5 Crucial Loyalty Directives for Marketers and Business Owners

In Customer Experience, Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM by Kevin Kelly

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1. You are the customer, too—often people in the loyalty discipline and B2B industry forget that they are also consumers. So consider asking yourself some of the following questions: why did you buy that watch on your wrist? Why did you buy the shirt on your back? Why did you purchase the phone in your pocket? This is a great place to start because you, the marketer and business owner, realize that you are just as participative in the loyalty discipline as the often nebulous consumer you address.

2. Fall in love with data. OK, maybe you're not a math person and that's completely fine but you have to realize that the analytics behind loyalty are crucial. While all consumers are individuals, behavioral patterns are readily apparent. Take advantage of these patterns. Tailor your efforts to these patterns. If 73% of your customer base only returns to a store during weekdays, what are some marketing tactics for the weekend? I can promise you data analytics is a CRM goldmine.

3. Transcend the unexpected. This goes back to the first point: start with what you know about loyalty strategies. What do loyalty directives currently accomplish? What is the industry standard? Punch-cards, buy one get one, flash sales, exclusive email offerings?

Now push past these strategies to create something new that will surprise your consumer. A punch card won't surprise your customer anymore, a free gift in the bag on their second purchase might.

4. Be human. This is stranger one but it applies to countless aspects of fantastic loyalty initiatives. Don't just be "the brand" or "the company" be human across your channels. Take social media for instance—feature the people behind your twitter account like Gilt Groupe and UPS effectively do. It makes the customer feel that they are talking to real human and makes the response seem more special.

There is another way to be human—create a brand experience that millennials will like. This isn't that difficult you just need to know who millennials are. Here are some key words to consider when creating strategies for millennials: they like transparency, personal accountability, and green approaches to the consumerscape.

5. Understand that it's never over. A great loyalty program understands, responds, and reacts to the customer. Did Snapchat just explode across your demographic? Respond to it. Did your customers start instagramming your product or experience? Respond to it.

Understand that loyalty is not static—it almost moves and breathes alongside your customers. Your loyalty program should be just as dynamic as your customers.

Find out how to craft effective rewards program at this year's US 2013 Customer Festival this October where top marketers and c-levels will be discussing tangible strategies.

[photo – flickr NASA Goddard ]