Loyalty, it’s not just about the programme

Today’s marketer is focused on the entire customer experience

The days of loyalty being just a transactional programme where members earn and redeem rewards are long gone. Loyalty has shifted from a programme to a business mindset, and this mindset is focused on personalising the entire customer experience evolving from 1:1 to 1:You.

In the report, The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2019*, Forrester says: "As brands embrace and increase their investments in loyalty – 62% of the companies we surveyed for this evaluation plan to increase their spending on loyalty by at least 5% in the next 12 months – consumer apathy isn’t good enough.”

Brands looking to create meaningful customer experiences should focus on the following:

Shifting to Big L Loyalty

Creating a strategy in which you can deliver personalised experiences at scale is key. To achieve this goal, we work with clients to help them develop their Big L Loyalty.

We define Big L Loyalty as the passion, dedication, feelings, emotional connection and trust consumers establish with your brand that motivates them to continue their purchases and move through the customer lifecycle towards lifetime brand loyalty.

But Big L Loyalty is not a destination, it’s a methodical journey that we phase out in three stages to help brands achieve the Big L. These stages are:

  • Stage I: operational/transactional
  • Stage II: customer-centricity (little L loyalty)
  • Stage III: enculturation (Big L Loyalty – it’s in the culture).

To get started, marketers need to evaluate and understand the stage they’re in and put a plan in place for getting to the next stage (and realise the level of loyalty increases with each stage) to develop relevant and meaningful customer experiences.

As Forrester puts it, “Marketers need strategic guidance to make the most of their programmes and, more importantly, to contextualise the role of the programme in a larger strategy for earning, recognising, and maintaining customer loyalty regardless of whether that customer is a loyalty programme member.”

Activating data

Assembling and activating customer insights is critical to deepening relationships with customers. Through loyalty programmes, brands are able to provide value to consumers, where they share information and preferences in exchange for relevant, clear and wanted experiences. Loyalty marketers must have a plan in place to activate data and align it with the appropriate channels.

It’s the analytics component that reveals customer’s likes, dislikes and their behaviours helping marketers to make emotional connections and engage with their customers. These analytic and measurement services consist of financial modelling, customer insights, analytic sciences, measurement framework, business intelligence, reporting design, customer research and VOC and media and interaction optimisation.

Remember, your loyalty programme is consent-based marketing, meaning members choose to opt into your programme and agree to share information and in return expect more personalised experiences.

In the report, Forrester cites that our experience in the loyalty space and well-rounded offering make it a good fit for enterprises looking for a reliable and data-driven partner.

Understanding the benefits of software with services

When you think of ‘the what’ behind a successful loyalty programme, technology often comes to mind. Technology is the science that stores and processes all the technical functionality within our programmes. And having an end-to-end integrated solution (or the total solution) that includes multiple marketing functions is essential.

But in addition to the technology components, you need to consider the items that fuel the functionality, such as your loyalty services, which are part of the art of loyalty.

There are multiple types of services that contribute to the success of your loyalty programme, some of which include programme operations management, programme management, promotional support, client and account management and change management.

In terms of the programme management, we work with brands on loyalty programme design and client and account management services including the day-to-day management of your loyalty programme.

Change management focuses on organisational design, business process optimisation and digital marketing transformation. These multi-disciplinary services work together to add value to your loyalty programme. Certainly, strategy and insights are supported by analysts and decision scientists, who provide some of our most in-demand services.

As you continue to enhance your customer’s experience, ask yourself, “Am I communicating to my customers 1:1 or 1:You?”

1:1 is a messaging strategy that’s generically personalised with promotional offers, while 1:You is a holistic customer experience strategy that’s personalised with the best choice for individuals across all points or interactions.

The evolution of 1:1 to 1:You is about the advancements in the marketing strategy with the culmination of data, technology, services and outcomes all focused on creating a better customer experience.

See the full report, The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2019.

**Epsilon announced that it was named a Leader in the July 2019 report “The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2019” by Forrester Research, Inc. This recognition is in addition to being named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Technology Platforms, Q2 2019 for its Agility Loyalty®  solution. Only Epsilon is a leader in both evaluations.