How to innovate whilst maintaining the loyalty of your core consumers

Here we look at the first of five frequently asked questions that the team at Elephants receive.

At Elephants, we believe that innovation is most effective when it targets consumers in layers, building from the inside out. Here we look at the four layers of consumers to target through innovation.

Layer 1: Best Friends Forever. Start with your core loyal consumers. See them as your key to growth. Your next consumer is most likely to be the one who has already bought you, and even more likely to be the one who has bought you many times before. So know them. Honour them. Treat them like you love them. Stretch them but don’t stress them.

Layer 2: Latitude in Attitude. Only when you know you have maximised your share of your loyal consumers’ wallets, should you consider someone who has not yet bought your brand. And even then, you should look for people who are exactly the same as your core loyal consumer in all attitudinal manners and all habits (except of course that nasty little habit of not yet buying your product). When you have solved the riddle of why these people are not buying your brand, and when you have made the changes needed to convince them to move, then and only then, move out to Layer 3.

Layer 3: The Next Best Thing. When you know you can do no more to attract those who ‘should’ be your buyers, then you can start to look at different people. These people are those who might not quite share all the attitudinal and behavioural traits of your core loyals, but do share some of them. Be careful not to stretch too far though – there will be plenty of growth available within these 3 layers.    

Layer 4. Gross Rejecters. Don’t even bother. Spending money chasing rejecters is a waste of time and investment. You might never know why they have rejected you and you may not be able to make amends, no matter how hard you try. It could be a deep-seated emotional rejection based on something totally outside your control. Don’t spend your time worrying and your shareholders money running after these consumers. Before you get anywhere close to doing so, start to sell something else to Layer 1! You know them so well by now you will have identified other needs and desires they have.

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