Marketing and advertising strategies have changed with the times.
Acquiring new business in today's climate is only step 1. Once somebody purchases your product or service, they become users. It's from there where, in the digital age, businesses set themselves apart.
New wave digital companies use today's technologies to interweave into customers' lives seamlessly. Social media advocacy, mobile apps, and improved user support strategies have taken the place of billboards, television, and radio spots.
Instead of funneling millions into pre-purchase promotions, companies like Airbnb focus efforts on what happens after the purchase. Unlike traditional businesses, these industry-disrupting brands make users' lives easier.
How do these companies do it?
Point Users in the Right Direction
In physical stores, layout, signage, design, and pricing strategies are used to encourage a purchase. Traditional makeup departments offer makeovers and samples, for instance.
User-based products act as a window to something bigger. Digitally-inclined makeup brands like Ulta do everything in their power to ensure their users have the best possible experience with their product. They offer online makeup tutorials and community interaction.
It's a beautifully layered approach.
Once a customer purchases a product, whether it's makeup or a Dyson vacuum, there's no accounting for their initial experience. It doesn't matter how good the product is.
Focusing on the user instead of the purchase means you can act as a guide by design.
Too much focus on a purchase means once a transaction is made, there's far less a company can do to ensure better experiences with a product or service.
That's not to say these more traditional brands don't have retention methods built in place. Most of them have customer service and social media departments. But these methods are contingencies instead of being the main facets of a marketing plan.
A user focus means instead of dealing with complaints, a predictive strategy is in place. Ulta's makeup tutorials are a great example, so users get the most out of products or services in the first place.
From the Mouths of Users
Purchase-based brands are focused on a promise. User-based brands are focused on the value they bring to someone's life.
Traditional hotels, like the Hilton, are very careful and rigid about their image. They creatively manufacture their marketing content and messaging.
Comparatively, Airbnb centers its marketing around guests and hosts shared content that sheds light upon their experiences. It's "proof in the pudding" marketing. Instead of telling an audience what they're all about, the audience is telling one another what Airbnb is all about.
According to Hubspot data, 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase online if the product or service comes recommended by others.
Users Are Invested in Your Success
Usage brands encourage loyalty and retention by their very nature. In fact, according to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company's profitability by 75%.
Studies also show usage brand clients are 8% less likely to switch and are twice as likely to make spontaneous recommendations to others.
There will always be a need to acquire new business. Funneling more money into the user experience will ensure money spent on acquisitions doesn't go to waste.
Five Customer Retention Tips for Entrepreneurs. (2012, November 1). From Forbes:
4 Ways Social Media Influences Millennials' Purchasing Decisions. (2017, December 22). From Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewarnold/2017/12/22/4-ways-social-media-influences-millennials-purchasing-decisions/#26cdf922539f