play a major influence in whether or not a customer will make an immediate purchase.
Enjoy, Advocate, Bond
Once the customer has made the purchase, ideally he enjoys the product. That customer is now in a position to advocate for the product by writing positive reviews online, telling friends about how awesome it is, or simply being seen using the product. Finally, the customer bonds or forms an affinity for the brand. As long as the brand doesn't disappoint the customer, that customer will remain loyal and completely bypass the consider and evaluate stages of the customer loyalty loop. A successful marketing campaign and focus on customer satisfaction, keeps the customer from even thinking about using an alternative brand or product.
The customer loyalty loop is a model of consumer behavior that shows how potential and current customers decide what to purchase and develop loyalty to a particular brand. It is made up of four stages; consider,evaluate, and buy represent the customer's initial research and decision. The fourth stage is the enjoy, advocate, and bond stage where customers ideally become satisfied with the purchase, motivate others to purchase the same brand, and develop a sense of loyalty to the product. The focus of brand marketing is to keep customers in the fourth stage so that the consider and evaluate steps are completely skipped. Success looks like the customer not only making repeat purchases, but also acting as a promoter of the brand.
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