Put A Date On Hold

The Loyalty Loop | The Journey Begins

This letter, the letter that I'm holding in my hand right now (see video below) is a glowing example of one of the most ubiquitous problems in modern marketing today.

What problem is that? The problem is the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing.

Now internally it's almost impossible to spot examples of this in your own company. It's really hard to see the siloed departments or the shape of the org chart and the effect it has on your customer or client.

So what we have to do is get outside of our own universe and look at it from the customer's perspective.

This problem is costing you customers. It's costing you clients. It's costing you prospects, and it's costing you money, and we're gonna take a look at it today with this letter, yes, a real physical letter that arrived yesterday, and this letter is going to help me help you understand why everyone in your organization needs to think like a marketer.

Now let's dive into this letter that I received. The letter is from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. It says:

"Thank you for choosing Mercedes-Benz Financial Services as your dedicated finance source. Our records indicate that your lease will expire on February 14, 2018. We understand that you will be returning your vehicle and have enclosed information to guide you through the return process. We encourage you to carefully review the enclosed material to understand your lease and responsibilities..."

And it goes on to tell me about an inspection and determination obligations and repairs. This letter is from Nancy Alvarez, the lease maturity management team, I guess, with no other enclosures than this one piece of paper.

Now in order to really understand the impact this kind of letter has on your business, you need to get inside the mindset of the person who receives it.

So in order to do that, I want you to think about the moment I went to go get my mail. The moment this letter arrived I wasn't thinking, "Hey, my lease is maturing in two months. Maybe I should go and buy a new car!"

I wasn't even thinking about my vehicle, but the minute I opened this letter, I started thinking about a vehicle, and the first question that popped into my mind wasn't, "Boy! I should get on this checklist of crap to do before I return my Mercedes!" The first question on my mind is what car am I going to buy next?

The left and the right hand

Here's the flaw with this letter. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services is your right hand. They have sent me a piece of correspondence that's clerical in nature. They're inviting me to do exactly what's on the list to return the vehicle so that my lease ends in a timely and hospitable fashion.

Now the left hand, the sales team, has no idea this letter has gone out because if they did, they would have called me or they would have sent something along with this to try to get me into another Mercedes.

Moments of inspiration and Active Evaluation

Now this morning, I wasn't planning on buying a vehicle, but I was immediately inspired to go on a journey I never expected and buy a new car.

The first question I had is, "What car am I going to buy?" And I start looking for cars to add to my list.

This is what's called active evaluation. We start adding and subtracting brands even mentally. We're not online even. I'm not Google searching. I'm just driving to the beach, and as I see a car I might be interested in, I add that to my list.

I notice a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a possible car in my active evaluation, and I mentally store that. Then I see an Audi Q5. In fact, three years ago, we test-drove the Audi Q5, and I kind of liked that car. So I add that to the list in active evaluation.

When you're in the market for a product or service, you start noticing things you never noticed before. I start looking at every vehicle thinking could this be my next vehicle.

This process of adding and subtracting brands as you move farther and farther away from that first question that you asked and your initial brand, like Mercedes, gets you closer and closer to buying a product by someone other than the person who sparked the journey in the first place.

The power of the Loyalty Loop

So at this point, I have quite a few brands on my list in active evaluation. I certainly have the Mercedes because I'm driving it. It was the first brand that came to my mind because they sent the letter, but they didn't do anything to capture me and keep me into their circle, to keep me in their Loyalty Loop.

The moment of commitment

To explain all of this further, let's start with the moment of commitment.

Three years ago, I committed to the Mercedes brand, and everything past that moment in the Loyalty Loop, they could have been focused on maintaining that relationship, ensuring that when my lease was up for renewal, they were ready to sell me the next vehicle, and I was the happiest customer on earth.

Instead what they did over the course of this relationship is nothing, they sent me a bill, and the time in which they are about to get me into a new vehicle is called the moment of inspiration.

The minute I picked up that letter out of the mailbox, they inspired me to go on a journey I never expected to go on that morning, and instead of drawing me back right into a new commitment with Mercedes, they've sent me off on a wild goose chase adding and subtracting brands I never would have considered if they had just sold me the next Mercedes.

To me, it doesn't seem that hard to understand that they have my address, they know what car I drive, and they even know the exact date in which I'll be giving up that vehicle, and they did nothing to retain me as a customer.

The left hand that doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

Maximize the Loyalty Loop

As marketers, we spend a huge amount of time working to acquire new customers, but very few if any of us have maximized our Loyalty Loop. This really intrigues me. So in future blogs, I'll be exploring the Loyalty Loop. 

We'll embark on a journey to find out how brilliant brands turn micro moments into big business.

Let's dig deep on how to leverage the customers, clients, prospects, leads and subscribers you've got to generate a never-ending cycle of new business, and find out how other brands are doing it to transform our way of doing business from the Loyalty Loop out.

Because the truth is most of us are too much like Mercedes.

Consider this. Every time you send an invoice, a receipt, an appointment confirmation, attend a meeting, deliver a report or make a phone call, you and your brand are creating new moments of inspiration.

That's right, your invoice may in fact send your client on a journey to seek out a new provider. Your voicemail may prompt a customer to call a competitor. Your email newsletter may send a subscriber on a journey to buy something you never intended.

Maybe it's time we all look at our transactional communications with our customers, clients, prospects, and leads. Maybe our own business has a blind spot. Maybe you're creating moments of inspiration, and you don't even realize it's happening, a blind spot just like the one we've uncovered with this very letter in the very first episode of the Loyalty Loop.

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