CRM Software
Published September 15th, 2016 by

Gartner Model Ignores the Loyalty Loop

A New Customer Journey Model

In August, Gartner published an updated Customer Journey Model titled “The Buy/Own/Advocate Customer Experience Journey”. The graphic representation of this journey model clarifies its name: it shows 3 cycles marked with the names ‘Buy’, ‘Own’ and ‘Advocate’.

This new model is an update to existing Customer Journey Models, especially adding the relatively new element of the feedback loop from ‘share’ to ‘evaluate’, which introduces the social influencing route, often absent in older models for obvious reasons. The ‘defend’-element in the advocate cycle is another nice addition: it shows the ambition level that brand can aspire to realize in Advocacy Marketing, also a relatively new branch on the Marketing Tree.

There’s something missing



Despite these nice new additions, we think Gartner has left out an essential element in the new model that is more explicitly present in models published earlier. It’s the explicit display of the Loyalty Loop. Many displayed elements touch loyalty loop aspects (like the route from ‘Love’ through ‘Deepen’, to ‘Purchase’), but because it is not made explicitly communicated as such, this approach misses the communicative strength of other models, like the classic McKinsey Loyalty Loop (published in 2011 by Fred Zimny), which clearly shows the customer behavior ‘shortcut’ that loyalty actually is.

Better models than Gartner’s

The strong concept of the Loyalty Loop – very clearly communicated in this Zimny graph – allows Marketers to actively manage the customer flow following it, and with that, managing the revenue stream associated with it, something that is not possible when the new Gartner model will be the starting point of the Marketing Plan or planning. We therefore alert Marketers to use this model with care and also include other models in your strategic decision making process. Next to the classic McKinsey model, these could be Brian Solis’ Customer Journey Model, which even includes the higher level concept of ‘bonding’, or The Cornell Model, which more explicitly communicates influence and affinity.

How can you prevent missing out on revenue?

In summary, Gartner missed out on including the Loyalty Loop in its newly published model. The consequences are that Marketers could miss out working on the loyalty loop reinforcement, and with that miss the opportunity of optimizing this important source of revenue. We see some interesting additions in Gartner’s model that focus at relatively recent marketing developments, but we advise to use better or more refined models to guide you in strategic marketing planning to avoid missing out on the significant aspect of optimizing the revenue your brand or company can acquire from returning customers. Using a Marketing Technology platform that recognizes this Loyalty Loop could help you achieve that goal more efficiently.


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