At Loyalty360, we believe that marketers should focus their efforts on driving customer, channel, and brand loyalty. Customer loyalty is finally being recognized as a powerful marketing tool, but gaining it still presents a major challenge for many organizations.
Over the next three months, Loyalty360 will release a series of reports based upon qualitative research on issues surrounding customer loyalty. The first report, “The Ever-Changing State of the Modern Customer: How Customers Are Changing and How Marketers Should Respond,” is set to be released during a webinar hosted by Loyalty360 and SAP on August 16th.
Loyalty360’s goal is not to provide another data point to a market already saturated with data and research, but to ask open-ended questions to help frame marketing challenges and opportunities in a much deeper way. This is the genesis of Loyalty360’s Executive Perspectives reports
In speaking with a wide spectrum of brands, Loyalty360 has seen that some brands rethink how they acquire, engage, and retain customers as a direct result of changing expectations and preferences. This report dives into four main themes: 1) increased demand for the convenience offered by a mobile-first digital presence, 2) heightened customer expectations across all touchpoints from brands in different industries, 3) more informed and fluid customers, and 4) external forces beyond direct control.
The report was written in a partnership with SAP Customer Experience, a producer of digital commerce software. Recently, Loyalty360 sat down with Bernard Chung, Head of Product Marketing at SAP Customer Experience, to discuss the main themes of the report.
Of the four themes in the paper, which do you think is the biggest challenge for brands today?
A common challenge that cuts across all four themes is the data management issue.  How do marketers capture, consolidate, and gain deeper insights into their customers in order to deliver the best customer experience?  First, they need to identify the customers at the moment of interaction and employ a value exchange concept to start capturing useful behavior insights, which will enable you to accurately determine the engagement context and deliver the most relevant customer treatment. And we can’t neglect the increasing demand for data privacy, protection, and consent-based data management practices. This requires marketers to provide greater transparency, access, and control to end customers regarding their own data.
What are some technology challenges and how do you see brands or your clients adapting to changing customer expectations?
For many years, marketers had carte blanche ability to purchase tools that they needed to help drive specific business needs: email, campaign, social, etc. This approach has resulted in disconnected siloed systems, many of which are fantastic in a single channel, but the overall technology landscape has become complicated.  When organizations are trying to orchestrate consistent and seamless customer experiences across channels, managing the data and processes to gain insights from it is a huge challenge. Leading marketing organizations have recognized that in order to achieve the total customer experience objective, they need an integrated suite of customer engagement solutions that provide a single, consolidated view of customer insights, data-driven marketing, and an open and flexible platform that can grow with the business.
What is the biggest opportunity for brands and marketers today? If you could recommend one thing to a client (or prospective client), what would it be?
Many organizations may perceive the need for increased data protection and compliance with regulations, like the GDPR in the EU, as necessary business practices, and if your data protection compliance goals are all about checking off boxes, you may be missing a big opportunity. This is a great opportunity for brands and marketers to demonstrate that their customers are valued by implementing strong data management practices that provide greater transparency and control to customers. They can gain a competitive advantage by building and maintaining more valued and trusted relationships with customers that translate into long-term loyalty, and that loyalty amounts to real business value. 
To learn more about the report and its themes, join the live webinar “How Customers Are Changing and How Marketers Should Respond,” featuring Loyalty360 and SAP, on August 16th at 11am ET/8am PT. All registrants will receive a copy of the full report along with a recording of the webinar. 

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