One of the key questions crucial to a long-lasting success in the digital era that small and large companies should ask themselves: Is our business a purchase-driven or a usage-driven brand?

With the latest market trends, brand-professionals can now identify two clusters of brands, driven either by a more traditional or digital approach to its objectives and ways they communicate with clients and consumers. Brands that focus on buyers, and are purchase-driven, will pay high attention to pre-purchase phase of customer experience, such as building a brand image and creating a demand to buy a product via promotions. On the other hand, companies that focus on buyers, and are usage-driven, build brand around the post-purchase phase, i.e. delivery, service or sharing, by looking into how they can make customer’s life easier and in return, build brand loyalty.

This focus on building on-going relationships is proven to be a more profitable marketing strategy, where, according to data from Forrest Research, it costs five times as much to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. Building future-proof brands is no longer just about creating brand image and differentiation. It is about brand authenticity; listening to customers and giving them a platform to engage, share their experiences, while uplifting their lives. Disregarding the trend, may lead new and well-established companies facing a challenging competition against dynamic digital brands.

With brand loyalty being driven not by what buyers think about the brand, but user experiences, in order to stay profitable, companies and agencies should re-look their approach to marketing, from purchase to usage, to build stronger and closer relationships with their audiences. Today, the economics are driven by renewal rates, where according to an IBM study of online retail consumer buying patterns, loyal customer spends 30 percent more, with a significantly higher lifetime value than regular customers; not only do they spend more, they are more likely to increase their purchases with time.

To shift to a usage-driven brand, marketers would need to address and evaluate fundamental questions:

  • How do we give back to the community?
  • Do we produce helpful and meaningful content, not focused purely on making a sale?
  • Do we make life of our users easier, and if so, how?
  • Do people share their experiences with our product or services, or do they engage with our brand online?
  • How do we handle emotionally charged enquiries, post-purchase, such as complains, repairs or suggestions?
  • Do we offer training to our employees to enhance client experiences?

Going back to human psychology, when given the choice, people tend to spend time around people they like, forming relationships via meaningful conversations, exchange of ideas and listening to each other.
Now, with the power of digital presence and social media, the same rules apply to businesses, where it became possible for consumers to interact with companies in a way that is often similar to how they engage with their friends and family. In order to create meaningful connections, marketers should capitalize on opportunity to hear from their users on what they are looking for, what they think, how things are going, how the product or service worked, or didn’t work.

The benefits of usage-driven brands versus buyer-driven brands, is evident across both, B2C and B2B sectors and impossible to ignore. According to Marketing Metrics, “The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20 percent.”
Focusing on maintaining and keeping current users happy means having an approach that emphasizes customer satisfaction over short-term sales. While it is still important for businesses to expand and reach out to new customers, yet, building the foundation on brand loyalty can be paramount to its future success in the modern digital age.

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