While traditional loyalty marketing techniques can still be incredibly effective, marketers today should be on the lookout for three dominant trends we’ve noticed that promise to transform how we view and execute on customer loyalty initiatives.
1. The Power of the Small
Far from just a buzz word, the power of microincentives is undeniable, and they are here to stay. What’s a microincentive? Well, think of gifts and rewards in extremely small denominations — valued in cash at anywhere from ten cents to a dollar. The item might be fantasy poker chips in a consumer’s favorite online card game, a new song from their favorite artist, or the latest premium app for their smartphone. At first blush most marketers might believe that only larger denominations can move the crowd and drive valuable consumer actions, but numerous digital marketing case studies have borne out the concept that many, lightweight touches over time can result in significant activity.
What’s revolutionary about micro-incentives for loyalty is the concept that, instead of requiring your customer to accumulate points over time in order to redeem something of exciting value, you could instead choose to excite your customer — and give instant gratification — every time they take an action you value. A social media post, a product review, a store visit, or a purchase could all trigger instant rewards. It’s a new option to add to your tool kit for loyalty, and one that promises to be a game changer.
2. Digital Options
The swag shop for loyalty rewards redemption is suddenly getting a lot more interesting. Beyond the standard gift card options, the new shift toward digital rewards means virtually anything that can be delivered with a PIN code or password (and that is nearly everything, these days) can be added to your loyalty program’s rewards catalog. Digital media and content, premium versions of apps and online services such as Pandora or HULU, game currencies for game publishers such as Zynga, and so many more options are now available. For loyalty programs that plug into the new landscape of digital rewards, they’ll be able to offer new types and formats of rewards to appeal to a wide variety of customer demographics.
3. Jumping Channels
Multi-channel marketing has been the talk for quite some time, but it seems many loyalty marketing professionals still struggle with creating a consistently seamless experience for multi-channel loyalty. Your customers can now shop online or in-store, may contribute to your social media spaces via mobile, and engage with your brand on Facebook. Does your loyalty marketing program track and reward all the different types of engagement and brand love that your fans are displaying? Or are you stuck in a one-track mode, dishing out rewards for only one, narrowly defined type of action? Look ahead and keep watch as the technology available shifts to accommodate rewarding ALL the little ways your customers demonstrate their loyalty — and get on board!
Planning Customer Loyalty Marketing Programs for 2013
As we look to winding down the year and plan for 2013, this is the perfect time to take stock of your existing customer loyalty marketing programs.
Be honest, and notice the gaps. Study the profile of your most valuable customers and you may learn that your loyalty program would benefit from getting ahead of all three of these emerging trends. The ability to give recognition and feedback in little ways as well as big ones. The ability to offer new and exciting digital rewards. The ability to provide rewarding multichannel experiences, and track loyalty in all the different ways your consumers interact with your brand. If these capabilities resonate for your loyalty marketing needs, make a plan for 2013 and begin to evaluate how to get there.
Your customers will thank you!