How to win customer loyalty with experiential marketing?

Table of content:
Customer loyalty makes people come back to your business
Why is it important to keep your customers satisfied?
How to get customers loyal to your brand?
Customer loyalty is not always related to the service or product quality
Good experience can lead to loyalty – let’s use it as a marketing routine
Use case:Uniqlo’s experiential marketing efforts create the right emotions
What is experiential marketing?
Correlation between experiential marketing and customer loyalty
A strong brand image reflects customer experience

I had dinner with my wife and I tried to explain to her that all the public events and free merch that her go-to-gym provides are just part of the marketing tactic but she insisted that it’s just a lifestyle company. 

I just shrugged it off and left the conversation there until I started to research experiential marketing as I didn’t have a word for it. All–in-All it is a marketing done right if people don’t perceive it as a marketing.

However the “experiential marketing” is indeed a thing and needs to be addressed as I see many company owners fail to recognize it and don’t systematically develop it to increase customer loyalty which can reduce CAC (Customer acquisition cost) while also increase LTV (Lifetime value) and NPS (Net promoter score).

Customer loyalty makes people come back to your business

There are some misconceptions that undermine the importance of customer loyalty which leads to poor strategy of winning repeated purchases. Customer loyalty should be perceived as a behavior, not an attitude towards the brand. 

A customer can like a brand yet not be loyal to that brand. In its original term, customer loyalty is the tendency of customers to continue purchasing products or services from a particular company over a long period of time.

Why is it important to keep your customers satisfied?

When I was young (Like really young) and the Soviet Union had recently collapsed, companies really did not have to fight over customers as there was virtually no competition. People bought from wherever they could at a given price. Those kinds of things don’t happen often, but it could happen in Ukraine, when the war is over.

Back to our “peaceful” world, the war for customers is more brutal every year. According to research, e-commerce CAC has increased a whopping 222% over 8 years. 

For fitness clubs, like mentioned in the beginning, studies have found that it is 5 to 8 times more expensive to convince new customers to join than renewing a previous contract. 

For companies to be profitable in such a competitive landscape, where every business idea has multiple competitors, it is important to develop a clear plan on how to retain customers and build a loyal audience base.

How to get customers loyal to your brand?

Customer loyalty is highly correlated with customer satisfaction. Studies show that the probability of a customer being loyal is 65% when the customer is satisfied and even 95% when very satisfied. 

  • You can call your customer loyal if he or she has some of the attributes:

  • for a long time remains loyal to the company; 

  • buys new products offered by the company; 

  • creates a positive image of the company, attracting your friends to buy the goods; 

  • is insensitive to the actions of competitors; 

  • less sensitive to price changes; 

  • tolerates errors made by the company; 

  • willingly provides information; 

  • willing to share his ideas on improving the products and services

As building loyalty takes time like any relationship, it is really important to satisfy your customer needs and wants in multiple touchpoints so the trust can be created. As you can see in the list – a loyal customer can tolerate service or product errors.

As people tend to share and remember the negative feelings more, it can take one mistake with the “not loyal” customer to never see that customer again.

There aren’t a lot of discussions about what satisfied means in customer loyalty theory so it is important to notice that customer satisfaction is not always under companies control. 

For example, when a customer’s location change and the company is not able to serve this customer anymore, the customer will lose its loyalty to the company which is not related to company efforts. Same can go for other reasons like change of occupation, increase/decrease of customers’ income etc..

Good experience can lead to loyalty – let’s use it as a marketing routine

So we know that good service will keep your customers coming back for more – or at least it increases the chance of that. But who is responsible for customer satisfaction? Customer service representative, Sales team or Head of customer experience?

How about the marketing team. To be more precise, everyone in the company together can contribute to better customer satisfaction, but the marketing team is often seen as someone who brings customers in and occasionally bombs customers with a newsletter about new blog posts.

Uniqlo’s experiential marketing efforts create the right emotions

Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing retailer, launched an AI assistant to help customers search for products via their mobile app. The “digital concierge,” which uses voice-enabled customer services to provide product recommendations, is not based solely on past searches.

Uniqlo IQ’s style inspiration feature is a key component. The app features include clothing and other apparel, as well as product rankings, hourly product rankings, and items featured in monthly magazines.

The makers went further than that by offering styling advice based primarily on the customer’s personal preferences. The app’s highly personalized and engaging features ensure that it balances its functional nature and provides a personal, interactive experience.

The app is designed smartly to offer a personalized shopping experience. It tailors recommendations to each customer and their individual needs. One in three shoppers stated that they would like personalized products. 

The bottom line is, that companies should give their best to create a positively memorable experience and it should be part of the marketing.

What is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is a routine which systematically creates positive feelings in customers in hopes of increasing the customer satisfaction and through that increase the probability of customers becoming a raging fan of the brand.

It does not have to be as technically advanced as you just read about Uniqlo. Jon Taffer explains he’s experiential tactic in restaurants which does basically include only two different colors of napkins


The probability of a customer coming back to a restaurant where he or she had a flawless experience is about 40%. The probability of a third visit is still 42% and the fourth time is over 70%. So it is utmost important to give the best expression of your restaurant every time the customer revisits you until the customer becomes your loyal fan.

He suggests to give those people different kinds of napkins so the service could pay extra attention to these customers. Simple and elegant solution to a very complex problem.

Experiential marketing aims to form loyal customers by touching their emotions and giving a positive feeling to the company’s products. In short experiential marketing is a customer’s real experience of certain products and brands that involve feelings and emotions that have an impact on marketing, especially purchasing decisions

So it’s not enough to give a positive experience the first time but to do it repeatedly. However, there’s a catch!

Correlation between experiential marketing and customer loyalty

It was observed in the study that when brand image and customer satisfaction were involved, the direct impact of experiential marketing on customer loyalty was not significant. When using experimental marketing to establish custom satisfaction, brand image and customer satisfaction play very important roles as mediators.

Experiential marketing can lead consumers to develop a higher sense of familiarity with the product or service, and subsequently a greater brand impression but not directly to Loyal customers.

A strong brand image reflects customer experience

To make sense of the Experiential marketing correlation with customer Loyalty, we have to look at it in a more everyday practical life. 

When a company’s brand image is promising something that the experience of consuming the product or service does not offer, it makes you confused or even angry.

It doesn’t have to be a bad experience necessarily. Just different from what the brand tells you, so it doesn’t confirm the beliefs of the brand’s customers.

Think about it. When did the brand manager participate in service delivery meetings? Usually those two worlds are often so separated that they might not even know each other. 

If you really want to build a strong brand image, it’s time to bring brand managers in the field. Not only can they use this knowledge to better storytelling, but they can also give creative ideas how to bring customer service standards up to the brand image.


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