491621 What have we learned?

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  • Nick Hague and Paul Hague

What have we learned?

The shouting is over. It has been a resounding win for the Conservative party. Don’t worry, we are not going to get into political arguments, we just want to learn from this experience. It has many parallels with those of us in business who are forever trying to win customers and keep them happy. So, what have we learned?


Simple and repetitive slogans are effective


People buy products because they need or want them. They vote for a political party for the same reasons. Every product or service delivers a range of values to the customer. These values can be manifold and this is where it can all go wrong.


Each political party’s manifesto comprised a myriad of proposals. Labour had a stack load of things it was offering but, when pushed, voters couldn’t remember them. The NHS was up there but it was featured by all the parties so it wasn’t a unique selling proposition. Amongst all the noise from all the parties, the proposition that was most memorable, because it was repeated ad nauseam, was "Let's get Brexit done". This is a big learning. The more complicated the offer, the more likely it will lose customers’ attention. Value propositions need to be simple and indelibly tattooed on people's minds.


People switch because they can


In the finely balanced world of economics it is assumed that people vote with their feet if they suffer poor service or a bad product. With some products this is easy. It is no problem choosing another brand of toothpaste. No problem choosing another brand of car. Indeed no problem putting a cross against someone’s name on the ballot paper. To put it simply, people switch because they can. In such situations we have to be very mindful of the fickle nature of our target audience. We need to know that little things can swing them and they can change their mind at the last minute. When switching is easy, we need to ensure we are super diligent and relentless with our marketing messages – right up and until the sale is made.


Loyalty is declining


In the past people were loyal to brands. They always shopped at Tesco; they always voted red or blue. They did so because of history. It was something they have always done and probably something their parents, friends and neighbours have done. Today those loyalties are disappearing. Loyalty has to be earned and nurtured. It easy to switch to Aldi or Lidl; especially if they give you a good reason for doing so. It is easy to swap political allegiance. Loyalty cannot be taken for granted.


Emotions matter


Emotions are important in a buying decision or a voting intention. Forget the value propositions for a minute and imagine that voters must choose between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson as guests to dinner. As one voter said, "I know Boris Johnson is a bad boy but I like him". Johnson may not be liked by everyone that voted for him but he is thought to have charisma and chutzpah. People like that. They vote with their hearts not with their heads. If we want to deliver great customer experience we must reach the heartstrings of customers.


What about the future?


This is the $64,000 question. Customer experience and political allegiances are fragile. As we have seen, it doesn't take much for people to change heart. When they do so once, it is easy for them to do it again. Winning a customer in the first place is hard; keeping hold of them is even harder. And that's another story.

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