BrainTrust Query: Changing Times in Loyalty
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Loyalty 360 blog.
As great as Loyalty Expo was this year, too much of the dialogue continued to focus on points, rewards, discounts and deals. There were relatively few exceptions to this theme, leading one conference newcomer (from one of the world’s top, customer-centric brands) to wonder, "Why does everyone here seem to equate loyalty with points and programs?"
Meanwhile, Amazon — without a standard points program — continues to maintain its position at the top of every list highlighting brands that engender loyalty and trust.
Amazon wins because they know how to use customer data and speak with — rather than to — customers individually. They use data for personalization, targeting and, especially, for relevance. They recognize customers — who they are, what they buy, when and how often. They know who is socially active and who posts reviews. Most importantly, Amazon uses this information to make it easier to purchase from them. As Lisa Utzschneider of Amazon said at the ad:tech keynote last week, "Our customers trust and they expect that Amazon will deliver relevant content to them."
The takeaways from Amazon and Loyalty Expo are clear. First, loyalty marketing must become much more than points and rewards. Relevance and soft benefits will continually trump hard benefits and discounts for relationship building. This means brands must create content, benefits and customer experiences that are unique to their brand promise, rather than a cookie-cutter points offering that runs on autopilot or through mass-email delivery.
Second, brands have no choice but to make using their customer data a priority or risk disengaging customers who have agreed to be part of the brand dialogue. This means brands must use data to create insights, implement personalization and create customization to become increasingly relevant throughout customer lifecycles and across each touch point.
So while times are good and potential is high for loyalty and relationship marketing, to quote Bob Dylan, "The times they are a-changin.’"
- Changing Times – Loyalty 360
- Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Leaders 2011- Brand Keys
- 10 of the most trusted brands in America – Orange County Register
- Amazon exec: Personalization, innovation and scale critical to company’s mobile, digital strategy – Mobile Marketer
Discussion Questions: What lessons does Amazon offer around customer loyalty? To what degree do other retailers have a similar capacity to capitalize on customer data to drive loyalty?