The purpose of marketing communications has traditionally been the acquisition of customers, not the retention of customers. We discussed earlier that while traditional marketing communications influence brand image and thereby influence loyalty among customers, this is an unintended effect, as those advertisements are usually designed to acquire customers. But this suggests a question: should some marketing communications be designed specifically to increase the loyalty of existing customers?
In some business-to- business industries, this has been done for many years. Indeed, communications vehicles (company magazines, newsletters, and company videos) aimed at current customers have been developed especially for this purpose.
But this idea is new in many business-to- consumer categories. It would seem to warrant consideration, at least. One reason is that research has found that customers of a given brand tend to be more attentive to that brand’s advertisements than noncustomers.
This raises the question of what the content of such communications should be. Should it be the same as that for noncustomers? Certainly, the communications should support the image of the brand the company is trying to maintain. That said, one of the reasons for customers’ greater attentiveness to the company’s marketing communications is that they are unconsciously trying to obtain confirmation that they made the “right” choice.
Given that, perhaps a company should use its marketing communications to meet this desire. Such marketing communications would need to focus on the rational or functional benefits of the product/service.
In the case of consumer services, a company may want to consider using the communications to remind the customer (consciously or unconsciously) of how the company’s service satisfies the human needs we discussed ear-lier (security, self-esteem, justice). I do not know of any companies that have used these strategies in designing marketing communications, but they do seem reasonable.
As mentioned earlier, marketing communications vehicles targeted at current customers have been used in business-to- business for years, but are now sometimes being used in business-to- consumer settings. Some companies that collect their customers’ contact information send them fliers and catalogs.