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  • Writer's pictureCarma Levene

Intuit Mailchimp Launches Brand Loyalty Study

The Science of Loyalty: Intuit Mailchimp’s New Global Study Uncovers the Fundamental Drivers of Consumer Behaviour and Decision-Making Towards Brand Loyalty was released today.


The study presents 12 actionable tactics brands and marketers can take to build loyalty with their customers.


Is Brand Loyalty a Science?

Consumer loyalty, a phenomenon seemingly born in the corridors of modern marketplaces, actually traces its roots back to our primordial past. Long before we were labeled “consumers,” we were survival-driven hunters, hardwired by millennia of evolution to rely on cooperation and trust in the face of external threats.


Loyal behavior is not the result of any recent cultural evolution. It’s the result of hundreds of thousands of years of neurobiological evolution. A basic understanding of the fundamental drivers of behavior and decision-making will outlast any cultural trend.

-Dr. Cyrus McCandless Neuroethologist studying goal-directed behavior and decision-making.


The essence of loyalty, then, emerged as a cornerstone of our communal existence, binding us together in familial and tribal units and fortifying our collective resilience against adversity.



Loyalty tactics wheel


The "Science of Loyalty" study uncovered that as brands and marketers build stronger relationships with their existing customer base, those customers are significantly more likely to purchase from the brand again, a cost-effective solution to the rising costs and resources it takes to acquire new customers.


You can view the full report which breaks down the research, and provides neat case studies on brands like Alo Yoga, Saucony, Moodeaux, McDonald’s, Amazon, Quip, Monzo, Glossier and more.


With 88% of Australian consumers expressing a preference for brands that make them feel good, diving into science-backed loyalty strategies can assist brands and marketers with setting their brand apart from the competition.



“Loyalty is more important than ever,”

said Michelle Taite, Chief Marketing Officer at Intuit Mailchimp.


“Our study found that 78% of Australian consumers will only purchase from brands that are trustworthy, highlighting the significance of establishing a strong connection while guaranteeing credibility. However, surprisingly, only 50% of shoppers expect brands to reward them with deals and discounts, highlighting the changing patterns of consumer loyalty.”
“In today’s ever-changing business landscape, characterised by overwhelming amounts of data and endless options, brands and marketers should be equipped with the tools and resources needed to build marketing strategies that make an impact and build meaningful connections that drive loyalty with their customers."

adds Michelle.


The Commitment Spectrum

The report finds that loyalty falls on a spectrum. To better understand the types of loyal customers, Mailchimp created a commitment spectrum, which ranges from “inert” to “fandom” loyalty.

The Commitment Spectrum as a graphic from 25% inert on the left, 23% habitual, 40% dedicated, and 13% fandom on the far right.

On one end there is inert loyalty, where consumers purchase from a brand not out of preference, but out of convenience.


Moving up on the spectrum, other loyalty categories include habitual loyalty, where loyalty emerges from routine rather than emotional ties, followed by dedicated loyalty where consumers form an emotional connection to the brand's vision and purpose.


What many brands and marketers view as the pinnacle of loyalty—fandom—is characterised by a strong emotional bond and shared values amongst the brand's community.


While inspiring fandom may be the goal for many brands and marketers, only 13% of global respondents belonged to the fandom loyalty group.


Experts like Richard Shotton, author of The Illusion of Choice, caution that such affiliations can be extremely hard to cultivate and may not make sense for every brand. Most brands are likely to have a mix of all of these customers, and a good strategy should have tactical approaches that target different levels of commitment.


“I think a goal like loyalty, whereby people avoid better alternatives out of a sense of obligation or genuine passion, is phenomenally hard to achieve,”

said Shotton.


“The danger is that marketers overestimate their chances of achieving that and maybe convert their budget into smaller sales rather than [pursuing] the much, much simpler goal of habit.”

The 12 Tactics of Brand Loyalty

To better understand the inner workings of loyalty, the report outlines “12 Tactics of Loyalty” to assist brands and marketers with building meaningful relationships with consumers.


  1. Smart exposure: Be top-of-mind with strategically placed brand codes and symbols. Almost half (46%) of Australian repeat purchasers said they know a lot about the brands they purchase from. This rises to 60% globally among Fandom purchasers, who feel they know the brand best.

  2. Familiar foundations: Build familiarity by showing up in trusted spaces. About half (48%) of repeat purchasers in Australia said that recommendations from friends or family help them decide what to buy.

  3. Choice validation: To encourage renewed commitment, help customers feel justified in their choice. Only 52% of inert and 51% of habitual customers globally had a very favourable opinion of their preferred brand, but this rises to 84% among fandom purchasers.

