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Loyalty is Irrational

As irrational as toilet paper?
March 11, 2022

If I’m being brutally honest, I hate the word “loyalty” when it comes to consumer purchasing habits. Why? Well, the presence of customer loyalty presumes the existence of disloyalty. And that just feels gross. IDK.

When we invest in “loyalty” what we’re trying to elicit is for a customer to behave irrationally: to put aside cheaper, more convenient purchases in favor of a longer-term benefit. I write this as I am about to head out to see The Batman, despite having been fully spoiled on the movie. We’ll be dropping our kids at a coding bootcamp tonight on the way — except, it’s not on the way. Despite there being a movie theater less than a mile from the code camp, we’ll instead drive 20 minutes across town to a Regal Cinemas, where we have built up a bevy of points and awards. On top of the 3 hour runtime of the film, we’ll also incur a 40 minute round-trip, wear and tear on our car, and who-knows-how-much expense due to skyrocketing gas prices.

All for a free small popcorn for every $100 we spend.

It’s irrational, but I can’t for the life of me come up with a single thing that Regal has done for us that created that loyalty. They don’t do any one thing particularly well. We don’t have the mobile app installed, or notifications enabled. We don’t receive emails. We don’t play the AR game they plug pre-show. I honestly just don’t know why we keep going back.

My loyalty to Regal is irrational. Customers loyalty to your brand may be irrational, as well. It’s nuanced — it could have deep ties to nostalgia; the theater where you took your spouse on a first date, for instance. It could be that we revert to defaults — Amazon becomes the “I need something” platform, not just a shopping engine. Push Button. Product Arrive. Caveman-brain-like.

Thinking deeper about it, Regal didn’t do anything to earn our loyalty. I can’t help but think that somewhere there’s a marketer who thinks that their work contributed to my LTV as a repeat customer. Yet, we spend a good deal of our time as marketers working to create that kind of subliminal, emotional, loyalty. If such a thing were even possible, for you to Jedi Mind Trick a customer into long-term irrational behavior, you would be heralded as a brilliant marketer executing a well-crafted strategy.

It sounds more like hypnosis or a magic trick, but in reality, all you did was install a Shopify app.

Rather than try to push a customer into a behavior and taking credit for your brilliance, perhaps a bit of humility on part of the marketer is necessary. In reality, customer behavior is often irrational. Sometimes that works to our benefit; most often it does not. 

If you want more on irrational behaviors, this week on the podcast we hop a squat with Tushy’s co-founder, Miki Agrawal, to talk about how irrational it is that we keep wiping our butts with dead trees. Take a listen over here

— Phillip

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Phuture of Pharma. Bolt founder Ryan Breslow announced Love™: People-Powered Pharma™ on LinkedIn. The new company plans to leverage cryptocurrency to enable this new pharmaceutical structure.

More Sights & Sounds. Doordash has joined the package returns arena. Twitter has launched Twitter Shops, jumping into the social shopping game. Swiftly has raised $100 million in Series B funding.

Brass Mouse-y, that funky mouse-y. Yamaha designed a mouse for brass players everywhere. Best thing? The charger port allows you to use the mouse while it's plugged in. Thanks for nothing Apple.

Impressive Impressionists. CASETiFY is now collabing with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Dropping March 25, The MET collection will feature masterpieces from Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and more.

Haute Cout-Chilis. Chili’s is celebrating their 47th birthday with some peppery merch. Launching March 13, the e-commerce shop will feature a variety of styles in their new fashion drop.

Choosing sides. TikTok has started a rather heated debate by asking the question, “Are there more wheels or doors in the world?” The true answer is likely impossible to actually decipher, but our Production Assistant, Kaylee made it clear that she is absolutely “team wheels.”

Russia News

Censorship in Search and Social. DuckDuckGo, the “impartial” and “censorship-free” search engine has decided to “down rank” Russian propaganda. This, just one week after an NYT story about conservatives flocking to the engine due to censorship by companies like Google, which tend to lean left-of-center.

At the same time, Russia, in response to Facebook allowing users to “call for violence” against Russian soldiers, is moving to declare Meta an “extremist organization.”

Bans and permissions. President Biden announced the U.S. will join the E.U. and other allied nations in restricting Russian trade further. Import bans in The States will include vodka, seafood, and nonindustrial diamonds. Export bans will cover luxury vehicles and watches, alcohol and more. As far as individual companies go, Dunkin’ Donuts is cutting ties with Russia by suspending new and current development. Other companies halting business in Russia include Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Heineken. McDonald’s plans to close nearly 850 restaurants in the country. Business Insider put together a list of current companies who are still operating in Russia, including Mars, Inc., and Mondelez International, the parent company of Oreo and Trident.

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