We marketers are great at deluding ourselves, we do it about all sorts of things, often to justify the resources we are consuming in the absence of hard numbers.
It is one thing to ‘get away’ with convincing the corner office that the number of ‘Likes’ on Facebook is a valid measure of our success, it is quite another when we actually believe it.
However, the greatest self-delusion in my experience remains undetected most of the time.
We mistake habit for loyalty.
Our marketing strategy and activities are normally about finding those to whom we add great value, and by hook or crook, getting them to stick to us in preference to a competitor. We go through processes now often summarised as ‘the buyer journey’ trying to create order in the place of the chaotic behaviour that is normal in our lives, creating diagrams like the one above,
Those few who we call ‘heavy users’ or some such term, we would also usually call ‘Loyal’ customers.
I would propose that in most cases they are not loyal, you have just managed to make it easy for them in some way, so they are habitual users rather than loyal users.
Habitual users do not think much about you beyond the transaction, unless you change something, the price, or availability, terms of service, whatever it is that they value from you, then they will consider the purchase in the new light.
If they choose to stay, they are loyal, if they leave, or try an alternative, they are just habitual. In addition, the loyal users will proselytise to their networks the benefits of your product, habitual users will not bother.
Make sure you know the difference.