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As we completed the inaugural Loyalty Landscape: State of the Industry report and Loyalty360 awards in March, we were impressed with the depth and breadth of the responses. Coming out of the research, we added a sixth C to the Five C’s (community, commerce, content, collaboration and commitment) of loyalty. Confidence became the sixth C and it is THIS 6th C that differentiates the successful programs and processes from those who are challenged and struggling.
As we looked at the Loyalty Landscape−a detailed qualitative and quantitative assessment of more than 200 brands and their definitions (connotative and denotative) of loyalty−and found what metrics they use in defining loyalty, how loyalty has changed in importance and impact, what “keeps them up and night”, what they would like to know and learn from their competitors, as well as an assortment of other VOC/market-driven questions, we gained invaluable insights that our audience had been clamoring for.
The power of “Voice of the Customer” was reinforced via this insightful study, metrics were established for various facets of customer loyalty, and what comprises loyalty was refined from a connotative and denotative perspective.
Some of the key insights gleaned from the Loyalty Landscape included:
Benchmarking is a challenge
A need for metrics
“Punching the box” no longer works
Understanding the customer is a bigger concern than we anticipated
Which rewards are valuable and how to deliver them
The challenge of big data–however banal–remains
A challenge of confidence in innovation!
A need for continued commitment from their organizations
A need to be more entrepreneurial
We noticed a stark difference between the brands who were the leaders and those who were the laggards. The challenges (personalization, resource allocation, benchmarking, and understanding ROI for new technologies) remain the same.
The biggest challenge is understanding the value exchange with the customer−the ability to understand in detail what they wanted/expected from the brand for a reward (monetary/non-monetary), and that the product was consistent across all programs. Yet, the manner by which they addressed this was from a perspective of confidence. The brands that had the performance metrics in place and had the senior level commitment were confident in themselves, their company, and their program/processes in the ability to perform.
We all know the challenges present in today’s marketing arena are greater than ever before. We all are cognizant of the data-centric challenges for creating unique, engaging experiences that lead to long-term loyal and engaged consumers, yet we continue to see a delta between those who are creating the culture, processes, and programs that create the beneficial and measurable behavioral shift and those who do or cannot.
We have termed this the challenge of confidence. To witness the increasingly complex loyalty marketing arena and to see how some brands have the confidence to make targeted bets on technologies, organizational structures, and processes that are untested, unproven, and metrically challenged is not unique.
For marketers, this has always been part and parcel of the domain. But the purview of marketing has changed dramatically. No longer can marketers successfully market their constituents and expect the staid practices to work as they once did.
In the inaugural Loyalty Landscape, we saw this challenge of confidence present itself in a number of ways. One of the QUESTIONS we asked was did they think that they as a brand were doing innovative things?
We saw a significant dichotomy between those who were driving the programs that showed great behavioral and financial returns, the ones that scored best with our diverse set of judges, and those who were struggling. Those who were spending over 20% of their marketing budgets on loyalty felt (70%) that most of the programs they were putting in place were innovative.
To meet and/or exceed customer expectations remains the consistent challenge. Yet as loyalty moves to the fore in the C-Suite (CMOs in particular), there is a need for metrics, insight, and working with peers to push this industry forward. Loyalty360 will continue to work with those in this arena to understand the challenges and work to bring solutions to the market. Please let us know what challenges you may have.