Why Haven’t You Defined Customer Loyalty Success?

We’re way beyond the point where the world debates whether customer loyalty works.  When we think about customer loyalty’s broad goals, whether the focus is on retention or brand affinity, investments in customer loyalty have shown repeatedly to provide a very strong return. So everyone is measuring that success, right? No.

What Are Your Goals?

The idea that customer loyalty works may seem obvious to some, but many sophisticated programs in place today lack clarity and fail to answer the simple question, “When we look back a year from now, what will have happened to say we achieved success?”

Without a clear definition of customer loyalty success, there is real risk that great, successful programs will be undervalued and underfunded, and—even worse—that programs with poor success rates will continue, wasting valuable and often scarce resources. Success needs to be defined through clear planning and objective measures, meaning the only guarantee of success is through clarity of both purpose and intended outcome.

Have You Defined Success?

Having a good definition of success—whether the goal is retention, shopping frequency, preventing high-value customer erosion, basket size increase, or another target—is foundational to every other factor. Know your problem clearly and choose a definition of success that directly addresses the issues or goals you’ve chosen.

Hear more on defining success for customer loyalty from Michael Greenberg in the webinar, Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.   

The World Cup Reminds Us That Marketers Are Architects of Passion

Watching the World Cup 2014 in Brazil is an excellent reminder of the power of passion and the role of marketing. World Cup passion is found on the football pitch, in amazing quantity in the stands and streets of Rio, and in pubs and offices around the world. It would be safe to say that the tournament has become synonymous with passion, excitement, and shared experience.

The Roots of Passion

In the World Cup, passion comes from players and fans putting all of their energy into something bigger than themselves. For a short period, footballer players aren’t free agents taking in millions—instead, they are playing for their countries. None of the passion of the World Cup is accidental, and there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into whipping it up and serving it. This is no different than what happens between a strong brand and its most passionate customers. Today’s marketer needs to be an architect of passion.

Passion Defines

For consumers, passion drives nearly everything they do—what to eat, what to wear, and how and where to spend their time. Connecting with that passion involves making the brand a part of how consumers define themselves and live their lives. Tapping into it requires a different flavor for different products and services, but here are common ways to foster and benefit from consumer passion:

  • Create a strong, omni-channel loyalty program that ‘returns the favor’ for your customers’ business.
  • Give your customers an outlet for expressing their passion that includes social media.
  • Capture the context of your customer’s buying moments, and serve the most relevant interaction possible.
  • Find ways to surprise and delight your best customers and draw them even closer to your brand.
Fire up your customers by stoking their passion, and turn them into fans! For more ideas on how, download our whitepaper, Marketing Transformed: Big Data Sciences and the Revolution of Customer Engagement and Loyalty.

Using Nudges, Influence, and Rewards For Marketing Success

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Success in customer loyalty marketing doesn’t arrive from just a single contact with a customer or even from a single approach to interaction. Customers are growing more savvy every day; their expectations are shifting. Marketers need to know and take advantage of the many different factors that will draw in and delight, and—most importantly—the factors that will increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Nudges, Influences, and Rewards

Customer loyalty marketing is all about working to make a brand top of mind, the first place customers thinks of for spending their money. Success comes from using a series of well-timed and relevant nudges, finding places and channels of influence and creating rewards that drive customer spending behaviors.

There are key things to know before you can expect to find success,  including:

  • Critical pieces of program setup
  • Investing in the right places
  • Generating customer insights
  • Building your context platform
  • Increasing meaningful frequency
  • Effecting racking and monitoring

Join me for a webinar with TIBCO Loyalty Lab’s Michael Greenberg as he takes us through the critical factors best correlated with success in customer loyalty marketing. Greenberg is an expert at laying out the latest successful approaches to customer loyalty marketing and has extensive experience with top international retail brands. I hope to see you there. Register here.

Get Creative With Customer Engagement and Loyalty!

