Customer Loyalty Relies on Foundational CRM Strategies

At the end of the day, CRM principles are at the heart of customer loyalty success.
Loyalty360 explored the topic of CRM tactics and customer loyalty with some executives at Baesman Insights & Marketing.
As much as the loyalty industry can change and pivot in the blink of an eye based on technological advances, can you talk about how customer loyalty success is still founded on CRM principles?
Jeff Sopko, President: Loyalty—for all its advances in technology—still relies heavily on foundational CRM strategies, techniques, and methodology to create successful programs. Technology and platforms are important, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle. They are the frame or the delivery platform, but what good can a delivery mechanism do if there isn’t a good marketing message within it or you don’t know whom to send the campaign?

We can’t forget that it’s the strategy behind the program that drives loyalty-centric behavior. It’s test-and-learn, customer insights, and data-informed tactics that actually produce loyalty. The industry gets away from that sometimes. 

No matter how loyalty evolves in the future, great programs still need a broad foundation in customer building, engagement, customer marketing and data analysis to keep the program producing incremental gains. 
Data is such a major topic for loyalty marketers, yet some struggle with leveraging it in the most profitable ways. What do loyalty marketers need to be doing from a CRM perspective to grow and retain customers?
John Geiger, Director of Client Services: Data is everything. Actually, data analysis is everything because brands need to have confidence in the insights they receive.  That’s perhaps the most important aspect to using data to maintain profitability—understanding that data tells the story of your customer.
You need to trust it, believe in it, and be able to act on it.  You also need a partner you trust that can really focus on diving into that analysis. 

Baesman has some amazing methodologies that tackle loyalty insights for clients. We’ve evolved many well-founded CRM techniques into loyalty strategies that really challenge the way we think about data. We can confidently say we are measuring incrementality for our clients, a claim many make since it’s a buzzword, but it’s very challenging if you’re not rooted in data analysis. 
Can you talk about the potential impact of segmentation in creating 1-to-1 marketing from CRM tactics?
Kim Welther, Vice President of Loyalty Marketing: Where loyalty really shines is with 1-to-1 marketing. Customers want to feel valued and special—nothing aligns a brand to customer expectations better than showing you’re listening by providing content, offers and products your customers want to receive. 
Whether that’s through large segments, or a more dynamic approach, it takes meticulous and timely CRM practices to provide that level of depth. We’re really talking about consistent program management over time to understand that level of customer behavior. Brands don’t get that level of 1-to-1 marketing without careful and thorough CRM fundamentals evolved for loyalty.
How should loyalty marketers go about integrating CRM tactics with evolving technologies and marketing channels to build a strong, cross-channel program for members?
Sopko: The best loyalty programs are a culmination of a couple different areas. First, you need to understand your customer—that’s the data and CRM element and it really all starts there. From there brands should really be tailoring a meaningful value proposition, program marketing strategies, but also easily configured technology to fit their customer needs. 

We often think of platforms as one-size-fits-all delivery mechanisms, but what fits one brand is radically different than what might fit another company. Technology is fluid, it’s constantly changing, and brands need to find agency partners that support their technology needs. Otherwise, you end up paying for aspects you may never utilize while not having the pieces in place you actually require for success. 
How can CRM create stakeholder alignment across the company to drive loyalty KPIs through cross-functional teams?

Susan Stein, Director of Analytics: Data tells a pretty irrefutable story. It doesn’t lie, and it can’t be manufactured. CRM and loyalty marketers hold the answers to every cross-functional team’s questions. The key to driving KPIs and having companywide buy-in is to create a steering committee to help drive those shared goals and KPIs.

Loyalty is limitless, it’s not contained to stores, ecommerce, digital, or email—it lives within each of those channels and loyalty lifts everyone’s metrics. Cross-functional partners should be clamoring to help bring loyalty into their channels more, loyalty marketers just need to do a good job of selling loyalty and communicating the benefits internally. 

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