Loyalty isn’t something that can simply be “bought” with rewards. Through extensive experience and proprietary research, we have come to believe that loyal brand behavior can only be truly cultivated over time by consistently delivering positive brand experiences. We believe the best way to do that is by consistently knowing, meeting and anticipating customer needs. Only then can a brand expect to see the measurable results of true customer loyalty, such as increased likelihood of repurchase, incremental purchase and usage, and brand advocacy.

One way to judge true customer loyalty is to assess the behaviors that demonstrate to what extent a brand relationship is valued by a customer. As recently and newly evidenced by findings in Aimia’s 2015 Loyalty Lens Report, the true value a consumer places on such relationships is surprisingly often not dominated by rewards, but by how well the brand understands and engages the whole customer.

In this finding, it becomes clear that true customer loyalty can only be considered in the context of an overall brand-consumer relationship; however, creating true consumer loyalty is more complex and difficult today than ever before. Consumers are overwhelmed by choice. According to Loyalty Lens, 85% of global consumers reported being members of at least one customer loyalty program in 2015. Empowered consumers expect to be recognized for their business and do talk back to brands - and to their social networks. Not all consumers have an equal propensity for loyalty; for example, many will consistently change brands as a matter of principle. Recent research has shown that loyalty programs that are predominantly transactional are especially vulnerable to deeper discounts by competitors. Consumers have learned to play the system for ever better deals, which encourages precisely the opposite of loyalty.

In addition, the volume of data available to marketers is unprecedented; many struggle to interpret this data and transform it into insights. What is cause and effect? Do rewards for transactions actually encourage behavioral change or are they merely the price of entry in many categories? How do we accurately attribute incremental revenue for transactional rewards?

Aimia’s experience as both an owner/operator and developer of loyalty programs makes us particularly good at answering such questions. Perhaps more importantly, our time and client-tested technology platforms provide effective and efficient working solutions that show measurable results from more engaged customers.

Given the importance of “brand” in a brand-customer relationship, every loyalty program clearly should to some extent be unique. Aimia is committed to building loyalty marketing programs that are customer-centric, that rely on deep consumer knowledge through insights and data, and that differentiate a brand by greatly improving the customer experience.

Consumers have come to expect points and rewards for their business. However brands that go beyond the expected – that uncommonly surprise, delight, empower and engage customers – will increasingly see a disproportionate return on their loyalty investment. By meeting customers’ functional needs, as well as their emotional desire for privileges and recognition, such programs consistently drive customer behavior that shows the greater value they place on their relationship – which, in the end, is the only true indicator of brand-customer loyalty.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or www.aimia.com.

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