No company in the consumer industry can grow solely by retaining customers. In such a fast-moving marketplace, where loyalty is no longer the force it was, brands and retailers need to acquire new customers in order to flourish.
This is easier said than done. It requires influencing consumer behaviour which, if you believe the adage that once the shopper steps out of the house the opportunity to influence them has passed, means you have to reach them in new and different ways.
This requires intimate knowledge of your consumer. A non-promiscuous relationship can’t be achieved by offers and deals alone, it must be developed through tailored dialogue, engagement and interaction - such as perfectly timed suggestions or useful information.
From a brand’s perspective, there are four main types of shopper behaviour you are trying to influence: to encourage them to try something new; to motivate a repeat transaction; to reinforce waning purchasing behaviour; to help clear excess stock.
Traditional marketing techniques have focused largely on reaching customers on a mass scale, often making broad assumptions about shopping trends. Yet the secret to success is less to do with traditional advertising or promotions and more to do with creative uses of data and analytics, and learning to execute expertly at the local level, or even better, at the household.
Analytics can help brands gain much deeper insight into their customers - and use that data to inform marketing strategies. Companies need to shift perspective from ‘top down’ to ‘bottom up’, segmenting customers by spend, location, channel, responsiveness to incentives and social media engagement - and use that profile to more effectively target them.
Companies need to get out of their comfort zones in terms of the data sources they use in order to build a picture of, say, a particular trading location. There is a wealth of untapped information in the public domain.
Of course, there’s no guaranteed way to attract new customers but analytics can help you target the most likely people, understand which marketing techniques work and which don’t, and react accordingly.
Liz Claydon is KPMG’s UK head of consumer markets