Expectations are everything for a brand. Whatever product you output must at least meet or exceed your consumers’ wants and needs; after all, that’s why they chose you in the first place. You have to deliver, or else you’re done – they leave you for a competitor with a better product, and it’s over. Just like that.
But what happens when in the process of bettering your product, you target the wrong audience and lose some of your brand loyal consumers? What then?
Allow me to explain with one of my own personal examples. For the past few years, I’ve been a major fan of the online video game Destiny – a groundbreaking game in terms of worldbuilding, graphics, arduous missions, as well as a plentiful arsenal of weapons to play with along the way. When it first released in 2014, it garnered an astounding amount of positive reviews. Expectations for Destiny 2 were subsequently high. What more features could they add; what new worlds could they build? The opportunities seemed endless, and we, the fans, waited anxiously for the sequel to drop.
In 2017, Destiny 2 was released. Unfortunately, after hours of playing, I soon discovered that I was disappointed. Why, you ask?
I wasn’t their target audience. They essentially ignored my wants and needs, and chose to target a different demographic, i.e. people that had never played Destiny before. They chose to prioritize the conquest of new consumers over their brand loyal base merely to boost sales.
Was the game fun? Sure, but it did not meet nor exceed my expectations. Its developers failed to improve the game in areas on which they’d previously promised, and instead changed the core game values to fit a wider audience to sell more copies of the game. In addition to adding an increasing amount of microtransactions that the player must spend additional money on, the developers also tricked their player base into buying unfinished content, essentially milking their brand loyal base for all that it was worth. This left a sour taste in my mouth, to say the least.
So, what’s the moral of the story here?
Retain your customer base, and treat them well. The article “Acquisition vs. Retention: The Importance of Customer Value” expands upon the importance of customer retention, calling it, “one of the best ways to measure how reliably your company is providing its service.” Moreover, the longer you keep your customers, the more legitimate and reliable your business seems; after all, satisfied customers do not switch over to a competitor’s business. In addition, happier repeat customers are more likely to refer you to new contacts, allowing you acquisition opportunities you otherwise would not have had access to prior to your relationship.
So, listen to what your customers have to say – hear them out and provide them the solutions they need. They’re your biggest fans up until the moment that they’re not.