Understanding the benefits of ‘the art’ component in the art and science of loyalty

When you think of ‘the what’ behind a successful loyalty program, technology often comes to mind.

Technology is ‘the science’ that stores and processes all the technical functionality within our programs. But what about the items that ‘fuel’ the functionality such as your loyalty strategy and services, data and the creative components—what we like to refer to as the art of loyalty. Blending this art and science together yields loyalty program success.

Let’s take a closer look at the four key components of ‘the art’.

  • Strategy: Your loyalty program initiatives begins with your strategy, and your strategy is created by human intelligence (your people), not machines (technology). With the proliferation of new technologies, often brands can get caught up on integrating the ‘new’ or ‘cool and hyped’ technologies into their marketing programs before truly understanding the impact they’ll have. Keep your strategy front and center and understand both the value and role humans have in personalizing the loyalty experience and connecting emotionally, on a 1:You level—across the right touchpoints, on the right devices and at the right moments. As you’re developing and continuing to enhance your strategy and staying focused on the customer experience, determine how you can achieve personalization at the brand and program level. To start, it’s important to understand your brand level loyalty, or what we define as Big L Loyalty. Big L Loyalty is 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.
  • Services: There are multiple areas of services that contribute to the success of your loyalty program. For example, some of the services we provide to brands includes program operations management, client and account management and change management. In terms of the program management, we work with brands on loyalty program design and redesign. Client and account management services includes the day-to-day management of your loyalty program. Change management focuses on organizational design, business process optimization and digital marketing transformation. These multi-disciplinary services work together to add value to your loyalty program. In fact, several of our clients perceive these services and the team members that perform the work as an extension of their marketing team. Some of our team members actually work onsite, full-time at our client’s location. This enables our associates to be fully immersed in our client’s organization ranging from the brand initiatives to the program level details. 
  • Data: At Epsilon, we understand customers as real people. Our compiled consumer data source provides coverage of virtually every U.S. household and supplies thousands of data points spanning demographics, lifestyle information, spend behavior and more. This proprietary self-reported consumer data and transactional information are core inputs that enable analytics and measurement. It’s the analytics component that reveals customer’s likes, dislikes and their behaviors helping marketers to make emotional connections and engage with their customers. These analytic and measurement services consist of financial modeling, customer insights, analytic sciences, measurement framework, business intelligence and reporting design, customer research and VOC and media and interaction optimization.    
  • Creative: Creating a memorable, one-of-a-kind customer experience is something we all strive for as marketers. Understanding the role creative plays in helping to make this experience memorable is important. Creativity is the art of marketing. It helps to unveil our emotions, making connections to brands. We’ve all seen an advertisement which we’ve emotionally reacted to. For me, I connect with the advertisements promoting the Indy 500. During the Super Bowl earlier this year, the advertisements began for the Indy 500 that actually took place last weekend. From watching this ad, I was ‘re-living’ the experience of being live at the event. My adrenaline started to flow as I saw and heard the ‘engines roar’. The emotional connection is made, and the next thing you know, I’m purchasing tickets for the event. As a marketer, you need to think of the creative ways as to how you can drive these emotional connections and understand the role (the benefits) of creative services. It’s the digital and creative services such as a creative assessment, brand strategy and visual design, content and campaign development, website, app and interactive design that drive creative execution.

So as you’re continuing to enhance the art of your loyalty program, keep your technology capabilities front and center and make sure it’s not at risk for becoming part of the ‘Frankentech’ era.

We define ‘Frankentech’ as a compilation of miscellaneous (or ad-hoc) technology products and applications that are integrated together from a variety of technology providers.

In my next article I’ll take a deeper dive into ‘Frankentech’ and how marketers are transitioning from ‘Franketech’ to ‘MarTech’.

**This post originally appeared on L360.