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We Need a New Approach to Customer Loyalty Programs

Let’s face it: There needs to be an entirely new approach to customer loyalty programs if brands are to survive the digital and mobile revolution. While many brands realize the urgency of change, the challenges they face are daunting. For starters, a modern customer loyalty program is far more than the “points and plastic” of the past. Those programs were entirely transactional and bred transactional behavior in customers. A modern customer loyalty program consumes far more contextual data about a customer and allows a far richer conversation between the customer and the brand.

But if it was as easy as understanding that, most brands would be more than ready. The fact is, there are obstacles to overcome on the road to real-time customer engagement that may be bigger than marketers realize.

The Challenges in Implementing a Customer Loyalty Platform

The first real problem comes with the way retail brands have been organized. Loyalty programs cut across many organizational boundaries and affect not just marketing, but IT, finance, and sales. Each part of the organization has legitimate concerns about how a broad-reaching program will affect their costs, goals, and internal perception.

The second problem arises from the need to convince executives. They sit at the top of the organization and have the power to mandate change, but are reluctant to do so without solid evidence that investment will have the anticipated returns.

Loyalty Lab JumpStart Program

This is the reason the TIBCO Loyalty Lab JumpStart Program is such a compelling way to find success with customer loyalty marketing. We’ve created a fast, affordable customer engagement platform that allows marketers to quickly gain insights through measurable program results. We’ve added enough functionality to make the Loyalty Lab JumpStart Program very quick and easy to set up, with a low month-to-month cost and minimal need for IT support, so that marketers can quickly make their case.

When the barriers to entry are low, the chance for quick success is much higher. A marketer can have just enough functionality to create tangible proof points that satisfy organizational stakeholders and align the broader business behind the customer loyalty initiative. Where else can you change the future so easily?

Learn how to jumpstart your customer engagement program now at http://www.loyaltylab.com/jumpstart.html.

What It Takes to Become a Digital Business

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Business and technology are on a collision course that changes nearly every aspect of the organization. The term being thrown around to describe this is “digital business,” where mobile, analytics, social, and cloud are being married up to legacy systems like CRM, supply chain, inventory, and others so that data—sometimes called big data—has uninterrupted pathways to people, and vice versa.

Right Person, Right Time, Right Context 

This is what defines the new way work is being done—the ability for information to be available to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context. For a marketer, this is having fingertip access to all of the data that defines the customer, the organization’s ability to deliver products and services, and what’s happening at the interfaces in the current moment.

That’s not a description of the latest cloud app or a report being generated by traditional business intelligence tools. It is much, much more and involves bringing data together from across legacy systems and the latest technologies for social, mobile, and visual analytics.

Why a Digital Business?

A digital business has the ability to move and use the data that drives their business in new ways, whenever necessary. A digital business can disrupt itself time and time again because they can change product and customer attributes as necessary and create new combinations that form business ecosystems. A new channel, product, or customer pattern is no problem for a business that defines itself and its operations digitally.

Fundamentally, a digital business is flexible to change as the world changes; this is the secret to being the disruptor and not the disrupted. It is the only way businesses will survive into the future. What does it take? Leadership commitment and an ability to integrate legacy systems with the best and latest technologies.

To learn more, visit www.loyaltylab.com/expertise.

Marketers Face a Digital Imperative in Staying Two Steps Ahead of the Game

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

We’ve reached a point where marketers agree that the way business is done has fundamentally changed. In almost every case, they’re ready to rethink strategies, tactics and technology, but most are struggling with how to make smart, durable, effective changes that don’t look like wasted effort in a few months. Wasted effort and lack of vision are a CMO’s nightmare and lead to a short tenure.

One Step Ahead

The CMO needs success in turbulent economic times, with rapid change and constant disruption. Success is defined in this environment as being two steps ahead. That doesn’t necessarily mean one step ahead of the competition, the customer, or the next big trend—it means being multiple steps ahead of all of those things.

Ouch.

That’s a tough prescription in the best of times, but a really big challenge when the only thing that will work is business transformation, which today means digital transformation. There’s no Band-Aid approach that will get you there. It has to be change that goes to the core of the business.

A Digital Imperative

An article published in the MIT Sloan Management Review focuses on the fact that companies now face a “digital imperative.” The digital imperative means companies must:

“…adopt new technologies effectively or face competitive obsolescence. While there is consensus on the importance of adopting digital technology, most employees find the process complex and slow. Many say their leaders lack urgency and fail to share a vision for how technology can change the business.

The report broaches on the widespread problem of “digital immaturity.” One survey finds that 78% of companies recognize the need to digitally transform, but 63% feel the current pace is too slow; and 38% don’t believe it is a permanent fixture on their CEO’s agenda. If these numbers are realistic, there’s a great deal of disruption about to occur for most enterprises.

What, then, can a marketer do? For one, push hard for alignment within the organization and embrace the digital imperative—tackle it with urgency. Secondly, respond effectively and quickly to emerging digital technologies—don’t be left behind. Lastly, use the technology you have more effectively—integrate what you have so that legacy systems have value and aren’t a showstopper.

To learn more about the digital trends that will keep you ahead, download the whitepaper and watch the webinar, “Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.”