By Mark Goldstein
Loyalty programs are changing faster than ever. Here are my top 10 cool things you need to think about in 2013 when putting together a loyalty program:
10. Big is Good…Bigger is Better
If you are going to launch a loyalty program, go for the gusto or don’t go at all. Firms putting in less than 1% of their marketing budget and who don’t have 100% C-level buy-in will not succeed.
Winning example: McDonald’s Play At McD
9. You Aren’t Alone
There are now 8000+ national loyalty programs. Most of your customers are members of at least 50; it used to be maybe five. Now you join a loyalty program or two every time you go to a local farmer’s market and pay with Square.
Example: Jay’s Cheesesteaks
8. Awesomeness Is Expected
The storytelling, loyalty rules (tiers, thresholds, award types), and functionality of loyalty programs are increasingly available out of the box. Services like PunchTab.com allow any merchant to look and perform like a mature million dollar program.
7. APIs and Easy Connections
There are no loyalty islands. Not deeply integrating and connecting through Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Janrain, Shopkick and, perhaps most importantly, Apple Passbook, is loyalty suicide! It’s not just about you and your program, it’s about what you are connected to.
6. Find Your Signature Insight
What do you bring to the market that’s truly different? Focus on your unique attributes and build from there. Are your members bald, Yankee Fans, or super cheap? Make your program standout for them first and foremost.
5. Game Mechanics
Game mechanics are today’s rocket fuel of loyalty programs. You want LTVs and more revs? Think gamification. It used to be social, but social is now an assumed ingredient.
4. Payments Are the New PLCC (Private Label Credit Card)
The days of the PLCC are over — today is all about ACH. Don’t be seduced to tying your program to a PLCC, unless your target customer is in their late 50s.
3. POS is Dead: Long Live the New ‘Invisible Payments’
Hello, cloud-based computing. Previously, 90% of your time designing a loyalty program was around the closed POS in-store. Now, you put 90% into designing, building, and iterating your loyalty program that runs across all your consumer touch points.
2. Be Ready to Move Fast
In a day where celebrities can acquire a million Twitter followers in a day, you need to be ready to reward and monetize out of the gate. Now, the lifespan of a loyalty program member is maybe 20% of what it was 5 years ago. You have less time to fully execute and need to be ready to crank it 24×7 out the gate.
1. Traffic Is Everywhere
Find the consumer Internet play that most closely aligns to your business. The band Green Day found make-your-own music powerhouse SoundCloud. SoundCloud’s million of registered uniques powered Green Days’ Numero ¡Uno! Fan program to incredible heights.
00. Real-time is the real deal.
There is an event-based transformation going on in loyalty. Members expect to be rewarded in real-time, anytime anywhere. It’s called sense and respond, not campaign marketing, and it means you need to reward and provide real-time surprise, real-time magic. Vivek Ranadive’s book The Power of Now details how companies are changing it up and providing incentives to engage all the time. Read it!
Executing in loyalty today means you need to conduct an orchestra, but it doesn’t mean you need to buy a concert hall, pay 75 full-time musicians and instruments and negotiate with a union. It’s more like electronic music where you need to be Deadmaus5, have your headphones on and an iMac in hand. Yes, you need to get CRM, coupons, samples, third party site integration, gamification, email, POS and mobile all working really well together, but the Internet makes it both harder and easier to execute. You simply need to collaborate with all the amazing tools, sites and connected possibilities you can, and be ready on day one to wholly execute on an incredible scale. It’s a great day to be alive in loyaltyland—and it’s a whole new world.
Mark Goldstein founded and was CEO of Loyalty Lab, now a part of TIBCO Software, the technology provider behind many of the nation’s biggest loyalty programs. He has had his hand in launching over 100 national loyalty programs. Mark got involved in the loyalty world in 1999 when he Co-Founded and was CEO of Bluelight.com, a business formed by Kmart and investors to find multi-channel customers nationwide. Follow him on Twitter: @markgee.
Download the full version of Mark’s Top 10 Coolest Things Going on in Loyalty.
You Might Like:
- Whitepaper: Success with Social Loyalty
- Slideshare Presentation: Top Ten Predictions for Building Loyalty with Tomorrow’s Consumer