Loyalty program members want to receive communications, but they need to be relevant according to Scott Robinson, Senior Director, Loyalty Consulting & Solutions, for Maritz Loyalty Marketing.

Robinson and his colleague, Sean ClaessenVice-President, Creative and Strategy, Maritz Loyalty Marketing, were the featured speakers during Tuesday’s Loyalty 360 webinar titled, “Loyalty Solution Design: Optimizing to Stand Out in a Cluttered Market.”

While 94% of loyalty program members seek communications, only 53% say that those communications are relevant. Claessen told attendees that the disparity between those percentages is the room brands have to improve on the relevant communications front.

How often is too frequent for communications?

“Frequency is definitely on the mindset of our clients,” Robinson said. “Participants are eager to hear from brands more often. Frequency can be dialed up, but so must the relevancy.”

That lifecycle approach to loyalty communications – “We Miss You Mary” – should be used by brands to personalize communications and spark renewed engagement.

“Loyalty is part of the brand relationship,” Robinson said. “Programs are having an influence on behavior. On the flip side, consumers have an insatiable appetite for loyalty.”

On average, participants are enrolled in 7.4 loyalty programs, but only about 2/3 of program participants are active in all of their membership programs.

Robinson and Claessen the link between personal value systems (the internal compass that guides human behavior, decisions, and perceptions) and loyalty program member engagement (satisfaction, the propensity to recommend and to re-purchase). Research contained in the 2013 Maritz Loyalty Report revealed a tight link between member satisfaction and the extent to which a member’s values are aligned with a program’s values – and that only 40% of program members believe their values are aligned with the values of the programs in which they participate.

 “The more closely aligned the program’s values are to a member’s values, the higher the member’s satisfaction with the program,” Robinson said.

Robinson said marketers need to identify and understand the extent to which the values profile of their specific brand audience and member base differs from that of the general population. Those differences hold meaningful clues as to the program elements that may be under- or over-represented, and guide program designers toward more engaging programs for their members.

What drives and sustains engagement between a brand and its customers is unique to each customer and, as Robinson said, marketers need that old-style barber shop 1-to-1 relationship to enhance their loyalty programs. Robinson said the “one size fits all” business model is outdated for loyalty programs.

The most active loyalty program members fall into the Grocery (72%) category, followed by Financial Services (69%), Retail (64%), and Airlines (62%).

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