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Customer Loyalty in a Real-Time, Noisy World

We’re reaching a point of saturation where the noise of the connected world can easily outweigh the value of listening. As social media use continues to increase alongside constant connectivity, the voices that matter most to us—the voices we’re loyal to—end up being the only voices we can hear.

The Saturation Point

When consumers hit the saturation point, they’re highly likely to take a step back from the marketing chaos and ask themselves “What matters most?” and “How can I escape the chaos?” They’re likely to limit their focus to the things and places they hold dear. This is exactly where brand loyalty matters more than ever.

The world won’t get any quieter. To make sure they’re heard, a brand needs to make up for increasing noise with better customer engagement that leads to greater loyalty. When a brand is in a trusted relationship with its customers, it knows its customers far better and offers a respite from the need to filter out the irrelevant. It offers peace from the dark aspects of constant connectivity.

Brands and Noise Filters

When a brand engages loyal customers wisely, it offers a noise filter and creates an appreciation from the customer; that leads to brand advocacy. Strong customer appreciation—strong enough to create advocacy—is a hallmark of the brands that enjoy much higher lifetime customer value and powerful networking benefits as their customers are more than willing to vouch for the brand and introduce others to its benefits.

A focus on customer loyalty is an excellent strategy for a real-time, noisy world.

For more on how to cut through the chaos in 2014, check out this TIBCO Loyalty Lab webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

Going to Loyalty World US? Here Are 5 Las Vegas Shows with Loyal Followings for You to Attend

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Loyalty World US is coming to Las Vegas.

And if you’re planning to attend Loyalty World US October 28th and 29th, you will no doubt want to get out and experience all the city has to offer.

But with so many options, what’s a marketer to do?

Sticking with the loyalty theme (of course), here are five Las Vegas shows with some of the largest and most loyal followings.

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s “O” is made for Vegas. You’ve got your world-class acrobats, your synchronized swimmers, your divers, and your characters performing in, on, and above water to create a breathtaking experience.

It’s an aquatic blend of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance in a timeless production. The show is inspired by the concept of infinity, which matches the line of thinking you’ll have when heading back to the office, filled with new ideas from Loyalty World US.

Le Reve

Le Reve takes its name from a 1932 Picasso painting hotel mogul Steve Wynn displays in his private collection. It’s a true journey of the subconscious mind with an intense blast of rain, fire and action at the outset.

Eighty-seven performers from 17 countries tell the story using a blend of aerial acrobatics, water ballet, synchronized swimming, comedy, and amazing feats of athleticism. You’ll see performers entering and leaving the stage through air and water. The stage even rises and falls with the water during the show, enabling an 87-foot high dive.

Blue Man Group

Visually stunning, wildly entertaining, hysterically funny – these are the words that have been used to describe Blue Man Group’s critically acclaimed show. Even though it’s difficult to explain exactly what it is you’ll be seeing, audiences of all ages agree that Blue Man Group’s show is an exciting and outrageous experience that will leave you in a euphoric state of bliss.

If you want to learn how to create a loyal following without using a single word while at Loyalty World US, Blue Man Group is the only “seminar” that can show you how.

Jersey Boys

You remember Robin Leach, right? He’s the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous guy. Anyway, here’s what he says about Jersey Boys:

“The production, which is brilliantly staged with genius execution, rockets along at jet-smooth speed and one moment you’re laughing and the next tears well up.”

Jersey Boys, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2006, takes you behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. You get to ride along with the band – up the charts and across the country.

Donnie and Marie

Donny Osmond is no stranger to Vegas. His first gig was performing with his brothers at the Sahara hotel at the age of 7.

The “Donny & Marie” show features excellent audience participation, and it’s funny and exhilarating. If you remember the Osmonds from your youth, this show will take you back to a special time in your life. If not, then this is your chance to connect with two of the best performers on the strip who still have what it takes to connect with the audience.

And that’s what it’s all about, connecting with your audience. We hope to connect with you at Loyalty World US in Las Vegas later this month. Register now for a 1:1 consultation with one of our loyalty experts, and request an invite to our cocktail reception at YellowTail Japanese Restaurant in the Bellagio on 10/28!

