Research Reveals an Emotionally Connected Customer Community Leads to Better Marketing ROI

Customer shopping by phone

A recent study from LoyaltyLion has found that if retailers can create emotional connections with their customers, they will see a greater ROI from their marketing investment.

The Community Matters report, which involved a survey of more than 4,000 consumers, explains how making customers feel aligned with your values, and offering experiential benefits that elevate their shopping experience, are important in motivating them to join your brand community and engage in actions such as writing positive reviews, referrals and more.

Customers want to feel aligned to brands

According to the research, customers will establish emotional connections with brands if they feel aligned with them, and brands without engaged communities are missing out on an opportunity to build longer-lasting relationships that drive loyalty and lifetime value.

Over half (57%) of the consumers polled said they feel motivated to actively participate if they understand what a brand stands for, and half (50%) by knowing the brand’s story and history. Six in ten (61%) said they would be motivated to participate in a brand community by the ability to contribute to a cause they care about.

Shoppers want to be able to connect with the brand and other customers

The research also found that shoppers are driven to engage in a brand’s community by the experiential benefit of connecting and learning from others. Two-thirds (69%) of shoppers were motivated to join a community by the ability to communicate directly with an online store, and just under half (48%) by the ability to communicate with other like-minded people. Seven in ten (70%) are also motivated by the opportunity to find out more about products from other customers who have bought them.

In contrast, just 43% said that transactional benefits like free shipping would motivate them to join and participate in a brand community.

Further research, from The Community Roundtable report has found that an active online brand community has the ability to delivery an ROI of over 4,000%, which also has the potential to increase each year the brand community is active.

Fiona Stevens, Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion said: “Active community members are your most powerful marketing asset and your most reliable source of revenue. They act as advocates which in turn supports your acquisition goals. They start conversations about you which supports your social engagement strategy, and they provide authentic social proof that helps to convert new customers.

Your loyalty program can be an immensely powerful vehicle not just in encouraging and rewarding these positive behaviours, but also in helping you to identify and segment your most valuable customers. This means you can focus your marketing efforts where you’ll see the greatest ROI.”

Why should a brand look to create a community?

Having an active and engage community in association with your brand can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • They are the most cost-effective way of acquiring new customers as they utilize word-of-mouth and engage in conversations about your brand.
  • They engage in greater/more inspiring conversations because they trust your brand.
  • They provide an open and honest feedback loop that helps you future-proof your brand.
  • They encourage higher customer lifetime value and brand loyalty due to their emotional connections to your brand.

Fiona Stevens concluded:

“The ecommerce landscape is changing. One of the best ways to adapt to the changes is to invest in an online customer community. They are powerful things, with 47% of customers saying they would be loyal to brands (and spend more over time) by becoming a member of a like-minded community.  Brands who deploy the right tactics to create emotional connections within these communities could see this number increase even further as their relationships with their customers develops over time.

The rise in online customer communities is an opportunity for brands to strengthen loyalty and increase revenue. A thriving customer community built around something meaningful, and rewarding could be the lift your business needs.”

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