Today’s marketing landscape has been plagued by a scepticism in advertising and abuse by individuals in power. This has fundamentally changed consumer behaviour and has led to an increase in trust and reliance on peer advocacy for both brands and products. One of the most effective tools that can be used when planning an integrated marketing strategy and tackling this mistrust is the loyalty ladder.

The premise of this tool is that consumers are moved up the ladder with an effective customer experience in both marketing and service. The objective of is to direct your consumers to firstly become brand loyal and secondly brand advocates.

The Loyalty Ladder

Prospect

When a person joins the customer journey at the front end they are a prospect, someone who hasn’t yet bought from the company or tried the products.

Customer

Once someone makes their first purchase or uses a service for the first time, they become a customer. At this point of the journey, they are often trying the service to see how the products and experience live up to their expectations.

Client

After their first purchase, the role of a relationship marketer is to re-engage the customer into becoming a client. This is when the customer is either a repeat purchaser or service user.

Advocate

The hardest step is the final rung of the ladder, developing the client into an advocate. This step ultimately provides the biggest return for the relationship marketer as once someone is an advocate for your product or service they will promote your product or service to their audience generating new prospects for your business.

Developing Strategy

The most important factor when considering a strategy to take a prospect up the rungs of the ladder is to look at the three key areas where the customer is influenced: Marketing, product and service.