Loyalty Today


Six Marketing Must-Dos to Drive Stronger Customer Relationships in 2016

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Customer behavior is changing—is your marketing strategy keeping up? At Aimia, we work with a diverse set of clients to help them answer that exact question. By applying loyalty principles, we are able to not only collect rich customer data to help brands better understand their end customers, but also take action based on that data using loyalty as the delivery vehicle. 

As we move into 2016, loyalty is positioned to deliver more value than ever. The days when customers were pleasantly surprised to receive personalized marketing messages are behind us. Instead, we are moving into an era where personalization is not a desire but an expectation, and brands face the risk of being left behind if they don’t live up to it.

Keeping this evolution of customer expectations in mind, we have developed a list of six marketing must-do’s for the New Year:


  1. Invest in collecting intelligent customer data

Loyalty programs allow for the collection of rich data

Customers are increasingly willing to share their personal information with trusted brands. In our own research, we have found that up to 70% of customers are willing to share personal information such as date of birth, occupation, hobbies and interests.. The time is right for brands to start collecting this data and using it to drive innovative touchpoints and offers.

Who’s doing this well today?

Ford is one of Aimia’s Nectar coalition partners in the United Kingdom. Ford uses the loyalty program to ask members detailed questions about themselves and their car service needs, and then sends out special offers ahead of the purchase cycle that drives cross-selling to high margin products and services. This approach has yielded an 11% growth in transactions for Ford.

Take action in 2016

Shift your focus beyond how much data you have, to how much quality data you have and what you do with it now that you have it.


  1. Deliver personalization to survive the unsubscribe revolution

Collecting data is useless unless it’s used to deliver meaningful customer interactions

We have found that 50 to 70% of customers will unsubscribe to emails, close online accounts, and delete mobile apps when the content they receive isn’t personalized. It’s now critical for brands to use transactional and/or behavioral data to segment their customers and deliver a relevant and personalized experience across all touchpoints.

Who’s doing this well today?

Aimia’s Aeroplan coalition program in Canada periodically deploys a “double dip” campaign that analyzes credit card spend data to deliver highly personalized offers to members, allowing them to earn double points at select retail partners. The retail partners differ from customer to customer, and are uniquely assigned based on the data analytics. Each time the campaign has been deployed, it has resulted in an average of 14 times higher lift in spend on average than other campaigns.

Take action in 2016

Fuse your communications and promotional strategies with your data strategy to deliver the relevancy and personalization that customers demand.


  1. Deliver an omni-channel experience by investing in the right technologies

New technologies are flooding the marketplace

Apps, wearables, beacons, mobile payments, in-store mapping…are just a few of the list of new technologies being adopted by brands.. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of what these new technologies can deliver, but the reality is that none of us have limitless budgets. Instead, brands must focus their efforts -and their budgets- on those technologies that best support the customer experience they are trying to provide.

Who’s doing this well today?

Walgreens’ marketing efforts are designed to position the brand as a trusted health and wellness partner. As a result, they have integrated FitBit into their loyalty offering. Members of the Balance Rewards program can actually earn loyalty points for connecting their FitBit to their Balance Rewards account and using it to track their activity levels. This not only strengthens Walgreens’ positioning as a trusted health and wellness partner, but also provides members with a fun and unique way to engage with the loyalty program on a daily basis.

Take action in 2016

Understand what kind of experience you are trying to provide for your members, and then invest in relevant technologies to support that experience. 


  1. Reward for interactions to create a more meaningful experience

Customers increasingly want to be rewarded for brand interactions

Loyalty is uniquely positioned to incent brand interactions that extend far beyond transactions alone. Aimia has found that over 60% of customers are likely to engage with a brand if they are rewarded for doing so. This engagement can come in many different forms, including tracking and rewarding for interactions related to newsletters, videos, social media and referrals.

Who’s doing this well today?

Sainsbury’s, a UK grocery chain, tested a gamified app that rewards members for playing games, answering surveys and completing purchase missions. Since launch, participants have demonstrated a 9.25% lift in spend compared to program members who are not participating in the app trial.

Take action in 2016

Build interactive elements into your CRM and loyalty strategy so that customers can engage meaningfully and act as educated brand ambassadors.


  1. Reinforce your brand’s commitment to social causes by asking customers to join you

Corporate social responsibility matters to customers

Roughly 90% of customers’ state that they would switch brands to one supporting a cause, and 84% state that they seek out responsible products whenever possible. To the extent your brand is outwardly invested in social causes, use loyalty not only as an avenue to reinforce this message with your customers, but also to bring them closer to your brand by asking them to join you in your social mission.

Who’s doing this well today?

The TOMS brand is built on its “One for One” promise: the company donates one pair of shoes for each pair purchased. TOMS has integrated this social cause into their rewards program, allowing members to donate their points towards additional shoe donations. This tight integration of the brand’s social cause and its rewards program is done very authentically, and ultimately brings customers closer to the cause itself, giving them the opportunity to invest in it long term and not just at the point of purchase.

Take action in 2016:

Use loyalty to enhance your brand equity by inviting members to work towards the goal with you. However, do this in an authentic way that resonates with your overall brand and corporate strategy.


  1. Optimize your CRM and loyalty economics to deliver enticing offers and rewards

Customers care about rewards

Roughly 70% of customers are influenced to try a brand for the first time based on the rewards offered in the brand’s loyalty program. Furthermore, nearly three quarters of customers consider the ease of redemption before signing up for a program. Because customers expect a fair value in exchange for their program participation, it’s critical for programs to determine just how much value they should be providing to their members to drive the desired levels of engagement. 

Who’s doing this well today?

Aimia worked with Reckitt Benckiser to launch a new rewards program with optimized earn/burn ratios and a robust partner strategy for their Move Free line of products. Since program launch, the Move Free program has far surpassed CPG industry averages in terms of active membership ratios and lift in member spend. In addition,, partnerships have been able to reduce program costs while enhancing the program’s perceived value.

Take action in 2016

Understand the economics behind your CRM and loyalty programs to optimize the value provided to customers vs. the value returned to the business. 



Customer behavior and preferences are changing. As we launch into the New Year, take the time to understand who your customers are, what they want, and how your CRM and loyalty efforts can help meet their needs. In summary, focus your marketing efforts on these six areas for a successful 2016:


  1. Invest in collecting intelligent customer data
  2. Deliver personalization to survive the unsubscribe revolution
  3. Deliver an omni-channel experience by investing in the right technologies
  4. Reward for interactions to create a more meaningful experience
  5. Reinforce your brand’s commitment to social causes by asking customers to join you
  6. Optimize your CRM and loyalty economics to deliver enticing offers and rewards


About the Author:

Carrie Nelson is a Manager on Aimia’s Loyalty Consulting team.  Carrie has lead the design and re-design of loyalty programs for a number of global brands in industries including CPG, hospitality, and media. Her focus is on helping businesses differentiate and gather actionable customer insights through innovative loyalty program designs.


For more information on how we can help you drive stronger customer relationships in 2016, contact us at customer-loyalty.us@aimia.com or visit www.aimia.com

Feel free to listen to the webinar that was recorded here.

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