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It’s almost mind-boggling the amount of challenges facing marketers today. Not only are budgets dropping, but in a world where shoppers are inundated with messaging from the moment they wake up until they finally turn off all electronics, it’s harder and harder to gain their attention. This is why many brands have turned to discounting to attract new customer or reactivate those they haven’t seen in a while. At first, this strategy may work. But the more customers are accustomed to a brand offering deals, the less they feel they need to frequent the brand. And with so many discounting brands, there is very little differentiating your company from the hundreds of offers they receive from others. At this point, your brand is lost in the promotional fray.

How to Stop the Cycle
The first, most important step, to stopping the discount cycle, is to make the decision to become a customer-centric brand. No longer will your brand be known for offering 40% discounts week after week, but it will be known for trending styles and quality that appeal to your ideal customers, and for the favorable experience they have at every interaction with your brand.

To do this, you need stakeholder buy in from the top of the company down. Once you switch from discounting to developing the customer experience, there may be a dip in sales that looks unfavorable. It’s important everyone be on board to make this major shift, and not jump the ship.

Next, get to know your customer. We may be biased, but we think a loyalty platform is the best way to gather as much information as your customers as possible. Loyalty, in which a customer identifies themselves in each transaction, is really the only way to know who a person is over social, mobile, online, offline, basically any way for a brand to interact with a customer, because they raise their hand and tell you it’s them. Using this data, you can develop a clear picture of your ideal customers, and from qualitative research, you can start to cater to them. Find out the products they want, how they want to be communicated with, why they love your brand, etc.

Now you can start to create a differentiated experience your customers will be drawn to, and continue to tell friends (or social audiences) about.

Taking It to The Next Level
Loyalty, however, is not a static set-it-and-forget it strategy. Your customer changes. Your program needs to evolve with them.

Analytics is the best way to measure the massive amounts of data your customers give you, but more and more we’re hearing that marketers lack the expertise and resources to act on this data. That’s why the Aimia SmartJourney™ evolves with your loyalty program. With experts in communications, strategy and analytics monitoring your KPIs and adjusting your program for the best results, you’re not alone in inspiring and growing your customers. Your success is our success, and these built-in resources help you evolve your program as the customer journey unfolds. Working with your customer to provide the best customer experience builds emotional loyalty, to a point where we’ve seen brands no longer having to offer discounts to their best customers. 

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