The Difference Between a Gimmick and Real Customer Value

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Customer Strategy
Marketing
Customer loyalty is not something you can win with a gimmick or a marketing stunt. It's an emotion and requires an emotional engagement. The real value from promotions is in the opportunity to create loyalty, not just to manipulate the customer to make a quick sale.

Customer loyalty is not something you can win with a gimmick or a marketing stunt. It's an emotion and requires an emotional engagement. The real value from promotions is in the opportunity to create loyalty, not just to manipulate the customer to make a quick sale.

Marketing promotions, therefore, should convey your company as a trusted brand and also deliver value to your customers in their own environments.

To underscore my point, I picked out three company announcements and promotions last week that I believe offer real value for customers, and not just serve as gimmicks devised to get customers to spend money with them.

1. Nissan LEAF Offers "No Charge to Charge"New Nissan LEAF drivers can now take advantage of free charging at eligible public stations, thanks to the new "No Charge to Charge" program, which is now live in 10 markets across the United States. Drivers have access to charging at more than 2,600 public stations available in the initial program markets, including more than 200 quick chargers.

The value of "No Charge to Charge" will continue to grow, with Nissan's plans to support the installation of an additional 500 quick chargers at Nissan dealerships and at business and municipal partners in key LEAF markets across the U.S. These quick charging stations can charge a Nissan LEAF battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes.

Participants can locate eligible chargers in the "No Charge to Charge" program online at EZ-Charge.com or PlugShare.com, or by downloading the PlugShare app for iOS or Android.

2. Frontier Airlines Pilot Buys Pizza for his Passengers

A Frontier Airlines pilot on a Denver-bound plane helped take some of the sting out of an hours-long delay by ordering pizza for every passenger on his plane last Monday evening.

Bad weather in the Denver area forced the plane to circle over western Nebraska before low fuel levels forced it to land at Cheyenne Regional Airport in southeastern Wyoming. At that point, with 160 hungry passengers becoming increasingly agitated inside the hot plane, the pilot took command of the situation and ordered 35 pizzas from the local Domino's to be delivered.

The act managed to calm hungry passengers, as well as create a buzz across social media and traditional news outlets.

3. AppleBee's Toys with "No Tech Tuesdays"
Casual dining chain Applebee's has applied to trademark the phrase "No Tech Tuesday." Even though the chain denies that it has such plans to host designated device-free dining days, it may be considering some marketing around it.

Applebee's likely plans to lure in tech-weary guests who will likely view tech-free Tuesdays not as a gimmick, but as a welcome reprieve from the constant fixation on mobile devices.

Whatever your promotion or idea might be, ensure your strategy builds loyalty by building relationships first. My advice for a promotion that builds deep loyalty? Make sure it stirs emotion and creates positive experiences, offers services and discounts that match their needs, creates brand trust, and helps to solve a problem. That's when your limited time offers will turn into loyalty generators that keep customers coming back long after the offer is over.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION