Almost every cosmetic counter in the department store has a promotion happening. Of course, they aren’t called promotions—they are presented as ‘free gifts’, designed to encourage the customer to spend more on a particular brand that month. The hope is that the customer will fall in love with the products and become a customer for life.
These marketing tactics can work in the short term. It is possible to see an increase in sales when you give customers something for nothing. But these tactics also condition the savvy shopper only to buy when they are incentivised with special offers and discounts, or worse, to switch brands according to whichever one offers the ‘best deal’ when the product runs out.
While companies and business owners lament about changes in consumer behaviour, we must also take responsibility for our part in shaping that behaviour. If we want customers to be loyal to our brand, then we need to work out what, apart from price, might encourage that loyalty.
We don’t get the customers or clients, the readers or listeners we want by accident. We get them by intentionally crafting the experiences and the messages that change how the right people, think and feel—which in turn changes what they do and the kind of customer they become.