Loyalty360's Throwback Thursday | Thought Leaders in Customer Loyalty – Episode 2

Loyalty360’s Throwback Thursday video series brings together several of the best responses from Loyalty360 member thought leaders on recent topics, trends, and discussions.

In this episode we asked, “How do you define customer loyalty? Do you think that definition is consistent to what it may have been 18 months ago?”

Thanks to our members from PDI, cxLoyalty, Clarus Commerce, Kobie Marketing, and ICF Next for participating!

How do you define customer loyalty? Do you think that definition is consistent to what it may have been 18 months ago?
Todd Siegel, Chief Executive Officer, cxLoyalty
I think loyalty is a loosely defined term that probably means a lot of different things to many different people whether you're asking our clients, employees, our suppliers, our end customers, but at its core it is really focused on the relationship between brands and their customers. Does the brand know the customer and are they working to maintain and nurture that relationship? One way to think about it and
how I think about loyalty is it means really strengthening that relationship between an organization and its customer typically to incent certain types of consumer behavior whether it be stickier relationships, greater share of wallet, enhancing an organization's overall NPS score. I really think loyalty at the end of the day is about value creation.
Melissa West, Director of Product Solutions, PDI
I think at Marketing Cloud Solutions, we define loyalty a little bit differently than other people within our industry and I think we have a lot of people that come to us and the big buzzword, I need loyalty, I need a loyalty program. At Marketing Cloud Solutions, we would really say loyalty isn't a program it's really an outcome and what all these people are seeking is really to create consumer behavior change and so ultimately what they want is they want their customers to shop more often, they want them to buy different things, and they want them to shop at their location versus their competitors consistently and so really to get that outcome that they're all seeking, they need thoughtful program design, clear concise Programs, and then they need to be able to layer data on top of that and use that to effectively and profitably change consumer behavior. I think a lot of programs out there and a lot of ways that people think about loyalty is there's all these different layers and features that go into a loyalty program and those don't always generate the outcome that they see.
Has loyalty changed over the last 18 months? I would say absolutely not. I think it's really the fundamental aspect of marketing to consumers and so I think, if anything, utilizing data to impact consumer behavior is more important.
I think from a marketing community, we are getting more capable of being able to use data to create that change. I think we have consumers that are more aware of the data they're giving up and because of that, they really have more awareness and an expectation to deliver them information to use their data for the relevant experiences, offers, and messages. I think with COVID, even before COVID, that was important but now I would say our customers really need to double down on shopper retention and in order to do that they really need to have that data and use it to quickly react to consumers changing preferences and behaviors and serve them up all sorts of relevant content.
Carlos Dunlap-Beard, VP, Loyalty Solutions, Clarus Commerce
In terms of premium loyalty, is that it's so good that consumers are willing to pay a price to be a part of it because they get that superior value proposition and for the brands, the brands get immediate positive financial impact from them and that's how we look at it. It's consistent, it certainly would be the value proposition. It's so out there and superior for consumers that it's like a duh yeah why wouldn’t I do this, but I think we're evolving like everybody else. I mean it's we want to figure out ways to continually enhance the experience, to drive ease of program participation. We want to help people save time and that's even better than cash. Give me more. We want to take the friction out, whatever that is. There's a lot of conversations about emotional loyalty and all those things. We continue to reach higher and higher to try to add more and deliver more for our clients because as you pointed out, it's in our best interest for our clients to be happy and for their customers to be happy.
Marti Beller, President, Kobie Marketing
We touched on it before, and it’s about reciprocity. It’s about having a relationship that can withstand something. There’s going to be moments in every relationship you have, whether it’s between two people, or between and brand and their customers, where you’re going to go through something together. It might be an interaction the customer wanted, it might be something they see in the news and to me customer loyalty is defined as being better than the last transaction … When you’re able to make a connection, and that that connection is more than that transaction.
Guy Cierzan, Managing Partner, Loyalty, ICF Next
The way that we would define customer loyalty is treating the notion of customer loyalty as an outcome that you’re trying to cultivate. So, I think our view would be that traditional loyalty, if you go back a few decades to some of the early days so to speak, traditional view of loyalty viewed it as very programmatic, and oftentimes we associated it as the frequent flyer program or the hotel program, the retail program, part and parcel with what loyalty is for that brand. I think we have tried to say, no, loyalty is an outcome. It’s a behavior. It’s something we’re trying to achieve with our clients and without client’s customers. So, we’re trying to bring together that notion that a program can be very important but if you expand beyond that, so too is the promise of the brand, so too is the experience of the brand, and you see a lot of brands, outside of the more programmatic side of what they’re doing with loyalty, engender loyalty by doing other things which may be mobile app and ordering ahead. While that’s not necessarily a way to accrue points always, it may be a way for a retailer to engender loyalty because they’re making it a much more seamless experience that the customer can have with my brand.
So, from our standpoint, that in the last 12 to 18 months has really accelerated is this notion of expanding the view of loyalty to really be about what we’re trying to achieve, the outcome of loyalty and really understanding that it sits on a much broader ecosystem of marketing that’s happening. A much broader ecosystem of technology that is supporting that. You really do need to go beyond that traditional view and expand how you think about loyalty, and that’s key to the way that our worldview informs the way we work.

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