I’ve been wanting to share this great example of a UK brand that really understands their customers and uses their marketing in a very simple but highly effective way. I have been talking about Neal’s Yard successes in workshops that I’ve been facilitating recently and finally, I’ve had time to put fingers to the keyboard!
Having experienced this brand’s outstanding customer experience first-hand, I’d be interested to hear if you’ve had a similar experience with Neal’s Yard or another brand. Please do feel free to share any views in the comments below or with me on LinkedIn.
Here’s what I’ve found…
Neal’s Yard really ‘get’ their customers and skilfully bring to life online, their instore experience, delivering hugely successful digital journeys for customers both online and offline.
It’s easy for businesses to say they understand their customer, but you can only do this if you understand existing and potential customers’ wants, needs and values. I’ll talk about values in a while, it’s an essential customer-facet to take onboard. If you understand these, you can sell to customers even when they are not looking for a solution. I call this proactive marketing (reactive is when people are searching for a solution to a problem)
In my view, Neal’s Yard have used the four stages model of the customer journey. If organisations spend time doing this, it not only attracts more customers but maintains and grows the customer lifetime value and revenue for existing customers. Not an easy task to do – one other brand that I feel does this extremely well is Patagonia.
It’s all about me! (the customer)
Before we talk about the success model Neal’s Yard have, we need to start with the customer – in this case that’s me! However, I’ve not always been a customer, in fact I only become a first-time customer in the last two years and from one product. I’m now the proud owner of a full kit of Neal’s Yard products. As an aside, if like me, you’re a frequent traveller especially for work, I can highly recommend some of their products for keeping me in tip top condition on my travels.
So back to the customers or in the beginning the potential customer. I said I’d talk more about values, well my values include; environmentally friendly, sustainability and the reuse/recycle ethos is important to me. At the same time, I’m not a big spender on skin care, be that in time looking after my skin or spending money on my skin. Anyway, this may all seem a step too far into my personal life, but all will become clear as we move on.
My customer journey started with…
I was targeted on Facebook with a Neal’s Yard advert for their Rose Balm. This wasn’t about buying the balm but sharing with me that this one pot wonder could not only be used for at least half a dozen skin care resources but was also from a brand that shared my values. I was intrigued and as I do a lot of travel I thought, next time I was passing a Neal’s Yard shop I’d pop in and take a look.
Fast forward to my shop visit…
I popped to the store and had a great customer experience from the moment I walked in. I was offered guidance and insight without any hard sell. I happily purchased the pot of Rose Balm and as a frequent traveller also decided to purchase their ‘award winning bag’ which contained white tea facial space and their night balm. Anyone who travels a lot and works long hours is always looking for ways to help them turn off to sleep and feel awake in the morning, so I’d thought I’ve give these guys a spin.
When I paid for my items they asked if I’d like a receipt emailed and also would I like to sign up to their loyalty card. Like everyone, I have a ton of loyalty cards which I never see the value of but always frightened of missing out on a bargain I signed up.
Here’s what sealed the deal for me…
Two weeks later I received an email asking me how I was getting on with my balm and also sharing with me links to other ways people were using this balm. When I had five minutes, I view the links and having already fell in love with the product I was keen to know more ways I could use this amazing bit of kit. I was hooked, this product really was/is amazing, it’s very cost effective and ticked all my ‘value’ boxes and now literally comes with me everywhere.
So, having started to feel that this brand really understood me as a customer when my other non-branded Neal’s Yard products ran out, guess where I went? Yep, I headed straight back to my new favourite brand to replace them with a Neal’s Yard alternative.
Having also given their travel items a go and found they were also super useful I purchased full size versions of them. I can decant smaller portions in to travel size, so I only need to buy one of each. This means I’m not spending lots of money on travel size items, I’m also reusing bottles and so helping with my impact on the planet – all without breaking the bank.
I’m now a happy (returning) customer…
Alongside all of this, coming back to the Neal’s Yard loyalty card, you can earn money to spend as credit whenever you buy products. It’s a great but very simple reason to benefit from their loyalty card – many shops give points or money off certain items but simple really is best.
Finally, I also receive great emails and am retargeted with great content they think I will find useful including behind the scenes, skincare hints and tips and money off promotions.
What can we learn…
The skin care market is swamped with brands all pushing that their products are best. Neal’s Yard in my view have taken the time to think about their customers’ wants, needs and values to deliver a joined up successful marketing campaign, which while I can only guess, as I’ve not worked with them, is a profitable one.
As a customer, one thing I feel they could be doing more of is scaling this personalisation. It worked really well on the Rose Balm, but I’ve not received that level of personalisation on other products and I think they could be missing a trick. I also believe they could be doing more with non-commercial influencers; people who are not reviewers but just share some of their day to day life on social media.
Finally, examples like this highlight that you need to be a customer to really ‘get’ the brand. If you as a non-customer or value aligned person looked at their digital marketing, you might well not have come to find the insight I have. It’s not easy wearing your customers shoes but has to be your absolute first port of call before any digital outputs are started, not doing so is like throwing paint at the wall.
As I said at the start, if you have an example of a brand that really ‘get’ their customers just like Neal’s Yard or Patagonia, then I’ve love to hear. Please share your thoughts below or drop me a message on LinkedIn, I would love to hear from you.