The Secret Marketer worries about brand loyalty

Secret Marketer

It was a week of highs and lows in my marketing team this week.

We started by welcoming three new starters – plenty of bright eyes and wild enthusiasm. We asked two of them to lock themselves in a room to write an insightful summary of our competitors’ recent annual results, while we got the third to issue badges to customers at an evening event we held in the week. They all loved doing even these minor tasks and as JFK allegedly once said: “It all helps put a man on the moon.”

Less good was the loss of two others on the team. Both were ‘headhunted’ by a competitor, which is most annoying.

Both are very talented and I had high hopes for them in the future. Their decision to jump ship is something I take as a personal and professional kick in the teeth.

That leads to an interesting conundrum around loyalty towards brands – both as employees and also customers. I did the ‘exit interview’ with one of the leavers yesterday, and the sole reason he gave for defecting was price. The competitor had offered him a higher salary.

And then I look at our latest financial results and in particular the analysis on why customer growth is not where it should be, and I get told that our competitors are winning business on price alone.

Weren’t there four Ps in the marketing mix? So why is price the only one that is working today?

Now, forgive me if I am wrong – and I was brought up in a different economic climate – but weren’t there four Ps in the marketing mix (seven if you work in the service sector)? So why is price the only one that is working today?

Going back to the exit interview, my turncoat employee was adamant that he loved the working environment here, he could not ask for better managers and the training and development were second to none.

And I look again at the latest review of our last sales campaign. Our product proposition was perceived as world class, our customer engagement listed as the best, but we could not get to the price point the customer wanted.

Where have we gone wrong? Why aren’t people willing to pay that little bit extra for having the right brand in their shopping bag any more and why aren’t they willing to sacrifice the odd pound in their wage packet for working in the coolest office, and having the best name on their CV?

As a brand marketer, I’m worried.

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