13 Jan 2021

  • Digital Marketing
  • Strategy
  • All Courses

Nail Loyalty Marketing in the Digital Era

’77% of brands could simply disappear and no-one would care’ – Havas Media Group

Loyalty marketing in the digital era is changing.

Consumer expectations and the way they interact with brands has been shaped by companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Uber and Spotify. They have redefined what it means to be a service business through the seamless delivery of ultra-convenience, personalisation and value.

Today’s consumers increasingly want frictionless experiences which deliver to their needs and solve their problems.

Digital adoption to meet new needs

The COVID-19 crisis brought forward years of digital adoption. Much of daily life and work transitioned to online channels, and this accelerated the digitisation of customer experiences.

Many brands accelerated their digital transformation journeys to meet new demands, while others admitted they lacked any infrastructure at all. There is reason why so many companies either launched or refreshed loyalty programs recently.

Loyalty programs are powerful enablers of digital transformation. They provide a means for data collection, customer lifecycle management and user personalisation; everything a brand needs to deliver to consumer expectations in a digital era.

New Data, New Insights

In 2022, Google will ban the use of cookies on its Chrome web browser; a browser that accounts for 65% of all web traffic. Cookies have already been banned on Safari and Firefox. This seismic disruption of digital marketing will increase demand for zero- and first- party data.

Zero-party data is information owned and intentionally shared by a consumer, and first-party data is information collected via customer interactions and owned by the business. Brands which hold such data will increase in value and effectiveness.

Loyalty programs naturally act as formalised systems to collect these important data sets. They play a key role in the entire data value chain by facilitating the collection of member personal data, utilising loyalty platforms for reporting and analytics purposes, and harnessing the insights generated to stimulate deeper member engagement by using sophisticated segmentation and lifecycle management models.

Rewarding Loyalty

Data has become a currency in the value exchange. Consumers know the true value of their data and expect to be compensated for it, either through a more personalised experience, rewards, or both. In fact, consumers will willingly trade their privacy for an offer they perceive as desirable.

Loyalty marketing is driven by rewards. Formalised loyalty programs make it easier for consumers to understand the value exchange. People are motivated to join a program if they perceive they will access value and will continue to engage if they continue to access value.

Brands can utilise rewards to encourage certain behaviours, such as completing profiles and preference centres, purchasing a certain product or social sharing, all of which furthers a brands understanding of the individual. Ultimately, for a loyalty program to be meaningful to customers, the rewards need to be contextually relevant.

Understanding the Customer Lifecycle

Marketing works best when the right message is sent to the right member at the right time through the right channel. Consumers want to be treated individually. They want a brand to;  know me, respond quickly, be where I want to be, tell me what you stand for, speak to my pains and passions, give me value for my privacy and reward me for loyalty.

Many brands unfortunately fail on the execution of sending the right message. Even on a basic level, most brands do not meet what is required of them. This is for several reasons, including poor customer experience mapping, lack of lifecycle management, and outdated or sub-optimal marketing technology.

A significant advantage loyalty programs provide to companies is the ability to track the lifecycle engagement of an individual member. If a customer is a loyalty program member, the company can efficiently track their engagement, build a comprehensive member profile, and use that profile to develop a personalised management strategy. This increases the likelihood they will feel recognised, rewarded, valued and appreciated, and continue to transact with the company.

Delivering Frictionless, Universal Customer Experiences

All consumers desire a unique, personalised experience, which is universal across any channel they use to interact with a brand – whether that be in store, online, via a mobile app, or wherever else. Digital connectivity and mobile adoption are transforming the possibilities for loyalty marketers, allowing them to offer omnichannel personalisation.

Omnichannel personalisation involves a customer experience that is informed by real-time data from all channels. This makes for a more seamless experience, but it also gives brands increased control over the data they collect and how they manage the customer relationship.

Loyalty platforms allow marketers to take full advantage of customer behaviour data (i.e., their digital footprints) to predict intent and identify the next best action to ensure continuous engagement between customer and brand. The customer-centric approach of omnichannel personalisation is the future of marketing.

Things to consider before launching into loyalty marketing

Loyalty marketing in the digital era can be one the most effective tools to drive customer acquisition, engagement and retention. With brands placing increased emphasis on ultra-convenience, personalisation and value, it’s crucial to understand what is required to ensure a loyalty strategy delivers desired business results. To turbocharge their loyalty marketing, today’s best digital marketers utilise the knowledge and tools available to them.

Scott Harrison is the Marketing Manager of Loyalty & Reward Co, Australia’s leading loyalty consulting agency. He has worked in several marketing and design roles across various industries including eHealth, property, and financial services. As Marketing Manager, Scott applies his skills across all aspects of the business, including loyalty program design, member engagement, and loyalty strategy development.

Scott co-created the book Loyalty Programs: The Complete Guide, the most comprehensive book on loyalty program theory and practice available. He also presents a number of modules as part of the Loyalty Programs Masterclass run by Loyalty & Reward Co in conjunction with ADMA.

Let’s connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-harrison-29530615a

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