Retention is all about activating your existing customers. Yes, that is a drastic oversimplification, but to keep this argument to the point, let's focus on the activation component of retention marketing. Let’s look at the “when” moments behind activating your existing customer base. I call these “marketable moments.”
What is a marketable moment?
An event or moment in time that gives your brand a bonafide reason to reach out to your customer in a way they see as valuable, useful, or timely.
Marketable moments can be something that the entire market has access to, like BFCM or Labour Day, something that you create that’s specific to your brand, or customer desires that you act on in a timely way.
Really what it boils down to is having a moment that you can activate your customers. That could be to buy, join your mailing list, or something completely different.
Marketable moments more or less fall into three categories:
- Culturally driven marketable moment
- Brand manufactured marketable moment
- Customer driven marketable moment
Let's break down each of these categories and go over the pros and cons of each.
Culturally driven marketable moments are accessible but incredibly crowded
A culturally driven marketable moment is something that is recurring based on shared culture like holidays or sporting events. Or something that happens recently that your brand can capture attention around.
Most culturally driven marketable moments are predictable and you know when they are likely to happen. This means it’s easy to plan for but this also means everyone is participating. However, what makes these moments great is also what makes them hard to use.
I’m sure you all had record setting days at some point during the BFCM weekend (2022 was bigger than 2021) but your marketable moment was the same as EVERYONE. Here’s what my inbox looked like:
To mitigate the amount of competition you are up against,choose events or holidays that align more closely to your brand values or what you sell.
A few examples
- Chocolate companies prioritizing Valentines Day and Mothers Day
- Salsa brands prioritizing Super Bowl and Cinco De Mayo
- Pet brands prioritizing National Cat Day and National Dog Day
The best strategy for culturally driven marketable moments is to use the hype of the most popular moments to bring something specifically valuable to your customers. Then supplement that by finding more niche moments you can own. Like a hobby store using local pokemon go meetups as a very niche culturally driven event.
The pros are pretty straightforward for this one. You have lots of time to plan and the moments are fairly obvious. The cons are that everyone has the same access as you and you are at the mercy of waiting for the next moment to occur.
Brand manufactured marketable moments are solely yours but require substantial time and/or dollar investment
The last moment was dictated by culture and society, this one is up to you to manufacture for yourself. You get to completely own attention on this one with no other distractions but you need to create something worth talking about. The two most common types of manufactured moments are product launches/LTOs (limited run products) or “discounting.” I’m a fan of one of the strategies and wish brands would stay away from the other.
Discounting may seem like an easy way to create a marketable moment but it becomes less effective the more you do it. Enter the death spiral of discounting. You create a moment by reducing the price of your product which spikes sales especially from your existing customer base, but the more you do it the less likely a customer takes action and the less likely they become to ever buy at full price.
It can become incredibly addicting at first as sales spike but the long term impacts often have a negative effect on your returning customer rates and pretty well any other way you want to measure customer retention. This is a manufactured moment that requires little time, but does come with long term financial impact.
While I’m not a fan of discounting as a manufactured moment, I am a big fan of product launches and LTOs as a retention tactic especially for CPG brands. As a CPG brand it's a bit easier for you to launch variants than other verticals. You can take top performers and create new scents or flavors or move from one hair product or bathroom staple to another.
Product catalog is one of the most slept on retention strategies in existence.
I could write paragraphs and paragraphs on why product launches are a great way to manufacture a marketable moment, but instead I’m going to let you listen to Cameron Faist from Aura Bora explain how effective limited edition flavors have been for him.
This strategy is almost the complete opposite of discounting. Instead of subtracting something you are adding something. Although this requires investing more time, it allows you to sell at full price.
Regardless of how you manufacture the moment, this moment is yours alone to reach out to your existing customer base and gives you a really good reason to do so. The problem is that you might be able to squeeze at most 12 of these per year but more likely sub 6. That's where the last type of moment comes in.
Customer driven marketable moments happen all year round and occur naturally
Cultural moments you have to wait for, manufacturing moments you need to build, but customer driven moments… you just need to know what to look for.
The best way to think about the difference of this type of moment from the others is in two distinct ways:
- The other moments are mass appeal (more than one person sees value in the moment)
- These moments are specific to the individual customer
- The other moments are campaign based
- These moments you need to automate
Because these customer driven moments happen at the individual customer level you can’t build out a campaign around them, instead you need to build tactful automations to see those moments and take action.
I can hear that sigh from here as you say “that sounds like a lot of data digging and branch building.” Yes and No. If you want to do it manually it's a time suck but here at Repeat we can automate the data collection and apply the learning to automations for you.
Here’s what a few customer driven moments look like that you can activate in a meaningful way:
- A customer is running low on a previous product so you make it easy to reorder it
- A customer is really enjoying a product so you ask if they want to subscribe
- You haven’t seen a customer in a while and reach out
- A customer has bought so often you would consider them a VIP
All of these examples provide a reason to engage your customer in a way that is specific to them. Those moments that are specific to the individual are the most powerful marketable moments you can tap.
What you need to capture customer driven moments
Simply you need to identify the moment and create a trigger that will fire your communication. That trigger needs to pass to your marketing channels like email and SMS. Finally you need to be able to tailor the conversion point based on that trigger so that the customer can accept your offer.
I know I made that sound a lot more simple than it is but here is some other reading to get you familiar with those three required components.
- Understanding the data that will power your triggers
- Using the correct channel
- Sending to the right conversion point
Customer driven moments may seem more complicated than the previous two but really the automation does all the work of finding the personalized moments for you. That reduces your dependence on campaign based activation and retention.
Build the right balance of mass moments and personal ones
My guess is that you already have a strategy for culturally driven moments, might have one for product launches, but likely don’t have anything set up for customer driven moments.
If you need a hand automating the ability to act on those moments, reach out to use here at Repeat. We can help you out.
And if you are looking to compare notes on any of these tactics for CPG, join 900 other CPG operators in CPG House to talk shop.