Why You Should Stop Bugging Your Customers

A recent post over on the Harvard Business Review dispels three myths about what customers want, and it's worth a read if you're reconsidering how to better hook your audience. Mainly, it dispels the notion that engagement is the best way to keep your customers interested: "In a study involving more than 7000 consumers, we found that companies often have dangerously wrong ideas about how to best engage with customers."

Among the ideas chucked onto the trash heap is that consumers want to have relationships with brands, that interactions build those relationships and the more interaction the better. These are all laid to waste in tidy fashion, and even if you don't believe in statistics, it's hard to argue with comments like: "It's just a brand, not a member of my family."

In other words, quit emailing your customers incessantly. Just because you sent an email or circular out doesn't mean it has any impact. What you should focus on instead, according to HBR, is emphasizing shared values. HBR cites Harley Davidson and Patagonia as two companies that "get it" when it comes to this: 

Many brands have a demonstrable higher purpose baked into their missions, whether it's Patagonia's commitment to the environment or Harley Davidson's goal "to fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling." These feel authentic to consumers, and so provide a credible basis for shared values and relationship-building. To build relationships, start by clearly communicating your brand's philosophy or higher purpose. 

So, there you have it. To read more from the post, hop over here

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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