Customer Loyalty Becomes More Mobile, Real Time, and Personal

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

The science and art of customer loyalty are changing rapidly, and that’s not much of a surprise to most. As customers, we show our retail loyalty when bookmark our favorite brands and use our favorite retailers’ apps on our smartphones. We create our systems to filter out the noise and include just the valuable conversations.

This is exactly why TIBCO Loyalty Lab is on a non-stop journey to make customer loyalty interactions more flexible, seamless, and intelligent.

Customer Loyalty - Getting Even Stronger

Loyalty Lab Reward release 13.2 further enables real time marketing, sense-and-respond marketing, and adds mobile loyalty channels and clientelling to make it even easier for customers to sign up and have great customer loyalty-based engagement. It has never been more about the customer than it is today, and we can expect that trend to continue as technology puts the buyer in the driver’s seat.

Real-Time Marketing Event Processing

While many talk about real time marketing, there are few in the marketplace that have the ability to manage transactions alongside streaming data in-memory, rather than in databases that can’t scale at the speed of customer change. This speed enables the following to happen at the fastest speeds available:

  • Qualification and awarding of offers
  • Earning and redemption of points
  • Evaluation of customer-targeting profiles

Mobile Loyalty Channels

The addition of the Loyalty Lab Mobile Microsite gives program members access to their information where and when they choose, increasing customer activity, opportunities for engagement, and the perception of your program and brand.

Clientelling Expertise

This browser-based experience allows customer service representatives to add a very personal touch to their in-store interactions with customers. It gives the ability to quickly and easily enroll new members, look up existing ones, check point balances, and update basic account information across an array of devices.

Closing the loop between the in-store experience and customer loyalty initiatives is the difference between good and excellent customer loyalty management. Loyalty Lab Reward 13.2 is designed for a marketplace undergoing significant change and increases capabilities that every brand needs to have.  Learn more about Loyalty Lab Reward and check out the press release.

It’s All Relevant in Event-Driven Marketing

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Marketers have a challenge on their hands: the public that they need to reach and convince to buy is increasingly using PCs and laptops, mobile devices, and social platforms to decide when and where to shop. That puts enormous pressure on brands to understand the changing nature of exactly why, where, and how customers make buying decisions.

Event-driven marketing customer segments

And it isn’t just the changing nature of customer loyalty. With the arrival of smartphones and Big Data technologies, the amount of data available is increasing. As the data grows, it is becoming more diverse in source and structure, and accumulating faster than ever before.

Data Carries Events

Smart brands realize data isn’t just discreet bits of information. Data carries a series of occurrences (and non-occurrences) that technologists call “events.” These events are more than transactions and include anything that has meaning to the brand.  Events can be historical or immediate, one-at-a-time, or in correlated occurrences (as this event-driven marketing whitepaper and webinar explain).

Analyzing events in aggregate reveals patterns that are equally meaningful and were previously invisible to the naked eye.

Events are Relevance

It has never been more promising or challenging at the same time to pay attention to events. There is relevance “gold” in events, including the ability to understand very specific factors relating to event-driven marketing:

  • The customer’s immediate context – Is it daytime or nighttime? Where are they? Is there an open retail store nearby? How is the weather?
  • The brand’s immediate context – What inventory do I need to move? Where are my hottest items located? What is my competitor offering?
  • The customer’s historical contextWhat level of fan is the customer? What do they typically buy? When do they buy?
  • The brand’s historical context – What are my sales patterns for this type of customer? What do I normally sell in this weather or time of the year?

Relevance is Everything

Understanding the customer comes down to the ability to follow the precursors to a buying decision and understand the sequence of events as they happen. Event-driven marketing is the ability to know each discreet thing that leads up to a purchase and to be able to anticipate when and how to react as those events play out.  The ability to anticipate and react at just the right time is the true meaning of marketing relevance. (Learn more on right-time marketing in this webinar coming up on 7/18.)

These are exciting times to be a brand in a fast-evolving customer and technology landscape. Are you ready to be relevant?

So Many Acronyms…

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Everyone wants to categorize and define the increasingly fast evolution of how businesses sell and their customers buy. Getting ahead of the trend is everyone’s goal, but we know intuitively that some will prosper and others will be in their shadow. The prosperous will turn their customers into fans.