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Just yesterday I was in one of my favorite stores, a nationally known co-op. The benefits of membership at this retailer are very straightforward—the more I spend, the more I can expect to receive back at the end of the year. I happened to get a manager as a cashier, and she suggested the store credit card and reminded me of the cash-back benefit of being a member. She was enthusiastic, so I thought I would try out a few suggestions on her. It went something like this:

Me: “Thanks, I’m already a member, but I have a couple of questions: Why don’t you have achievement levels and published milestones for members?”

Manager: “We want all of our shoppers to earn benefits on the first day.”

“Can’t they do that and still be rewarded at increasing levels for bringing more of their business to this brand?

“Yes, but wouldn’t that have to be paid for somehow, meaning the lower-status customers would suffer?”

“What if you could change the math? Wouldn’t rewarding higher purchase levels incent customers to bring more of their shopping to you, increase your average basket size, and also repay your cost of customer acquisition sooner with larger average business per customer?”

“I guess that could.”

“So let’s just play that out. What if status levels could give you another layer of segmentation of your market and an ability to test personalized messages? Wouldn’t that allow you to better engage your highest-spending customers, making them feel rewarded for their high level of loyalty?

“Yes. I can see where you’re going. What’s your name?”

This was one of many conversations I have had when I shop in the stores that aren’t getting creative with customer engagement and loyalty. I’m there for convenience and because I like their offerings, but they’re missing the big picture with me (and losing a chunk of business to other retailers). There is a world of opportunity for brands to not only know their loyal shoppers well, but to use creative ways to tease out the many natural segments within their customer base.

Those segments provide a remarkable platform to test and learn the best ways to build a 21st-century business. Besides, chances are your competition is headed that way.

Creative engagement requires advanced analytics. Learn what you need to know in this webinar co-presented by TIBCO Loyalty Lab and TIBCO Spotfire.

Demandware and Loyalty Lab: Seamless E-Commerce and Customer Loyalty

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Context is quickly becoming the definitive item that makes the deeper relationships of e-commerce and customer loyalty so attractive to brands. That attractiveness is justified by the amount of contextual information that can be gleaned from customer relationships when the personalized data of loyalty programs meets the in-the-moment experience of e-commerce. The TIBCO Loyalty Lab integration for the Demandware Commerce platform makes it easy for brands to develop and launch a powerful customer engagement program, and gain that rich context faster with fewer IT resources than ever before.

E-Commerce and Loyalty 

Loyalty is a great match for e-commerce. The marketplace has higher expectations each and every day as more customers access more information across more channels, around the clock. Each commerce touchpoint is an opportunity to strengthen the customer engagement experience in ways that create better segmentation and more precise targeting while also offering a better customer experience.

This has to be a seamless experience for the customer across all channels. Customer loyalty programs are the perfect way to create right-time engagement while making your customers an enthusiastic part of the equation. As a bonus, customers who feel loyal to your brand are true fans and willing to be your brand advocates.

TIBCO Loyalty Lab is now a certified Demandware LINK partner. As a result, customer engagement attained through loyalty can be a part of a richly combined and seamless loyalty, browsing, and shopping experience. The loyalty information, vital to engagement and personalization, is used to present offers in the Demandware Commerce platform. Purchase data, key to segmentation and targeting, is sent to Loyalty Lab. We’ve empowered marketers to connect nearly any customer-facing touchpoint with the best possible way to motivate profitable customer behavior.

Download the datasheet to learn more.

The Stats on Customer Retention Are Shocking

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The cost of acquiring a new customer is often estimated at five times the cost of retaining the customer you already have. And it isn’t just cost—customer loyalty has a big impact on a brand’s success. A study by Bain and Co. makes the claim that just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. The reason is simple: Due to the high cost of acquisition, a new customer is often unprofitable during the early years, and losing them during that stage is a net loss for the brand.

While the numbers are shockingly large, the real shock comes when you consider how much budget many marketers are willing to spend on acquisition and how out of date many customer loyalty programs are.

Gartner’s 80/20 Rule

What’s more, Gartner states that 80% of your future business will come from just 20% of your current customers. Capturing a customer’s loyalty very early in the relationship has a profound effect on revenue, profitability, and (for a marketer) job security.

