Our latest webinar, Loyalty Marketing Strategies to Win More Customers in 2021, was held October 7, 2020. We didn’t have time to answer all of the questions from our audience, so we’re continuing the conversation and providing answers to some of these questions below. If you have additional questions that are not answered below, please feel free to reach out to our experts, Marcin Sobek and Łukasz Słoniewski. Didn’t get a chance to view the webinar earlier? It’s available on-demand!
Q: Do loyalty programs still matter? How can brands distinguish theirs from the crowd and make it attractive?
- MS: Loyalty programs are far from becoming stagnant. Most of the factors that contributed to their initial growth are still at play. Loyalty programs are still the main driver for turning anonymous consumers into recognized and appreciated brand ambassadors. In order to succeed, the customer data that the program collects should be evaluated consistently and be used to personalize communication and increase the speed and quality of brand services. Making the program a seamless part of every interaction with the brand that does not require effort, time or a plastic card are also important factors of program adoption.
Q: Which new technology should be adopted first for effective personalization?
- LS: The first step to applying effective personalization is make sure you know your customers. In order to do that, you need to identify their interactions with your brand at every single touchpoint. If you’re purely a brick & mortar retailer, then it’s okay to start with capturing customer transactions and potentially extend it to the collection of location data (using geofencing or beacons). But if you’re more active in digital space, you need to make sure that your clients identify themselves using the same ID or are able to connect various accounts (i.e. using social login and connecting their social media accounts with e-commerce / loyalty account). Loyalty programs help achieve such data quality, as they offer a certain level of incentive for sharing the data (identifying themselves using the same ID, being active etc.) – that’s the only way for the customer to be rewarded and build their status.
When this is done, data is collected, and we may start thinking about efficient personalization. And here, we need to think about 2 main areas:
- Personalization of the program’s structure: the earn and burn mechanism should be adapted, allowing members to choose their path of participation in the loyalty program – in this case, proper loyalty program management software allowing for such flexible configuration would be needed.
- Personalization of the day-to-day content received by the customer – segmentation offered by default loyalty, CRM and campaign management systems could do the job, but the personalization in that case always assumes some level of similarity between individuals. Using AI algorithms allows for the preparation of specific content for each member of the program, based on their private choices and preferences. AI algorithms might be delivered as dedicated tools or built into the platforms that utilize the results of those algorithms later on (loyalty management systems, campaign management systems etc).
Q: How can we gain customer’s trust to get more data?
- MS: I think marketers must realize that customers will be willing to share more information only if they can feel that this data is later used to enhance their experience with the brand. And I do not mean through segmentation and targeting precision of the brand marketing vehicle, but through the service experience customers have when they interact with brand touchpoints. Marketers should prove that the product roadmap and portfolio is co-created by the same customers that share their data – that the products they use are to some extent designed by them.
Q: What is the best strategy to engage customers in ways other than discounts or free products in low margin businesses?
- MS: In markets with low margins, building a sustainable Program Value Proposition on loyalty discount is always challenging. So apart from guaranteed benefits for members, these industries can introduce both distributor-funded seasonal perks and gamified, contest-based programs. Even with very limited budgets, contest-based programs allow program managers to build powerful stories and offer sizable prizes. Prize draws or spending challenges can also attract attention and engage members with minimum effort (and resources) required.
To read more about the uses of AI and ML in loyalty marketing, including Personalization, Chatbots, Gamification and Loyalty Fraud Prevention, download our ebook below.