Monday, June 1, 2015

Loyalty killed marketing... Or did it?

This could be just me, and my experiences in the corporate world or that the prestigious MBA degree just messed up my expectations. We aspire to be Marketing Managers and Brand Managers, the aim is just the title but we rarely want to do the work. Higher management usually wants people to just say yes, keep your ideas to yourself and especially those out of the box campaigns that will propel your brand.
I aspire to have a discussion which will help the brand grow, where the strategic implications of a decision are discussed and people are held accountable.  But sadly it’s the region that decides the brand direction. Therefore we are merely, facilitators to the clerical tasks associated with marketing. An HBR article “Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It” deems marketing to be dead and loyalty being the prime focus, but the fact is that loyalty is a product of strong marketing practices. I believe if your definition of marketing is narrow, it probably is dead but if you define marketing as understanding customer and their needs and converting those into products they will buy I doubt it can ever die, its just an evolution, a new set of tools and broader understanding.
 Brands like Apple have achieved a dream loyalty due to the emotional connection made by Steve jobs and same has been capitalized upon, consumers remain loyal even when the brand makes mistakes and the product has bugs. But brand loyalty is not only about forgiving mistakes but ensuring the fact that consumers won’t switch at the first onset of competitors offering lower prices, which means company is ensured revenue, making loyalty a priority.
Apple is an easy brand to talk about, locally speaking (in Pakistan) I’ve seen loyalty programs which only mean points redemption, I need to give the company thousands of rupees of revenue to get a key chain, banks to some extent have gotten some leverage Faysal Bank for example, but still a long way to go.
If you want brand loyalty, figure out the function of each aspect of marketing, find a way to connect with your customer and more importantly believe it yourself. The rest will certainly follow