  4. New routines: Build repeat purchases into your customer’s routine. Routines are powerful drivers of loyalty. 25% of Australian consumers will repeatedly purchase from the same brand because it’s part of their routine. Globally, 35% of those who purchase on a daily or weekly basis said their preferred brand was the only one they’d consider (vs 22% among those purchasing monthly or less).

  5. Smooth selling: Remove obstacles that could disrupt customers' shopping journeys. Ease of purchase was the no.1 brand association for Australians with 97% of repeat purchasers saying their preferred brand makes it quick and easy to purchase; this was the number one brand association for repeat purchase shoppers.

  6. Easy decisions: Create friction-free experiences that combat choice fatigue. Half (49%) of all email subscribers in Australia explore new product offerings through brand emails and 42% went on to make a purchase after reading the message.

  7. Gift giving: Promote organic peer-to-peer marketing through gift giving. Less than half (36%) of Australian customers have recommended their preferred brand to friends or family, and only 20% have given it as a gift), revealing an untapped opportunity for brands to spread the word. However, globally, this increases among 18-24 year olds, of which 43% have recommended their preferred brand to family and friends and 30% have given it as a gift.

  8. Insider status: Help customers feel heard by asking for, and responding to, feedback. The most popular method of contact is email with over half (55%) of Australian shoppers looking to keep in touch with brands this way and 22% subscribed to an email/mailing list - the highest among surveyed countries. Other popular methods of contact are SMS (20%) and social media (16%). If a brand can’t offer quality customer service across channels, 1 in 4 said they would consider switching brands.

  9. Meaningful rewards: Personalise reward programs with customer lifestyles to boost satisfaction. While 50% of repeat Australian purchasers said they’d like their preferred brand to provide them with deals or discounts, rewards aren’t always about monetary incentives. In fact, 88% said their preferred brand made them feel good, which was the second biggest driver of loyalty, after consistency.

  10. Game on: Gamify your rewards to foster a sense of achievement and fun. 28% of repeat purchasers in Australia said they’d like to receive loyalty reward perks from their preferred brand. However, only 18% have joined a loyalty benefits program, suggesting untapped potential.

  11. Shared Interests: Build emotional resonance by aligning with a cultural niche or value. 31% of Australian consumers said they would consider switching brands due to environmental impact (13%) or unethical manufacturing (18%).

  12. Sense Of Ownership: Actively engage consumers to foster a sense of co-collaboration. Customers are keen to provide their thoughts and experiences to brands, with over 1 in 4 (24%) Australian email subscribers participating in surveys or feedback.


The first 6 are about Increasing Ability to be loyal, and the second 6 are about Increasing Motivation to become/remain loyal.


Why Brands and Marketers Should Care

Experts like Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest, describe loyalty as not just a marketing goal, but a comprehensive business strategy.


Loyalty is a strategic imperative for brands seeking sustainable growth and resilience; in an era marked by choice-overload. Marketers must be able to navigate the complex terrain of consumer behaviour effectively and recalibrate their marketing strategies.


Using the tactics outlined in the “Science of Loyalty” playbook, brands and marketers will be one step closer to engaging with customers in a holistic way and deepen relationships that positively impact their marketing goals.


 

All statistics from a Canvas8 conducted panel-sample online survey on behalf of Intuit Mailchimp February 17–27, 2024 consisting of 4,000 respondents (1000 from each of the US, UK, Australia, Canada ages 18 to 65). The margin of error is +/- 5.5 percent, as reported at a 95 percent confidence level.


About Intuit Mailchimp:

Intuit Mailchimp is an email and marketing automations platform for growing businesses. We empower millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with world-class marketing technology, award-winning customer support, and inspiring content. Mailchimp puts data-backed recommendations at the heart of your marketing, so you can find and engage customers across email, social media, landing pages, and advertising—automatically and with the power of AI. In 2021, Mailchimp was acquired by Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), the global financial technology platform that makes Intuit TurboTax, Credit Karma, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp.


About Intuit:

Intuit is the global financial technology platform that powers prosperity for the people and communities we serve. With 100 million customers worldwide using TurboTax, Credit Karma, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to prosper. We never stop working to find new, innovative ways to make that possible. Please visit us at Intuit.com and find us on social for the latest information about Intuit and our products and services.


About Canvas8:

Canvas8 is an award-winning strategic insights practice operating out of London, LA, New York, and Singapore. Its focus is on enabling organisations to be better, by understanding changes in human culture and behaviour.


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