Nearly three quarters (74%) of Australian consumers believe that brands lie in their marketing communications, according to new research commissioned by customer life cycle management specialists, Customology.

Further, 77% of consumers believe that new customers receive better incentives than loyal customers and more than half (55%) don’t believe they are rewarded for their loyalty with 63% saying they should be rewarded for referrals. As a result, 82% could be tempted by a competitor.

Customology CEO, Mark James said brands invest in acquiring new customers yet treat them like transactions and a marketing database.

“Customers are feeling lied to and over marketed. Brands are not sending authentic messages to their customers which prevents them from activating the path to re-purchase. The irony is that their most profitable customer is a returning customer.

“Brands are missing out on significant opportunities… It costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. It’s ludicrous that brands today are still offering new customers a better deal.”

Another mistake being made by brands is shown in the telling statistic that 51% of customers did not receive any form of communication after their first purchase, even though they shared their contact details.

Meanwhile, 61% believe that stores are pushy in their marketing communications and 51% believe they are being remarketed to, too often. Further, almost half (48%) of consumers say they are being emailed too often and 45% suggest that brands are not targeting them in a relevant way.

“It’s like the customer is invisible. Customers feel that when brands do speak to them, it’s a half truth. We were really surprised to hear just how vocal these customers were about how brands engage with them,” James said.

Businesses should look at the best channels – not just the cheapest – to continue engagement, retention, and influence behaviour, according to James.

“The most important aspect of communication is to make all the messages relevant and tailored to the customer, and not to bombard them. There are so many opportunities to continue the conversation; but it has to be an authentic message, sent at the right time and via the right channel.

“Smart competitors are looking for every opportunity to acquire more customers. Brands with bad customer retention strategies are most at risk. Talking ‘to’ customers, not ‘at’ them like transactions is the key to building long-term success and trust between the customer and the brand.”