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Move over Marcoms, here come Loycoms

Retailers with a transactional view of their loyalty programmes often risk overlooking the opportunities for one-to-one engagement. This can be fixed, by revisiting the art of personalisation. Here at Epsilon, we recognise that loyalty communications have the power to build real conversations with real people. 

Why is this important right now? 

As third-party cookies continue to be phased out, behavioural and browsing data will be limited, making it harder for advertisers who depend on third-party cookies to personalise ads. Retail marketers will need to find new ways to identify shoppers online so they can continue to personalise messages, optimise campaigns and measure performance. 

Deeper dive

Epsilon’s Senior Vice President for Media, Elliott Clayton, explained in a recent Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast: “Loyalty programmes are very, very able to solve that problem. With the new generation of loyalty programmes, one-to-one messaging becomes possible across the whole spectrum of digital, driving deeper lifetime value. You can use your first party data to communicate in really sophisticated ways, for prospects, for acquisitions, as well as for retention. You can start conversations that will convert.” 

Elliott’s recommendation is to operate a model that looks like loyalty but has “additional reaches” via the vast array of digital channels available, and the ability to add an automated layer that pushes out messaging to people you know will be interested. “You could drive your personalised messaging through social media, you could drive it through video, you could drive it through connected TV,” he suggests.  

“Marcoms, which was a big push to segments in digital, is moving much more towards what I would consider ‘loycoms’. I view this as personalised one-to-one communication based on consent. It’s a concept the retail loyalty sector started decades ago.”

– Elliott Clayton, Senior Vice President for Media for Epsilon 

It’s time for personalisation to shine

Way back in 2006, Clive Humby coined the phrase ‘Data is the new oil’, and marketers everywhere spoke of personalisation as being the Holy Grail of marketing.  

Elliott jokes in the podcast that progress since then has been glacially slow, but he feels brands are now discovering an exciting way forward, spurred on by changes in the digital ad market. The deprecation transition is forcing many marketers to re-examine their first-party data strategies, discovering they already own much of the data they need to gain the end-to-end view of the customer journey.  

First-party data combined with brilliant loycoms will get amazing results

For example, US drugstore giant Walgreens used first-party data to power a revamp of its loyalty programme with a focus on health and wellbeing. Thanks to one-to-one communications and compelling real-time offers, take-up and participation has been impressive. Adding an obliging, personal touch, such as reminding customers to stop in for a flu shot as they pass their neighbourhood branch, has proved highly effective. 

Loycoms can drive true brand engagement 

  • Loyalty programmes usually involve the customer’s permission to communicate. This provides a unique opportunity to reinforce key messages, or to interact with customers along with a feedback mechanism.  
  • Customers often have a higher level of receptivity when reviewing a points statement or considering a redemption. 
  • Consider also the opportunity to communicate when online orders are delivered or click-and-collect services used.  
  • Creativity is the key: Personalised video can be used in apps and email, for example.   

The bottom line

Retailers are mastering how to be relevant in their personalised communication with loyalty members. They are becoming media players in their own right, building valuable first-party data, and this spells an exciting new chapter in retail marketing.   

You can find out more about digital loyalty communications by: