Loyalty marketing is all about creating and sustaining relationships with customers, but the idea of loyalty is changing. Customers want more choice in what they get from brands and increasingly see themselves as independent agents operating within a networked ecosystem of providers. This week at L&A awards we heard some key themes related to this:
The competition for customer attention is now a battle of ecosystems.
The competition for customer attention is now a battle of ecosystems. Customers have more options than ever to choose from and are more likely to pick something that makes their lives easier. The brands that win will be those who can deliver the most valuable content with the simplest UX.
The integrated experience is no longer just between brands and customers; it’s also between brands and their partners’ content. Consumers expect seamless navigation across partner content in an ecosystem, a loyalty experience should be integrated right there on a single page so that when it comes time for action—buying something—you can transact without losing momentum of having to navigate to another site or app.
Customers should get more choice in in the benefits they receive.
Customers should be able to choose the benefits they receive. Many benefits go unused because they are not relevant to the customer’s needs.
Brands must step out of their silos and partner or risk losing customers.
Customers are expecting more variety and richer experiences in their lives, but brands also have to step out of their silos and partner or risk losing customers interest. The industry is moving towards a web of connected systems. Brands must take action now if they want to be successful in the future, or risk being left behind by competitors that are already embracing this model.
Individualisation will outweigh personalisation in the future.
Personalisation is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Customers want to be treated as individuals, and this means giving them the choice and control to select what they think is best for them, while also using data to make predictive relevant selections on their behalf.
Individualisation is quite different from personalisation; while personalisation aims to improve customer experience by tailoring products and services according to the information available about individual customers, individualisation goes one step further by allowing customers themselves to decide which products or services they find most suitable for their needs.
Key takeaway: focus on identifying the 'next best action' for your customers.
Emotional digital experience will be a key driver of customer loyalty.
Digital experience is a key driver of customer loyalty. The emotional component can be more important than the rational component, which means that technology needs to focus on creating experiences that are more than just functional but also enjoyable and appealing to customers. "Passion Loyalty" is the new name for the move ‘from stuff to things’. One of the key challenges however will be finding the balance between complexity of choice and simplicity of engagement.
Loyalty marketers are still struggling with personalisation and individualisation.
As you can see from the definition, personalisation and individualisation are not exactly the same. For personalisation to occur, a company must make sure its marketing efforts are relevant for each customer. In other words, it needs to learn about customers' preferences and behaviours in order to deliver messages that resonate with them. Individualisation is different because it requires information about each customer's unique preferences and interests and is the next step on the journey to creating recognised individuals from our customers data.
Loyalty plays an ever more leading role in expressing and carrying the brand purpose.