Year after year, millions around the world make resolutions to get into shape, save more money, go back to school, and improve upon various skills. According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February.

With the success rate for New Year’s resolutions being so low, how are marketers supposed to understand how to retain these potential new customers beyond the standard failure-rate of resolutions?

  1. Focus on finding the right customers.

It’s imperative to continue to reach out to new potential customers that span across a variety of segments, demographics and backgrounds. It’s even more critical to ensure that you are optimizing your strategy to find the right customers through the channels that offer the greatest return. Customers that are offered a relevant solution to a need they have and fit within your general target audience will be more likely to become a customer and stay a customer beyond the first few months of the year. You want to attract people that are going to span beyond the “resolutioner” mindset. Don’t allow yourself to get narrow minded – attracting fewer customers with a longer lifetime value could potentially end up being more profitable than attracting a larger amount of one-time customers during the first few months of each new year.

  1. Give them what they need.

Personalize the experience and make it unique for each customer and have all messaging be integrated and uniform across all traditional and digital tactics. Generally, consumers are looking for products, brands and services that help to fill in a gap or satisfy a need in their lives. Make it easy for them to translate the need beyond the beginning months of each new year. Segmenting customers based on unique characteristics and behaviors allows for customization of messaging and offers that help to further define the touchpoints and overall lifecycle of customers. Having set journeys and experiences that customers can take dependent upon their own unique purchase patterns and behaviors allows you to really connect with each customer and offer something of true value at any stage of the lifecycle.

  1. Show that you understand them.

To retain “resolutioners,” and any new customers, you need to not only use data to analyze behaviors, but also show each customer that you understand them and their ongoing interests and needs. Any relationship between your business and a customer should solve a continuous need or provide something that can sustain a long-term lifecycle. There are some products that have a longer timeframe between new purchases, such as mattresses and appliances, but the key in those instances would be to focus on smaller purchases that relate to the larger purchase to keep customers engaged and anticipate any subsequent needs that may come up along the way. For example, when I did promotional execution planning for the Home department at Sears Holdings Corporation, we would promote small kitchen appliances that related to the same product line of larger appliances and also sell accessory sets that could serve as add-ons or ‘giftable’ items later on. We would also cross-sell sheets and other bedding items to customers that just purchased a new bedroom set or mattress as a way to show that we are thinking of their needs and dedicated to ensuring a positive long-term experience. Additionally, we would target customers that had just moved with deep discounts on items they’d typically be looking for during moves, which emphasized our commitment to offering a unique experience and make things a little easier during an otherwise stressful time.


  1. Keep them engaged.

I am a big fan of loyalty and rewards programs as a primary way to keep customers engaged with your brand. Once you have them, you can’t assume that the brand loyalty is there. In today’s day and age, where online is dominating and the need for instant gratification and value are critical, it is imperative for brands and retailers to offer incentives that set them apart from the competition, both in-store and online. Grocery stores have partnered up with local or chain gas stations to provide fuel perks and retailers like Kohls have created “free money” programs for customers that spend certain amounts in-store and online during promotional periods. These have created a sense of loyalty because the more you shop, the more you save. I shop at the same grocery store each time because I know that the more I spend, the more I save on my gas purchases each month. Beyond offering discounts and loyalty programs, make sure to check in with your existing customer base with surveys, touchpoints across multiple marketing channels and consistent messaging to avoid any confusion.


What are some of your goals for the new year?