The customer loyalty landscape has changed. Thanks in part to the pandemic, a quick and dramatic shift to online has resulted in consumers expecting far more sophisticated experiences across all digital interactions.
This disruption has resulted in a generational shift in consumer behaviour – in turn, reshaping the discipline of loyalty marketing. Ultimately, understanding online behaviour is more important now than ever.
However, our strategic partner, Salesforce, recently published their latest State of the Connected Customer report, which revealed that 66% of the more than 15,000 global shoppers surveyed expect personalised, frictionless and tailored interactions aligned with their core values. But, only 34% of the same group said they feel organisations treat them as individuals.
It is in turn shocking, but not necessarily surprising (when we take these findings into account), that 54% of loyalty programmes are inactive today.
It’s time to shift loyalty gears
It’s clear that a shift in approach is required. However, when Collinson recently conducted research designed to reveal Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore-based organisations’ views on the future of loyalty, the top three responses to the question: “What is your view of the future direction of loyalty programmes?” were as follows:
- 20% said “More of the same, at greater scale, customer value and market coverage”
- 18% said: “Increased consumer apathy to loyalty programmes”
- 17% said: “Increase in consumer concerns around data issues” What is your view of the future direction of loyalty programmes?
In turn, only 3% of respondents selected “Emotional connectivity”.
Why is this significant? Because true loyalty is achieved when a customer feels emotionally connected to a brand, largely driven by shared values. This is how leading brands enter the realm of life-long loyalty – as they have achieved something that other brands have not: they have connected with their customer on a deeper level, and proven to be a valuable addition to their customers’ lives.
When we once more reflect that respondents to the Salesforce survey feel that only 34% of programmes are personalised; as well as Collinson’s findings, which revealed that a fifth of organisations plan to continue doing “More of the same”, while only 3% plan to focus on “Emotional connectivity”, there’s an opportunity for brands to enhance their approach.
Brands employing innovative and engaging strategies today – i.e. those who are investing in placing customer loyalty at the heart of their business strategy – will have an advantage over competitors tomorrow. In the age of the consumer, experience is everything; with the Salesforce survey revealing that 85% of business buyers and 79% of consumers feel the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.
A positive customer experience will ultimately increase retention and promote loyalty. But how can brands make this shift?
One size fits one: Loyalty through hyper-personalisation
Loyalty is generated through us feeling known and understood, and in turn having perspective acknowledged and our needs proactively served.
An increased focus on the personal preferences of individuals rather than broad segments is enabling brands to deliver enhanced customer experiences. Each of us has our own perspective about what constitutes a meaningful experience, and that perspective includes personal attitudes to relevance, convenience and luxury.
With this in mind, hyper-personalisation or the ‘segment-of-one’ is the holy grail that marketers aspire to. The term refers to an organisation’s ability to track and cater to the needs and preferences of each customer, one at a time.
In the loyalty industry, segment-of-one marketing remains a futuristic goal; though innovations taking place in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics are helping reveal the possibilities.
Leading organisations are thinking beyond broad ‘target audiences’ and rigid stereotypical segments or personas. To identify and serve each customer in a distinctive way, they rely on two-way, interactive communication, AI, and the interrogation of sophisticated first-party and zero-party data to build a complete picture of an individual and their personality traits.
The information held by a brand on their customers will in turn be enhanced through collaboration with like-minded brands; with each participating brand helping to build additional relevance, by creating an enriched Single Customer View – as a result, enabling greater awareness of an individual’s personal preferences and interests, and enabling a hyper-personalised ‘segment-of-one’.
Download our complimentary eBook “The Power of Personalisation” today, to learn more, including the four actions all organisations should take to reach personalisation perfection.