Where is Loyalty Marketing Headed in 2012?

Taking a look back at 2011, several key trends greatly impacted the world of customer loyalty. From working to infuse gamification and mobile into loyalty programs, to contending with the explosion of social shopping and desire for immediacy of rewards, marketers were clearly striving to understand best how to capture the hearts and minds of the social media-savvy customer.

Armed with the knowledge amassed during the last year, marketers are likely to call 2012 “The year of customer engagement.” Despite the explosion of (or perhaps because of) the daily deal space, marketers realize that customer loyalty, versus acquisition, is critical for driving sustainable growth. Marketers that successfully cultivate loyal brand advocates do so by expectation matching—by implementing a true voice-of-customer model to get under the hood and create a comprehensive, 360-degree view of the customers. Only when armed with this insight can marketers deliver a brand experience that matches (and ultimately exceeds) customers’ expectations.

As such, loyalty is a much bigger, broader, richer and increasingly complex idea than it has been in the past. Loyalty is no longer about points, discounts, miles, rewards; it is about the way the processes, technologies, ideas, interactions engage an individual with the brand.

What’s on the horizon that will drive customer engagement and loyalty this year? We asked our members to help us uncover the key trends marketers believe will most impact the industry in 2012. A number of areas of focus bubbled to the top:  customer experience, loyalty programs, social media and online marketing, mobile, and data. Let’s take a deeper dive…