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Did you ever wonder if some of those age old sayings about marketing are true? For instance, we’ve all heard “It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer.” But does anyone have any proof of that? That is exactly what a group of authors set out to do in Loyalty Myths: Hyped Strategies That Will Put You Out of Business – and Proven Tactics That Really Work. The authors, Timothy L. Keiningham, Terry G. Varva, Lerzan Aksoy, and Henri Wallard are all experts in consumer loyalty and use their wealth of knowledge to dispel common myths and offer insight into what really works.

The book chooses and interesting format – the first six chapters are devoted to dismiss over fifty common ‘loyalty myths’ and the final two chapters are used to learning about why customers are loyal and how a loyalty program should be managed. Each of the ‘loyalty myths’ chapters contains several ‘myths’ grouped together by common themes, such as Loyalty Myths That Subvert Company Goals and Loyalty Myths Regarding Employees. The chapters both begin and end with an example pulled from industry that encompasses all of the myths mentioned in the chapter, with the actual myths discussed in the middle.

The authors spend a couple of pages banishing each of the fifty three myths. Some of the myths are things that we tend to take for granted, such as “Companies tend to know their customers,” while others like “share-of-wallet increases as customer lifetimes increase” would seem intuitively true. For each and every one, the authors use solid historical data to dispel the myth and show the negative business effects of believing it.

The final two chapters focus on seven ‘loyalty truths’ such as “Don’t manage for customer retention before you manage for customer selection” and “Customer loyalty and brand imagery are far from independent; you must manage them hand-in-hand.” The authors do a good job of going through how to build and measure a loyalty program around these ‘truths.’

The book is an extremely fast paced, entertaining read. Anyone reading the book with an open mind will agree with the authors’ solid reasoning. In particular, business owners, CEO’s, and anyone in marketing or consumer affairs will directly benefit by eliminating these ‘myths’ from their business and implementing the ‘truths.’ This book can have a very real impact on your company’s bottom line. Many businesses mindlessly pour money into customer loyalty programs without taking the steps outlined in this book. For some companies, a loyalty program doesn’t even make sense. For others, their program needs a significant overhaul. This book will help you identify where your business is and give you the tools to make improvements.

The only downside with the book is the shear number of myths. Many of the ‘myths’ blend together and readers would probably be more likely to retain the ‘myths’ if there were ten as opposed to fifty-three (similar to the seven ‘truths’). The amount of myths also doesn’t allow for the authors to go into quite as much detail as one would like for each ‘myth.’ There are several myths that aren’t so much dispelled in the paragraph or two devoted to it, but within the context of the entire chapter. It just seems like it would have made more sense to combine many of the myths.

Overall, Loyalty Myths: Hyped Strategies That Will Put You Out of Business – and Proven Tactics That Really Work is a tremendously entertaining and enlightening read. Anyone that has an interest in consumer loyalty will learn a great deal of directly applicable information that can save their company money and help differentiate them from the competition.

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