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MANAGEMENT SERIES


“THE SIMPLEST WAY TO GAIN CUSTOMER LOYALTY IS TO BE REALLY HONEST IN THE WAY YOU TALK TO THEM – SHOWING THEM YOU CARE”


– without understanding the substance behind their message and the vision of they’re trying to achieve.


Who are you talking to? Once you’ve worked out what you want to say, the simplest way to gain customer loyalty is to be really honest in the way you talk to customers, communicate with them and deal with them – actually showing them you care, not just telling them. This must happen every minute of every day of every year; the moment you stop doing this, you start to lose customer loyalty. I’ve been involved in marketing


communications for many years and the key message I’ve never deviated from is this: clubs must treat all customers as individuals at all stages of the relationship-building process. Once they stop doing this, the customer becomes a number and effective communications will become impossible. In the era of social media, treating


members as individuals has become even more important. Customer databases are still important to identify segments within your membership base, but with social media communicating on a one- to-one basis in real time, it’s hard to update your database to a level that will offer suffi cient market intelligence. That said, blogs can be used to


encourage an exchange of information based on customer experiences, and can help create a real sense of belonging. They can also naturally start to ‘migrate’ user groups of your customer base into clearly defi nable segments such as: elite extremists, recreationalists, weight loss, rehab and newbies. The majority of prospects should also


fall within your defi nable user groups and, once identifi ed, need to be fi ltered with an appropriate message or hook that meets their individual needs. This message should then be communicated


In the social media era, treating people as individuals is more important than ever


to them using a range of methods, including personal contact. You can then start to build a dialogue with them, which should develop into a tangible relationship from which to solicit information to create a personalised offer that matches their needs. This fi ltering process requires patience and very clear sales and interpersonal skills among those responsible for the process.


Communicate the message Once you’ve worked out what you want to say, to whom, and using which media channels, it’s time to get creative. Whether on Twitter or in a poster ad, the way you communicate your message must be succinct and very clear. For example, the most memorable advertising campaign of all time,


72 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


according to the Outdoor Media Centre, was Wonderbra’s famous ‘Hello Boys’ campaign that was launched over 20 years ago and still stimulates discussion and controversy despite comprising just two words and one image. The designers knew they had less


than three seconds to capture attention, create desire and make people want to know more; given the proliferation of marketing messages hitting us every day thanks to the likes of social media, we’d be lucky to have that long today. As Vaynerchuk said at IHRSA: “We’re living in the biggest cultural shift of all time. You need to get people’s attention in the noisiest world we’ve ever been in.” An uncluttered approach also helps


ensure consumers will spot ‘signposts’ to access further information should


May 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/RACOM


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