I came across this really interesting white paper by Market Platform Dynamics on what we think of as "loyalty". Here's a excerpt;
"There is a definitional problem that underlies the challenges faced by companies involved in "Loyalty" programs. Outside of the narrow world of marketing and promotions, loyalty generally defines an emotional relationship between or among individuals. In our world, the term "loyalty" has morphed into a business process that can best be defined as "schemes that help consumers earn value (points) for transacting with a company, and then redeeming that value for products or services at some point in the future." Additional functionality can be added to a "loyalty" program, such as value added services provided for higher value customers, but the core of the program is nearly always providing a customer with some form of currency in exchange for their continued patronage."
"Just to be clear, this is not loyalty; it's incenting (bribing) customers to enable habituation in order to increase customer profitability. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but real loyalty is emotional and it has to do with faithfulness and mutual obligation between two parties. Customers are fiercely loyal to Apple to the point where they will pay whatever it takes to get their products. Apple rewards that faithfulness by their continued delivery of products and services that delight customers and work really well. That's loyalty. Unfortunately the term has been hijacked by industry to define a business relationship that has very little to do with the emotional connection between a loyal customer and a faithful merchant, and this clouds thinking and creates strategic confusion."
To read the full white paper please click here, Enjoy!
Image courtesy of http://www.123rf.com