Turning Love for a Brand into Brand Loyalty
In today’s world, brands are more like best friends than a transactional entity. Consumers interact with their favorite brands on social media, gossip about them with other friends, and feel a personal connection. How can you leverage this opportunity? Easy! By employing a key pillar of any friendship: loyalty.
An optimal loyalty program must be the manifestation of an intentional, measured strategy to create sustainable behavior change. This requires knowledge of what a brand wants its customers to do and a system to achieve it.
Efficient and effective loyalty programs can positively impact brand spend, retention, and advocacy. A recent study found the influence of loyalty is strong:
78% of people agree that programs make me more likely to do business with brands
74% of people say they are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs
65% of people modify their spend to maximize the benefits they receive
Much like a friendship, both parties must benefit. Overly sophisticated loyalty programs can deter participation and achievement of brand goals. To help, we’ve done the research for you. Based on behavioral science, as well as best practices derived from long-term experience and hard-fought lessons learned, we developed The 10 Best Practices of Loyalty Marketing Success.
The value proposition of any loyalty program comes down to two questions asked by each and every consumer. “What’s in it for me?” and, “How to Participate?” Easier asked than delivered, right? So, here are more details on how to deliver a winning loyalty program.
Benefits Must Be Undeniably Meaningful
Picture running a marathon and after months of hard work, all you get is a pat on the back. Disappointing, right? Consumers want the feeling of a gold medal too. That being said, loyalty programs should provide tangible rewards to motivate sign up and on-going participation. Value is based on personal perception, so rewards must be varied to motivate each individual. Bonus Tip: Kick off your program with an enrollment incentive – satisfy your customer up front and obtain additional data!
Make Sign Up Quick and Painless
Consumer sign-up should be a walk in the park. Resist the urge to ask for more than name, email, and mobile number. That’s it! A complete profile should be built over time, providing your brand opportunities to engage in additional learning and earning.
Rewarding Should Be Simple
Don’t be afraid to make customers work for it! It should not be easy to achieve the first reward or earn rewards in general. Envisioning earning their first rewards quickly makes consumers far more likely to pull the trigger and make a purchase. Further, rewards must be given as close to the time of behavior as possible to positively motivate people.
Customer Data Transparency
Privacy concerns are on everyone’s radar. However, most are willing to share information in exchange for a more personalized experience. Be upfront about how their data will be used and kept in a secure manner. It’s critical to reassure customers that their data is protected. Period.
Show Them You Know Them (But Not Too Much)
There is a fine line between customization and creepy. Dedicated customer service access for loyalty members is great; commenting on their social feeds randomly is not.
Customers desire exclusivity and top-notch service, so give them the VIP treatment. Status programs can achieve this through exclusive access to sales, higher priority service, and elevated status.
The consumer isn’t the only one who reaps the benefits of a well-designed effort. When executed, you will see improved brand outcomes, enhanced customer value, and enterprise wide loyalty. Is your brand’s loyalty program a winning one? See below for key areas to access.
Measure, Measure, Measure
Set clear goals and metrics, up front, to guide your efforts. Establish KPIs to track performance. Lagging indicators reflect past actions and often take time to transform so that their impact isn’t felt right away by internal operations. Leading Indicators measure activities that lead you towards your goal. These can be tracked more closely over shorter periods as they indicate faster change and larger trends.
And, Measure More to Prove the Value
Avoid wasting time and money. Use a process to measure the value of program participants. Look at Lifetime Value to differ between a “loyal” consumer and an everyday buyer. Other key metrics to be aware of: Cost per Acquisition, Revenue per Customer, Cost to Serve, and the Cost per Point/Cost per Reward.
A purchase validation method is key to understanding program revenue. KNOW the value of every point so you don’t sit with millions of dollars in points balance. Loyal, high-value customers should be rewarded within about three months and others within about six months.
Have the Right Technologies and Partners in Place
Technology is key. If you don’t have a fully-integrated, configurable enterprise platform, you won’t succeed. Store marketing, transactional, and behavioral data in a central repository for a clear and complete view of your customers. A configurable software engine can interact with external systems and make decisions based on ongoing customer behavior.
Use the Data Wisely
Data is the heart of your loyalty program and should be treated as such. Collecting, analyzing and acting on first-party data may alter your current privacy strategy. Consent-based, privacy friendly practices are a must for building and sustaining consumer trust. Beyond privacy, you should make big data personalized and recognize customers for providing it. All data collected should improve the relevancy of the loyalty program.
Be Loyal to Your Members
Friendships are stronger when they are rooted in reciprocity. When brands communicate in the right moments and right channels, there is a lift in customer experience. Beyond that, recent studies show that when the program experience is tailored to personal preferences, there is an additional 6.8x lift in brand experience. Use the power of surveys, segmentation, and personalization to bring one-to-one communication to all the touch-points (hint: this means more than just using someone’s first and last name).
To learn about how M_LAB can help your turn love for your brand into loyalty to your brand, contact us.