U.S. companies lose an estimated $35.3 billion every year to avoidable consumer churn. Thus it's no surprise that more and more companies are investing in customer loyalty to strengthen customer relationships. But for companies with loyalty programs, it's essential to reward members beyond discounts to demonstrate the value of your loyalty program.
Let's take a look at the ways you can build stronger, more profitable relationships with your customers across all types of loyalty programs.
Keeping your team engaged in their work is just as important as keeping customers engaged with your brand. "There's a straight line between customer loyalty and what happens inside an organization," says Mark Cowan, CEO of Put It Forward. Mark credits this insight to Allison Munro, CMO of Vena Solutions, who believes, "If you aren't successfully engaging your teams and producing great work, how are you engaging your prospects and customers? Get good at both, and your teams and customers will feel engaged, empowered, and a sense of belonging to your company and your brand."
With the deprecation of cookies, brands are starved for first-party customer data. Thankfully, some consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for a personalized experience. A loyalty program can replace cookies as a source of data, which can inform and personalize other touchpoints throughout the customer experience—think sales outreach, customer service, and personalized recommendations.
With Oracle CrowdTwist, you can collect data from customers by motivating them to complete their loyalty program profiles or participate in surveys. By offering an incentive such as bonus points, coupons, or free samples, you can persuade customers to share personal information about themselves and boost your remarketing efforts.
We asked Stensul's head of partnerships Fabian Eckstrom-French how Stensul adds value to its loyalty program. His response: Leverage email. "You need to create better emails that build relationships with subscribers and gain their loyalty. It takes a week plus for most to create an email with single-purpose tools used by specialists operating in silos—with an email creation platform, you save up to 90% of email creation time. And, with integrations with Oracle Eloqua or Oracle Responsys, you'll get more out of what your marketing automation platform does best."
Customers deserve special treatment and recognition for their brand loyalty. From elite rankings to special events and unique experiences, it's essential to offer one-of-a-kind rewards and experiences that make members feel unique, valued, and appreciated. Litmus' director of product marketing, Jessica Materna, says the best way to add value to a customer loyalty program is by advancing your personalization strategy, making every communication feel like a true 1:1 touchpoint. She goes on to say, "If you want customers to continue to invest in your brand and products, show them you're equally as invested in getting to know them and providing value."
With payment-linked loyalty, a consumer's payment method becomes their loyalty card, which merchants can use to trigger discounts, customized recommendations, and other rewards automatically. And payment-linked loyalty has a measurable impact on consumer decision-making.
J.P. Lips, head of unified commerce for global payments service provider Adyen, states that "63% of consumers say they are more likely to choose a retailer with payment-linked loyalty. People are becoming more selective about their payment experience. It's not enough to open their wallets, you have to win their hearts."
Customers who are price- or freebie-loyal are not genuinely loyal. Transform these customers into brand advocates by rewarding them for behavior they already know, such as redeeming coupons or taking surveys. Then invite them to complete a different behavior such as interactions on social media to drive further engagement with your business. Deepen customer relationships and build stronger loyalty.
Don't forget that content is not just for the buyer's journey but also for the customer’s journey. There are plenty of opportunities to leverage content to motivate your customers to purchase.
"Case studies, for example, are as motivating to current customers as they are to prospective ones," says Randy Frisch, CMO of Uberflip. But the strategy behind your content is just as important as the type of content you choose to create. "Serving the right content to current customers—customer loyalty program members or otherwise—is as important as distinguishing between the top and bottom of the sales funnel. By delivering personalized and relevant content experiences to customers, you'll establish your brand as a trusted advocate and resource, and that will increase their loyalty and commitment to doing business with you."
Ready to power your customer loyalty strategy?
Jennifer Ajer is a seasoned cross-channel marketer who has ten years’ experience in various marketing roles. She is currently a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Oracle Marketing Cloud's B2C products.