Customer loyalty management defined many ways

So many acronyms

A recent post talked about the expanding use cases for marketing and customer loyalty management amid all of this change. It also covered the blurring of the line between the two disciplines and the problems this creates in the enterprise divided up by department and function. Companies are struggling to adjust to a new model.

This new customer loyalty management model has been given many names depending on where published and what’s being sold. Some call it customer engagement management (CEM), others call it real-time interaction management (RTIM), digital experience management (DEM), or our favorite, customer loyalty management (CLM). Whatever it’s called, it boils down to turning customers into fans.

Turning customers into fans

Turning customers into fans is a powerful phrase around which we can align. It gets to the heart of what makes great companies stand taller than the companies that simply create customers and call it a win. Fandom is a momentum that moves an enterprise forward through multiple products and even through customer service or technical challenges. Great fans come to the stadium win or lose because they want to believe in their team. Fans actively cheer on their favorite.

Success has a formula

Turning customers into fans is much more than a phrase, though. There are specific capabilities that need to be part of the mix if turning customers into fans is your goal.

  • Social media – Social media has a critical role in capturing, engaging, augmenting and monetizing great customer experience.
  • Loyalty – There is no better way to deepen the relationship and turn a customer into fan than a well-executed customer loyalty program.
  • Exclusive Content – Fans expect something special and to have access to especially relevant content that makes being a fan different than being just a customer.
  • Gamification – Being a fan needs to be engaging and fun. Micro-incentives offered as part of continuous interaction shape the experience and reward the behaviors that benefit both fan and “team.”

Each of these four components is a necessary part of creating customer loyalty management for your brand. Having a system in place to deliver the components successfully requires analytics that constantly measure the success of social connection, loyalty, exclusive content and gamification. Analytics are critical to know what’s working and develop the course corrections that have to happen to continually improve upon a customer loyalty management system that creates and keeps fans.

Turning customers into fans is in reach for those willing to make the investment necessary to get started right away. Our modern times are unforgiving of those who don’t take advantage of the opportunity.

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Marketing Learns to Live In the Moment

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

There are still marketers today who think of their mission as traditional advertising, direct mail, loyalty programs and the like. Defining marketing solely in those terms made sense just a few years back, but makes increasingly less sense today. Unified marketing platforms like the newly released Loyalty Lab® Reward 13.1 bring together real-time marketing data context that has been available for other industries, but is now sweeping through retail loyalty.

Real time marketing creating water ripple

The single biggest change is the move from static, predefined marketing to real-time marketing interaction with the end consumer. This involves engaging, often at the time and place of the consumer’s choosing, with real-time marketing offers of information, suggestions and enticements to act. This isn’t without a few paradigm shifts, the biggest being the shift to in-the-moment awareness.

In the moment

Engaging at the time and place of the consumer’s choosing involves being ‘in the moment’ at the point of sale, the Web, mobile (in or near the store) and social (engaged with the brand) using real-time marketing information that is down-to-the-second. This type of interaction is more analogous to how people actually think and drives much better and faster response than the static model. Executing it requires the right technology to make it work at speed.

Before you think this is over the horizon, Gartner’s 2012 report, Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods, “By 2015, context-aware promotions will comprise 10% of promotional activity among consumer goods manufacturers in developed markets.”  This is sure to quickly increase as the early adopters are followed by the mainstream.

Ahead of the pack

Will your business survive as a latecomer to this real-time marketing shift? This is about being able to understand a consumer’s full shopping experience and habits at any moment so that engagement is relevant. As shoppers become more accustomed to this level of interaction, anything less will seem more and more old-school.

Therein lies the problem for those who don’t adapt: Consumers who see relevance will quickly learn to pay attention to nothing less.

To learn more, read the press release on Loyalty Lab® Reward 13.1 here.

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What is The Stream Economy?

by Chris Taylor

The ability to catch the consumer’s eye has become far more than flashy neon and holiday sales. As consumption becomes more digital and discerning, targeted offers to calculated demographics become so 2012. Getting and holding the consumer’s attention is now about engaging at the time and method of the consumer’s choice.

