Research shows shoppers more loyal to brands than many marketers think

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Despite what many disheartened marketers may think, GenZ consumers consider themselves loyal to brands despite only 11% of marketers believing they are.

So finds new research from digital and commerce agency Greenlight, which reveals that marketers may not understand their target audience as well as they thought.

The study, conducted with more than 400 marketers and 2000 consumers, also shows that only 22% of marketers think consumers have become more loyal in the past two years. However, almost double the amount (38%) of consumers say they are more loyal now than two years ago. Underestimating loyalty to this extent means that marketers are missing out on the insight that can help them market effectively to loyal customers.

That said, 54% of consumers admit they are currently invested into a loyalty system – card or mobile system –  for four to 10 brands, with 86% saying that they consider themselves to actually be loyal to those brands.

With this in mind, brands shouldn’t rest on their laurels if customers are loyal to them, as the research highlights it’s very likely they’re not the only brand that’s top of mind. In order to maintain loyalty and truly become the go-to brand of choice among their loyal customer set, brands must make the time and effort to get under the skin of what their customers value and want from a loyalty scheme.

It’s worth questioning the classic ‘discount’ model which could, in fact, damage brand image in the long-run if not managed carefully. Instead, brands should dive into customer data and insights to unearth the value points that align with customer wants and brand image, and build a loyalty programme that’s more bespoke and geared towards long-term mutual benefits.

Furthermore, without the right data points to hand, marketers risk creating a negative experience and using the wrong channels to talk to their customers.

The research shows that 54% of marketers think that the right influencer can influence brand loyalty, however only 29% of consumers think their brand loyalty is influenced by the right influencer. And 25% of marketers believe content is the key to changing consumers’ perception of a brand through influencer marketing; yet only 15% of consumers believe it is.

To begin solving this disparity, brands and marketers must become more aligned on the state of brand loyalty. And this starts with understanding how loyalty is shown. Almost half (46%) of consumers show their loyalty thorough recommending products or services to family and friends while 40% simply put their money where their loyalties lie. Interestingly, 21% of GenZ specifically advocate heavily by posting about the brand on social media compared to 19% of the wider population.

Closing the gap in understanding will help marketers more effectively measure loyalty and market their products and services to that customer base, however, 40% of marketers admit they still don’t have the right tools to measure loyalty and another 28% are not sure if they do.

Furthermore, 34% believe that the online and offline discrepancies in relation to customer engagement make measurement of loyalty too complicated.

Another 30% don’t have enough budget for tools, and 28% believe that these tools don’t exist. Measuring loyalty throughout the customer journey comes down to having an integrated approach and the right eCommerce, analytics, and measurement systems in place to support online and offline activity.

Furthermore, joining up online and offline strategies is key to providing a positive customer experience and further cementing brand trust, another key tenet of long-term loyalty, among your customer base.

“These results should be ringing alarm bells in the head of marketers as ultimately their job is to understand who they are marketing to and point consumers in the right direction along the sales funnel. Take the fact that 43% of GenZ consumers choose to go to a brand’s website compared to only 15% of 55-64-year-olds, or the fact that GenZ consumers are heavier users of brand apps (25% go to an app to make a brand purchase, whereas only 1% of those aged 65+ would do so). Marketers need to have a clear understanding of how their target audiences behave and interact with their brand, and use that information to fuel their loyalty programme so it’s carefully targeted to customer preferences and wants.”

– Hannah Kimuyu, Director of Paid Media & Data Insights, Greenlight

However, the ultimate problem is that there is a knowledge gap caused by the lack of accurate data that depicts to what degree customers are loyal. So, it’s critical for marketers to proactively seek out the insight tools readily available in the market to ensure they don’t miss out on an opportunity to enhance their marketing tactics.”

Marketers looking at data management platforms as an insight tool need to ensure the platform provides the full picture of their audiences, and is able to pull data from multiple sources including online, offline, CRM, mobile app, mobile web, and point of sale data. However, where the real value comes is in the analysis. Marketers need a platform that can organise the data in a way that provides a complete audience profile. In addition, partnering with a trusted agency that can provide ongoing guidance and consultation to inform your loyalty strategy will maximise the long-term brand impact you can deliver to consumers.


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