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Stay nimble & make loyalty trends happen

In 2015, organisations need to be more agile to meet the needs of their customers

It’s time to move from looking at new trends to really putting them into action to meet your customer’s expectations in real-time

At the beginning of every year our inboxes are loaded with content around New Year’s resolutions and “10 top trends in Marketing” predicted for the year to come… 2012 was the year we learnt all about Big Data. Loyalty was no longer just about points in 2013 and 2014 revolved around everything omni-channel.

2015 is the year we take these existing trends and actually make them happen. Below is our view on the key loyalty trends that have evolved over the last couple of years and that organisations should start adopting or improving in their loyalty strategies:

  1. Experiential rewards – Loyalty rewards have become commoditised with relatively little differentiation from programme to programme therefore it is up to the organisations to offer something money can’t buy.
  2. Even more granular data – With an increase in consumer wearables such as strava, pebble & the Nike fuel band and the rise of technologies, such as NFC & iBeacon technology, companies can gather data on a much deeper level. Using this data, companies go beyond gathering transactional data but are now able to track every move of their customers from where they are to what they are doing.
  3. The internet of things – The evolving real-time store will get to a place where it will provide customers with stock info on their mobile apps and in-store screens will become so personalised, offering tailored, relevant offers to individual customers based on their interests and behaviour in store.
  4. Mobile payments – Mobile payments are emerging everywhere. Successful mobile payment stories will centre on those companies getting the customer experience right by making it simple and relevant.If you would like to read up more on trends in the digital and loyalty space for 2015, have a look in the right hand column of this newsletter.

If you would like to read up more on trends in the digital and loyalty space for 2015 read more here.

We, on the other hand, would like to draw your attention to a topic that can no longer be classified as a trend but the bread and butter of any customer centric organisation – Customer Data … “Nothing new” you may think. However, the big trend lies not in the “how” but in the “how fast” you can make use of your data. For example, does your favourite online retailer send you a tailored offer tomorrow based on something you bought yesterday? Well… they should!

Customer data, and the way in which you use it, is still the key driver that informs business decisions that influence & impact your customers. However the key is now for organisations to become more nimble when extracting the necessary and relevant data and turning it into something useful; thereby adapting to the customers’ demands at a much faster and more efficient pace than ever before – Organisations need to learn how to execute their data led decisions at the same pace their customers are changing their behaviour.

According to a report by warc.com, “The drive for ‘agility’ within organisations reflects the explosion of data, the emergence of new platforms, tech-driven market disruption and a need for marketers to drive business growth.” So the secret is really for organisations to adapt quickly and efficiently to changing environments by harnessing their customer data, responding quickly to change in order to keep their business ahead in the marketplace.

We have also noticed this trend in the loyalty industry. Loyalty has hit a maturation point and has become a customer expectation rather than a point of differentiation. Hence, organisations need to move away from the traditional loyalty models and start to deliver programmes that focus on engagement, experiential rewards & personalisation. So it is pertinent for loyalty marketers to adopt principles that enable them to become more ‘agile’ in dealing with the ever changing needs and demands of their customers.

Our recommendation: Whilst it is crucial to have a long-term strategy, it’s time to say “good-bye” to the static 18-month marketing plans and “hello” to 90-day planning cycles and daily customer data huddles.