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Brand loyalty programs are today at crossroads. What began as a simple means of rewarding customers for preferring their brand over others, loyalty is now a complicated and expensive cost center. Add to it the fact that traditional loyalty programs provide little insights into whether or not they are helping organizations achieve their objective to developing and retaining a loyal following of customers. And yet, there is no doubt in the minds of marketers and CXOs alike that a loyalty program is simply a must-have, perhaps even a differentiator, for brands.
The average household is enrolled into over a dozen loyalty programs. However, for most of them, finding a meaningful reward for the drips and drabs of points that they have in multiple loyalty programs, is a challenge. Thus, brands continue to find their loyalty programs struggling to engage with a majority of their member base. Brands today sense a great deal of urgency in solving not only the engagement challenge but also addressing the needs for customer acquisition. It is in this context that we revisit the priority of needs for brands through the analogy of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.