While that’s a powerful message, that isn’t the end of the story. Repeat customers are far more likely to spend more (studies indicate 33% more) and have a much higher lifetime value for a brand. Keep in mind, too, that a retained customer is also likely to be an advocate and to help with acquiring other customers.

Ultimately, customer retention hits the three significant measurements of a business—cost, revenue, and profitability.

So Why the Disconnect?

It would appear that customer retention is essential, so why is it so often underserved? For one, programs that reward customer loyalty have been harder to measure than lead generation campaigns, and can be more complex to design, test, and execute. In the typical businesses driven by the urgent needs of the moment, a program that has payoff in months, while more important, can fall off the priority list.

With retention more profitable than acquisition, customer loyalty programs have more urgency than may be apparent at first glance. In fact, customer loyalty programs are critical to the future of the business.

Learn more from our webinar and whitepaper on Customer Loyalty Management.

Why Customer Loyalty and Why Right Now?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

During a recent trip to the grocery store, I commented at the checkout that I always receive coupons for baby food and diapers along with my receipt. I said sarcastically to the clerk, “You’d think I shop for those things and they know it.” The clerk nodded and completely seriously said, “I know, right? It’s like they’re watching everything. Doesn’t it seem creepy?” I had to laugh, but not until I was out of view. Like any period of rapid change, not everyone is fully briefed on the latest events in the digital revolution.

So Much Change

The clerk’s response isn’t all that surprising in the retail world, where so much is changing so quickly. As McKinsey said recently, we’re in the middle of a data analytics revolution. Everything we thought we knew has changed, and our ability to know the customer and tailor offers and other interactions is remarkably strong. Not everyone, the clerk included, realizes that customer loyalty is the opposite of creepy. In an era where so much can be known, predicted, and acted upon, loyalty programs are the only way to help the customer to feel comfortable with a brand’s knowledge of their habits and personal information.

Giving My Permission

A brand I feel loyal to, like my local grocery story, has my permission to track my spending patterns and to make offers on the products I’m most likely to buy or be willing to try. I look forward, in fact, to seeing what discounts and other deals they have in store for me. Think back to “coupon packs” and newspaper fliers of just a few years ago, where the majority of items were unlikely to catch our interest, and you’ll see just how far loyalty programs have come. Today’s programs have outgrown the simple points and plastic of yesterday’s brand loyalty and are executed as an integrated, marketer-friendly, data-enriched, real-time system.

A Loyalty-Driven Revolution

For retail, the digital analytics revolution that McKinsey talks about is loyalty-driven—it’s that simple. Brands that don’t invest in smart customer loyalty management risk breaking trust with their customers and losing business to the competitor who does.

To learn more, download our whitepaper on Customer Loyalty Management.

Location Tells You So Much More Than Where I Am Right Now

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Location is an incredibly hot segment of loyalty marketing for a couple of factors. For one, we’ve come a long way from using cell-based and GPS-based services. Today we have location-based services through products like Apple iBeacon, PayPal Beacon, and Estimote Beacon, which all allow users to benefit from receiving micro-location information associated with products and offers. These sensors, attached to physical locations, also allow brands to know where their customers travel within their stores, suddenly making physical location as precise as website tracking.

Loyalty Marketing Consistency

This has a remarkable effect—the store now supplies data in the same way as online interaction and makes loyalty marketing more effective across all channels. In-store information that is gathered is key to having contextual conversations in the moment, but also serves for analytics purposes in designing better ways to merchandise and interact in consistent ways—whether on a computer, a mobile device, or in person. For loyalty marketing, this is data nirvana: I can serve each and every customer, no matter where they are, based on their history and value to the brand.

Location-Based Simplification

Even more powerful, location-based services include the ability to confirm identity for purchases, meaning anything bought online can be picked up quickly and painlessly in a physical location. Order ahead and beat the lines, or act as your own cashier. Know if something is in stock in your size without having to ask and wait. Even serve as your own sales assistant as loyalty to a brand allows for past purchases, shopping cart abandonments, and other indications of interest to be analyzed and then superimposed on recommendations and offers for today’s purchases. This is shopping without the hassle and with remarkable context.