Likewise, creating brand loyalists involves moving from those first engagements to fan-level excitement. It sounds great but takes a very deft touch and very smart systems to engage in what Gary Vanyerchuck calls, “The Stream Economy.” In his own words, “The speed of the world is much faster and the skill-set and the understanding around the content are the biggest stakes in the marketplace.”

The best brands integrate content into a platform that is tuned to Vanyerchuck’s stream economy. Those brands wouldn’t be caught dead showing up with an offer when they’ve made no attempt to know and delight the recipient in advance. Self-serving ways are transparent and increasingly ineffective.

The secret to the stream economy is “seeing” context, meaning the sum of all things that describe the moments for engagement between buyer and seller. Context is a combination of the environment, like weather, and events, like arrival at a particular location. Traditional databases and queries can’t keep up with the stream economy. It’s far too real time.

Those who integrate with the stream economy are successful now and into the future.

To learn more, read our press release on Loyalty Lab 13.1. For more by Chris Taylor, follow him on Twitter @findchristaylor.

Originally posted at the TIBCO Blog.

Climbing Into the Shopping Cart

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Retail loyalty benefits are often thought of as offers that kick in before the shopping trip and discounts which are taken at the register. Rarely are retail loyalty benefits thought of as being delivered in the midst of the shopping experience.

These days, there’s no reason why it has to be that way. Consumers are gradually being asked to scan bar codes at a self-serve checkout or to check prices, and retailers are learning how to monitor self-scanning.

This matters because before you get to the store, and by the time you’ve arrived at checkout, the timing isn’t ideal to provide customers with retail loyalty offers and advertising. The moment to communicate, build trust, and make an offer is optimal when the decision is actually being made.

In the shopping cart

Studies show that 50-70% of purchasing decisions are made at the shelf, not before, meaning that there is ample time and motive for merchants to climb into the shopping cart. When you add technology to determine in-store location, being along for the ride with the customer is the best place to be.

The implications are enormous. As customers grow comfortable with linking their retail loyalty reward accounts to other accounts and information, it becomes easy for a retailer to say, “Your son’s birthday is next week. Do you have the cake?” as they pass the bakery. Similarly, customers can be enticed to try new products based on their social connections’ likes.

Customers respond to convenience, and there’s nothing more convenient than being able to get the best retail loyalty offers from manufacturers and retailers at the time the purchase decision is being made. As we grow used to climbing into the shopping cart, we’ll wonder how we ever did it any other way.

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TIBCO Loyalty Lab 12.3 release enhances real-time marketing offers and increases value and convenience for shoppers

We’re proud to announce an exciting update to our unified loyalty platform that allows enhanced real-time marketing offer targeting and qualification capabilities. In response to the feedback we’ve received for more precise and relevant targeting that helps real-time marketers learn more about each customer while providing those customers a more relevant and convenient shopping experience, Loyalty Lab released 12.3, available to all existing and future clients.

Capabilities include:

  • Real-time API enhancements
  • Basket profiles and targeting
  • Brand targeting and qualification

We’ve worked to make implementation as simple as possible. Read on to learn more about each of these real-time marketing improvements.

Real-Time API Enhancements

Real-time marketers can now ensure real-time processing of threshold point calculations and reward issuance, so customers can access benefits as soon as they are accrued. Transactions are sent in real-time from a store’s POS system to TIBCO Loyalty Lab Reward and evaluated. The POS system instantly receives a response with any points, rewards or certificates earned as a result of the transaction. The customer then receives a receipt with their current points balance and rewards earned, and can access their benefits right away ­­– online, in-store or via their mobile phones.

Basket Profiles and Targeting

This latest real-time marketing update also gives marketers greater control over which customer transactions qualify for a reward through pre-defined conditions.

Marketers can set up shopping basket profiles with conditions based on specific tender types used or minimum quantity of items purchased. For example, an offer can be created within the Loyalty Lab Reward platform which establishes that all members making three purchases of a specific brand with an AMEX card will be issued a $20 rebate.

This gives marketers more control over conditions based on the contents of customers’ baskets. Targeting can also require or exclude specific products or brands, in addition to product categories.

Brand Targeting & Qualification

Now, marketers can also more effectively target customers and qualify offers based on brand purchases, right down to individual products. We designed this enhancement to offer more granular targeting and extra control. Real-time marketers can leverage this capability for cross-category selling, which is extremely useful for new product introductions.

