Customers buy from brands and companies that they know something about. As a result, when companies consider the five stages of the customer journey (Awareness, Interest, Action, Loyalty, Advocacy), they often spend a great deal of time, energy and money on only the first three stages. However, the final two stages are where businesses tend to find the greatest ROI. By investing in the advocacy and loyalty stages, and building brand advocates, companies can move beyond transactional or short-term customer relationships and the need to pour more and more dollars into sales and marketing communications to find new customers.
The loyalty and advocacy stages are where investing in brand value and working on the brand experience deliver long-term customer relationships and financial returns.
For Peaden Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical, they recently garnered an increase in customer retention of 22%. This took place in a growth market—in less than 12 months and during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn—without increasing their advertising budget or overcommitting dollars to this customer retention strategy.
How did idgroup accomplish this?
In our early years working with Peaden, we focused heavily on the awareness, interest and action stages of the customer journey—cementing Peaden's position as “the professionals you can trust.” From there, we turned toward retention and advocacy. We began assessing Peaden's maintenance membership plan and conducting research on public opinion about these types of plans. Ultimately, the Peaden team at idgroup proposed that Peaden adopt a productization strategy for its membership plan.
SmartCare, powered by Peaden, was born. We developed this new brand name, service mark and a multimedia campaign to educate current and new customers on the need for routine AC maintenance and the value of being a Peaden SmartCare member.
At $300 for the SmartCare Elite annual membership, this was no easy task. We needed to clearly demonstrate the need and value to make this a successful retention strategy.
We accomplished this through drip marketing emails using ServiceTitian, a vertical industry marketing platform. The campaign also deployed TV commercials, social media posts, how-to videos and collateral which introduced homeowners to Peaden SmartCare. All of these tactics directed homeowners to an informative and educational landing page—branded to SmartCare, not the Peaden master brand.
In its first year, SmartCare outperformed expectations compared to previous years, when these maintenance memberships were not a branded service and were marketed only through Peaden’s direct sales channel. Moving forward, a new TV campaign and targeted digital solutions will be implemented that reinforce the value of SmartCare and encourage annual renewals.
By adjusting its strategy and investing marketing dollars in the loyalty and advocacy stages of the customer journey, Peaden has successfully retained more customers, developed deeper brand loyalty, and increased ROI by leveraging its existing customer base and spending less on acquisition.