Loyalty marketers are always seeking better and more efficient ways to target various customer segments. Being able to personalize communications to certain segments goes a long way toward engendering deep brand loyalty.

Gauging customer behavior between men and women poses an ongoing challenge, but CrowdTwist’s new comprehensive study, “Battle For The Sexes: The 2016 CrowdTwist Gender Loyalty Report,” reveals a myriad of habits and tendencies that marketers can learn from and leverage in the future.

While industry research shows that women control up to 85% of consumer purchasing decisions, male consumers shouldn’t be ignored because they have taken a more active role in the shopping process in recent years, according to the CrowdTwist study. As a result, brands today must implement marketing practices that target both genders.

While men and women both demonstrate tendencies toward being loyal to specific brands, how they manifest that loyalty differs.

According to the research, women are more brand loyal than men and tend to stick with their favorite brands. Women are 22.19% more likely than men to buy the brand regardless of price, quality, convenience, or brand promise. The survey found that, while men are brand loyal, they are 19.32% more likely to consider other alternatives that offer better quality, with price being a second consideration.

What’s more, women (23.68%) are more loyal to a greater number of brands (six to 10) compared to men (20.54%). And when it comes to brand advocacy, women are 40.39% more likely to be very willing to recommend a loyalty program they participate in to a friend over men.

The percentage of consumers interested in earning points for engagement (e.g., taking a survey, watching a video, and posting a review) grew year-over-year. Consider that 76.14% of women are interested in earning loyalty points for engagement compared to 58.03% in 2015; 68.60% of men are interested in earning loyalty points for engagement compared to 50.78% in 2015.

“The growing interest comes as brands are expanding the ways in which they interact with consumers,” the study notes. “Companies are making it easier than ever for consumers to engage with them. They are integrating loyalty programs at the Point-of-Sale and are developing mobile apps to further reach customers.”

For both genders, discounts and cash back top the list for loyalty program rewards—45% of women rated discounts and coupons as extremely important or highly important for program benefits compared to nearly 40% for men. Cash back rewards were the second-highest scoring perk—43.45% of women rated cashback/credit as extremely important or highly important for program benefits vs. 36.63% of men.

In addition, women connect slightly more to philanthropy—35.81% rated the ability to donate points to charitable causes as having a moderate level of importance vs. 31.21% of men. Meanwhile, men favor more tangible rewards as 25% said free products have a moderate level of importance in a loyalty program versus women (18.59%).

The allure of loyalty programs became clear from the study and concluded with a resounding theme: Loyalty programs matter.

Consider that 76.32% of women and 73.83% of men are likely to shop with a brand that has a loyalty program; 69.19% of men belong to one to five loyalty programs vs. 57.93% of females 28.57% of women belong to six to 10 loyalty programs brands vs. 20.54% of men.

Separating women and men by specific types of loyalty program memberships is clearly seen from the study: Women outpace men in loyalty program membership for grocery, retail, beauty, restaurant, beauty, and household supplies brands. Conversely, men outpace women in loyalty program membership for financial services, media & entertainment, and automotive brands.

Woman are 40.44% more likely than men to share a post on social media to earn points and are 40.38% more likely to be very willing to recommend a loyalty program they participate in to a friend.

According to the study, women care about: Trust and brand devotion; personal 1-on-1 relationships that offer personal attention; discounts and deals; and marketing messages that address value appeal.

Meanwhile, men care about honor.

“They are more product-driven and prefer better quality,” the study notes. “Men respond more to freebies and immediate rewards and benefits; and marketing messages that focus on the strength of the brand and durability appeal.”

To engage the female demographic, according to the study, brands should consider the following:

Be authentic with brand marketing: Women value companies that are genuine. It’s crucial to stay true to the brand. This will help organizations gain trust, respect, and long-term loyalty.

Tap into the emotional side of the brand: Not every loyalty program member wants something from the brand. Consider how to forge more emotional bonds with women and explore how philanthropy may fit into the brand ethos and within the loyalty program.

Offer exclusive access to drive loyalty program participation: To create meaningful customer relationships, brands must make women feel valued. One strategy is to offer exclusive access (first dibs on a special sale or an invite to an event). This tactic will encourage consumer participation and strengthen affinity for the brand.
Include incentives for referrals: There’s nothing like a referral. Women are powerful advocates and brands can capitalize on the customer advocacy with this demographic. It’s important to properly incentivize women to refer friends to a program to increase membership.

Make the loyalty program easy to participate in: Women juggle many responsibilities—family life, careers, households, etc. They have little time to waste. That’s why it’s essential to design a loyalty program that’s easy to join and simple to participate in.

To engage the male demographic, brands should consider the following:

Focus on quality: Offering less expensive products and services doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers will buy from the brand. To appeal more directly to men, focus on improving the quality of the brand’s products and services.

Offer exclusive access as part of a loyalty program: Having the sense of being valued is crucial. Just like women, men also want to feel like they are a part of something special. Explore how to integrate exclusive perks into a program that appeal to men and make them feel like part of the ‘in’ crowd.

Explore philanthropy to drive loyalty: Similar to women, philanthropy also appeals to men in the form of making donations to charities. Explore how these initiatives fit into the brand as a whole and how consumers can benefit through loyalty program participation.

Offer free products as rewards to maintain interest: While consumers like a great discount, free products keep members coming back. Whether it is a free coffee or a free can of shaving cream, men are hungry for freebies. Ensure the brand’s loyalty program caters to this demographic with appropriate reward offerings.

Consider price concessions to win greater loyalty: While men prefer better quality, price is another reason why this group may buy another brand. See how to overcome the price wars with competitors, but be sure not to sacrifice the quality of the product or service.

“To win the affection and attention of both men and women, brands must develop loyalty programs that offer numerous point earning activities and rewards, demonstrate value, and offer great quality products and services,” the study notes. “By taking a deeper look at the motivations of men and women, treating each group as individuals, and catering to gender-specific preferences, brands will have the power to drive greater customer engagement and long-term loyalty.”

The 2016 CrowdTwist Gender Loyalty Program Report study was conducted in September 2016. A sample of 1,027 North American consumers aged 18 to 71 participated through an online survey. The report explores how men and women differ in their loyalty to brands, how they perceive loyalty programs, and how loyalty initiatives, rewards, and incentives impact their behavior.

A CrowdTwist infographic, “The Gender Divide on Brand Loyalty,” provides a snapshot of the similarities and differences between men and women and their views on brand loyalty.

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