What Mayberry Taught Me About Loyalty

Remember the corner store? The place where you’d go for a yard of twine and the owner would ask about your oldest child, or tell you that your favorite flavor of licorice just came in?

Today, it is nearly impossible for retailers to provide that level of service without the use of data. But thinking back to the corner store, I do remember one television program that really provided all the lessons I needed to know about building customer loyalty. They are, in fact, embodied in its characters – Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee.

You guessed it, the Andy Griffith Show. But before you change the channel, let me make my case and explain how each character serves as a guide to engaging today’s increasingly fragmented consumer base:

Floyd: Slow going and a little absent minded, Floyd is the hopeful but distracted romantic in us. Like Floyd, we dream of attaining certain achievement, goals, or status, but need to be ignited with some encouraging, relevant messaging.

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Barney: Frenetic and a little self-delusional, Barney represents our tendency to spend first and ask questions later. For some marketers, this is great. But think about it – do you really want a population of customers who purchase on a whim or through price promotions?

Helen: The woman’s voice. Helen represents not only the female consumer, but also the female voice of reason in all of us. Helen tells us what is right and what makes sense. Listen to her, because your customers – even the Barney’s out there – eventually will.

Opie: The youngest character of the program symbolizes our innocence and aspirations. For the Opie in us, anything is possible. Marketers can make this so through specialized rewards that deliver more than mere points and miles, to include memorable experiences.

Aunt Bee: The nurturer. She lets us know we are special, that we make a difference. For marketers, this is called recognition – never, ever letting your best customers forget that your company revolves around them, not the other way around.

Andy: It goes without saying; Andy is who we all want to be. He’s the hero with some sage advice, a level head and the ability to disarm an unhappy customer with nothing more than a few words. Andy embodies the best of all characters.

Our job, as marketers, is to be the Andy to every customer.

Yes, I missed some characters, because even the best marketers occasionally overlook potentially important customers segments. Who is it for you? I look forward to your characterizations.

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