How brands are ramping up customer loyalty program spending in 2017

With customer loyalty, and specifically loyalty programs set to get more spending this year, we speak to high-profile brands as well as industry experts to find out how to keep efforts fresh

Keeping loyalty fresh

When it comes to how to reward existing customers, Schneider believes the focus for brands should be on providing opportunities for engagement beyond the pure purchase.

“For example, instead of merely rewarding points for purchases, brands can reward customers points for activities like filling out profiles and preferences, submitting reviews, registering on their website, sharing or checking in on social media and downloading their app,” he says.

“Brands can also provide personalised rewards for milestones, such as customer birthdays or membership anniversaries, or even offer impromptu rewards throughout the year. This helps to keep the program fresh and adds an element of variety to surprise and delight customers, keeping them engaged with the brand and creating an emotional connection.”

Schneider highlights mobile as the game-changing technology making it easier for marketers to not only focus on customer loyalty, but also justify these activities and spend.

“The rise of mobile has certainly made it easier for brands to engage with customers beyond the point of purchase,” he says. “Smartphones allow consumers unfettered access to email, apps, social media and websites. With so many possible touch points on one device, it’s easier for marketers to reach customers when and where the message is most likely to connect.

“Brands should be looking to integrate their mobile app into the broader customer experience. They can create a mobile wallet, add in order and pickup reminders and streamline access to coupons and rewards. Since mobile is now a necessity for brands anyway, it certainly should be easier for marketers to justify the spend on these functions.”

Whatever approach brands take to their customer loyalty program and activity, it’s clear there needs to be a priority from both the board and executive committee on the customer, Bowman says.

“Failing to do so will ensure any business to become irrelevant as they will be moving in a different direction to the market, and opportunities will dry up quicker than ever before,” he says.

“One of the simplest ways for marketers to help guide their organisation towards customer loyalty is to put it into simple numerical terms on a single page that can demonstrate growth. This may be in the form of a chart of goals and KPIs, or a roadmap of what the future could look like if you increase the performance of different touch points.”

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