Traditional loyalty programs and the associated rewards mix philosophy are a thing of the past. This from a recent study out of Collinson Group, a loyalty marketing services firm whose client portfolio includes respected names like MasterCard, VISA, and British Airways.
The study focused primarily on the affluent middle class, surveying just over 6,100 of the top 10%-15% of earners across 10 countries in Asia, North America, and Europe. Of those polled, 35% indicated that they “couldn’t be bothered” to engage with a traditional points-based program.
Instead, customers are continuing to shift toward tailored, personalized experiences. Banks lead the way in this respect, leveraging immense amounts of customer data to provide relevant loyalty offerings to loyal clients. As a result, the banking vertical demonstrated the highest rate of affluent middle class loyalty: 70 of those surveyed noted that they were “loyal” or “extremely loyal” to their bank of choice.
The value offered by these banking loyalty programs resulted in measurable results: 82% of members spent more as a result of the program’s incentives.
"Our research is a wake-up call to brands in every industry where points-based programs offering generic rewards are still being used,” said Christopher Evans, Director, Collinson Group. “Given the importance of affluent middle class consumers on the fortunes of companies, it is imperative that low-performing initiatives are aborted, and that brands rethink how they recognize, engage, and reward customers. Global consumers now expect real-time interactions with brands on a platform of their choosing. These interactions should be highly personalized and relevant, and as ever, consumers expect to be rewarded for their continued custom. Brands that are not innovating and addressing evolving customer expectation will simply be left behind.”
In a contrast to the boom of bank loyalty, industries that have become synonymous with loyalty program—namely supermarkets, airlines, and credit cards—have cooled off, seeing year-over-year membership declines of 6%, 10%, and 15%, respectively.
“In the face of shifting customer expectation, the ubiquity of mobile, and a demand for brand interactions that are both personal and immediate, companies must adapt,” said Evans. “This means doing away with the old ways of engaging with and rewarding customers.” 

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