For example, an established beauty brand has launched a new lipstick. They can create an offer that awards a coupon for 5% off the purchase of this lipstick, with the qualifier that customers must purchase any item in that brand family.

With these real-time marketing enhancements to the Loyalty Lab Reward platform, the possibilities are endless for marketers looking to extend relevant offers to their customers. Contact us to learn more.

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Virgin America: A Loyalty Program That Elevates Above the Rest

At Loyalty Lab, we’ve been lucky to work with some of the most interesting and innovative clients around. We’d like to showcase what makes them, and their loyalty programs, unique. Kicking things off is Virgin America and their Elevate loyalty program.

Creating a loyalty program for a brand like Virgin America is why we love what we do. Talk about a cool airline: since they launched, Virgin America’s young, fun attitude towards flying was pure Richard Branson, and seriously stylish. Purple lights in and lounge music in the cabin? An in-flight interface that allows you to chat the good looking woman in seat 12A? Flying Virgin America reminded us of a time when flying was a glamorous activity worth looking forward to, rather than a frenzied hassle of shoe removal, lack of legroom, and running to make connections.

What’s more, the team at Virgin America made it clear from the beginning that they wanted their Elevate loyalty program to stand out from the rest. Which means that the Loyalty Lab crew got to roll up our sleeves and really think about what other airline programs our lacking. What were our priorities when booking air travel? What would make us want to come back, again and again?

The three major initiatives we came up with, and implemented using TIBCO software, have proven to be hits, considering Virgin America’s loyalty program is the fastest growing one in the industry. And the solutions seem so second nature, it’s no wonder.

First: there are no blackout dates or restrictions. You want to use your Elevate points to book a flight over Thanksgiving weekend? Go for it! Blackout dates over high-traffic travel times may make sense for an airline focused on profit and profit alone, but not for an airline looking to build their customers’ loyalty. Plus, every seat is fair game for points redemption, not just those middle seats in the back row. What good is it to be in with the in-crowd if you’ve got the worst seat in the house?

Second: point values are transparent and dynamic. Your Elevate balance will flourish whether you fly to LA or to Cabo; you earn points when you use your Virgin America credit card, book a hotel room or rental car, or shop with one of our partners. You know exactly how many points you have, and how many you earn. And if the dollar fare goes up, so do the number of points you earn.

Third: redemption is a painless process. Hate sitting on hold, trying to get an airline representative to explain why your points aren’t working? So do we! Never again  with Elevate. When booking travel, you can view the cost of each flight in dollars or points. The more a flight costs, the more points are needed — there’s no hidden restrictions here.

Using these three points as our foundation, we’ve loved seeing customers respond positively, and have also taken the opportunity to listen to their feedback. Elevate members expressed a desire for ‘tiers’ in the loyalty program: if you’re earning 50,000 points per year, you certainly should be rewarded.

Starting August 8, Virgin America is introducing Silver and Gold levels to the Elevate program, and will include perks such as upgrades, priority booking and boarding, and complimentary checked bags. Virgin is also stepping up their mobile game: Elevate Elites will be able to benefit from making use of social media. By checking in to gates and terminals on Instagram, Twitter, or Foursquare, they’ll earn double points. Really, the tiers are Virgin America’s way of showing love to their loyal customers — which is exactly what we like to see.

Virgin America has generally proved to be ahead of the game when it comes to today’s airlines, and the success of their loyalty program speaks to this. They seem to have a better insight into what customers need: choose-your-own-adventure entertainment choices, fresh and healthy meal options, wireless access in-flight, and a clean and usable mobile interface. This kind of creativity is exactly what loyalty programs need, according to a recent report done by the Aberdeen Group.

The Virgin America experience has always aimed to make everyone who flies feel like a VIP. But we love just how much their Elevate program emphasizes this: entry to exclusive events, great deals on flights, and the freedom to use your points as you choose. If the customer is meant to be king (or queen), Elevate actually delivers on this promise by making its loyal fliers feel like royalty.

Read more about our work with Virgin America and the success of Elevate in our Customer Success Story, here. And keep up on all of the great things Virgin America is doing by following @virginamerica@richardbranson and @loyaltylab.

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