Each one of these behaviors is an incentive for consumers to share more information with a brand and to become more loyal in the process.

The Tricky Part

The tricky part is no longer the technology—we have that and it works. The challenge is to have the tools and techniques within the brand to make smart use of information at our fingertips and in the timeframes that matter for business. It takes a loyalty platform that manages any and all context, integrated with the data that drives powerful analytics.

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

Sochi Olympics Shows Us the Future of Marketing…and It’s Very Cool

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Coverage of the Olympic games in Sochi gives us beautiful insight into the future of marketing. This is the first time we’ve seen wholesale use of drones, sequential photography, and the use of virtual leader lines to show how competitors stack up in every race that has a finish line. We can see winning strategy in full detail and dissect where things went wrong within moments of their occurrence. We’re seeing video Big Data that describes what’s happening in real time that, in effect, segments performances.

Segmentation at an Even Higher Level

Segmentation in the past has been a matter of studying transactional behaviors. More advanced systems today are able to see patterns in non-transactional customer behavior and the most advanced are capturing and using what’s happening right now to create ever more accurate segmentation. Now, before most of the world has caught up with real-time customer context, along comes a new way to understand and interact—video data.

The physical patterns that shoppers create as they move through the buying experience are incredibly valuable. Seeing the Winter Olympics coverage, it is an easy leap to the world of brick-and-mortar retail where knowing who lingers, who moves quickly and purposefully, and who sits down to study products has meaning for the marketer. It tells a story of consumer behavior, how choices are made, and, most importantly, what influences buying decisions.

Making Patterns Personal

For those marketers clever enough to blend loyalty programs with video data, the shopping experience can be captured in a way that maps back to the patterns of their loyal customers. A world of real-time video data can be used to analyze and then influence buying decisions of the most loyal shoppers and greatest brand advocates. Imagine prompting brand advocates to test out a new product likely to fit their lifestyle, shopping profile, and personal preferences, but doing so when the product is within reach. Video data offers a very rich new source of personalization that allows each customer’s “technique” to be understood and seamlessly brought into the marketing equation.

There’s a disclaimer, however, for getting to this level of sophistication. Marketers that struggle to gather the right data to accurately segment today will struggle with this inevitable version of tomorrow. Those who have just plastic and points (read: transactional) loyalty programs will be several steps behind. For those keeping pace with the new technology of marketing, however, this is within reach and a reward for keeping up with change. Where are you on the path to taking advantage of the new wave marketing technology?

To learn more about how to stay current as a marketer, download the whitepaper or watch the webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

Photo credit: The Guardian

What Are Your Purple Lights?

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

If you’ve ever flown on Virgin America, you know from the moment you enter the aircraft that you’re in for a different kind of experience. For starters, they have purple lights along the top of the cabin that give off a very soothing, modern vibe. At TUCON 2013 in Las Vegas this past fall, TIBCO CEO Vivek Ranadivé talked about the Virgin America experience and how important it is for businesses to set themselves apart from their competitors. He called it, “Finding your purple lights.”

What Sets Virgin America Apart

What sets Virgin America apart, other than their cabin lighting, is the real-time approach they’ve taken to customer loyalty. Virgin America’s award point values are dynamic and transparent—each dollar spent on the airline or its affiliated hotels, rental cars, shopping, or credit card partners earns points according to the amount spent.

Virgin America’s redemption process is instant and seamless as well. Dollars-to-points pricing gives their loyal Elevate flyers the clear message that there are no hoops to jump through, no matter whether you pay cash or redeem points. Virgin America makes it easy and simple to be a loyal customer.

A Very Slick Technology Backend

With their slick technology backend to support these customer-facing benefits, Virgin America doesn’t have to use blackout days or other restrictions to manage cash flow the way other airlines do. Point prices are calculated based on day of the week, load, cabin class, and the customer’s history that includes lifetime value and recency. Virgin America can adjust the number of points needed to motivate customers to redeem points when that’s what makes sense for the airline.

Virgin America can only do this because they rely on a real-time infrastructure provided by TIBCO that is rare in the travel business. The airline is very aware that this capability is one more “purple lights” way to serve its customers.