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Why Do Brands Need Loyalty Programs?

Why Every Brand Needs a Customer Loyalty Program

TL;DR

Brands need customer loyalty programs because they need to manage the – increasingly important – customer experience, grow differentiators in times of fast changing brand preferences and collect and use data to be able to deliver personal relevant experiences. The best method by far to collect that data is a customer loyalty program.

Marketers can actually manage Customer Experience

Most brands became successful when people made purchase decisions based on brand awareness, availability or value for money. Marketers would tackle the first 2. Advertising and ‘managing channels’ did the trick. ‘Value for money’ was less prominent on the radar because marketers can do only so much about that, as was the general perception.

This is changing rapidly. Already before Covid-19, Customer Experience (CX) grew increasingly important.

Now, an overwhelming 96% of customers think customer experience is important in their loyalty to a brand, and they act on those beliefs.

Grow Loyalty through Customer Experience

Customers increasingly make purchase decisions based on more than price and quality. They evaluate the purchase experience, taking into consideration personal relevance, convenience, and (social) brand reputation. A loyal attitude towards the brand is developed through accumulations of individual experiences. This change in customer expectations and thought process prompted a new breed of loyalty programs to evolve. These new kids on the block are supported by Customer Experience Management (CXM) Platforms and they heavily support personalized customer experiences and reward members for all types of desired behavior (which can include purchases, but extends to social sharing, engagement and advocacy).

There is a direct connection between loyalty bred by personal relevance and revenue, and brands can profit from that by running such a program.

Differentiate through a Loyalty Reward Program

59% of customers state that earning rewards is in the top 3 of the most valued aspects of shopping experiences, making it a top priority for many brands. Investing in a CXM Platform increases successful delivery of a top-scoring program which proves to be a differentiator for customer selection. Now Covid-19 has influenced consumer brand preferences, to be among those brands that grow their audience while keeping the backdoor closed, it’s time to start creating stronger relationships with the consumers that stayed or those who are newly acquired. 77% of consumers say they stayed loyal to specific brands for 10 years or more; a grand majority of the longest staying segment was serviced by a (loyalty) marketing program.

Profit from Data Driven Retention

Other than in classic loyalty programs, CXM Loyalty programs are not only about creating ‘transactional loyalty’ (where rewards are the main reason to come back and purchase again). By crafting well-designed customer experiences, and by managing these with a platform that collects data at every step through its integrated CDP, marketers can collect data and immediately use that same data to increase relevance and convenience for each individual customer.

Rewards have proven to be the most cost-effective way to acquire a continuous stream of high-quality customer data, far more cost effective and more impactful than surveys, acquiring lists, co-registration, social monitoring and alike. Taking it a step further, combining a Loyalty Program with a Customer Data Platform (CDP) provides marketers with even more relevant data they can use to create prize winning and revenue generating experiences. Most importantly, they can update these experiences constantly as circumstances change… often faster than you would expect. Check out some great examples here.

An integrated CDP brings brands extra value to a CXM Platform.

Let Digital Transformation Pay Off

Many brands have recently gone through a digital transformation program and have organized their data sources, internal processes and connections with suppliers. But so far, most of these programs did only cost money, or at best have saved some costs. Generation of new revenue is often behind ambitions and only seems to cost more money. A good CXM Platform can change all that and will turn digital transformation efforts into tangible revenue by using the accessible data, the streamlined internal processes by connecting these to the customer side.

Break through Barriers; Receipt Scanning Technology

Recently new loyalty technology called receipt scanning is used frequently to allow brands to connect with consumers without the participation of retailers, which speeds up projects and lowers costs immensely. Receipt scanning provides brand customers the flexibility to shop at any store and still claim their loyalty points for that brand, similarly to on-pack or in-pack codes which are often too expensive or very hard to implement.

Leverage Success with the Right Partner

Finding the right partner who helps brands design, develop, and deploy a successful CXM Loyalty Program is key. Consultants and Marketing Agencies are not going to cut it due to the required cross-sector expertise and because of the implementation challenges that follow after the ‘Powerpoint sheets’-phase. A partner with brand and marketing technology expertise and a top CXM Platform implemented by the same people that provide the design – to avoid slow hand-overs and ‘pointing’ at others – helps your brand deliver speedy and certain.

If that partner also has an integrated CDP and many years of expertise and international experience in B2B and B2C loyalty programs, it’s worth to check them out and ask for a demo.

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