We are living in a data-driven world and nowhere is that more true than the modern loyalty program. While the need for data to drive targeted campaigns that inspire loyalty is great, so too is consumer awareness of its pervasiveness.
This may feel like a daunting challenge as consumers get increasingly wary of sharing their data. It’s also an opportunity for brands to strengthen emotional loyalty with their customers, not only by protecting that data, but by collecting it through value-added, first-party routes. If you’re still trying to wrap your head around why first-party data is preferable and where/when to collect it while adding value to your loyalty program, we’ve got you covered.
Why Is First-Party Data Valuable?
The benefits of first-party data are significant:
- No cost: Customers give it to you directly.
- More accurate: Customers provide it when they sign up.
- Privacy-proof: It’s not bought from unauthorized data collectors and is subject to more stringent privacy guidelines and opt-in policies (i.e. GDPR).
- Authentic connections: A recent Econsultancy report, “The Promise of First-Party Data,” found 74 percent of marketers surveyed believe first-party data provides the strongest customers insights.
Get the (First-) Party Started
Traditional ways brands collect first-party data include via website Google Analytics, mobile apps, social media, surveys, email, SMS, beacons, CRM systems, customer service interactions, point of purchase, and direct mail (using digital data to inform your offline campaigns).
It’s likely you’ve already checked some or all of these boxes, but don’t stop there. Analysis of your customer interactions could reveal more creative first-party data collection opportunities. Just remember, you still need to offer value in return for data.
Add Value With Entertainment and Rewards
Customers like to be entertained — especially on their smartphones — as they commute, wait in line, or take a work break. Gamification via challenges, interactive quizzes, or puzzles is a great way to create targeted interaction opportunities with customers as you collect information about their online and mobile habits.
Make Progress With Profiling
Progressive profiling offers a more sophisticated approach that utilizes consumer behavior and past transactions to customize future interactions and experiences presented that then capture first-party data. For example, if a customer tells a retailer they like a particular style of pants, they may receive questions (via poll, survey, or in-app functionality) later on that relate specifically to the style. This approach not only gleans valuable data from your most loyal customers, it also creates a personalized experience that strengthens the connection.
Using polls and surveys (via email, social media, etc.) to get inside the head of your customers is a crucial piece of any program. People appreciate being asked their opinion, but more than that, they appreciate sharing their experience. So ask them for their story! Vans does this really well with its Vans Family program, which regularly gives customers the opportunity to share their stories in exchange for points or other rewards. The brand also regularly reaches out via polls and surveys to stay in touch with their super fans.
Remember, everyone is looking for more data from their consumers, so make sure your request doesn’t just stand out, but provides added value for your customers as well. Whether that’s rewarding them with points or experiences, this is another opportunity to strengthen their emotional loyalty with your business and you don’t want to let it pass you by.
Jon Siegal is the Vice President of Global Loyalty Sales at Cheetah Digital. He is focused on helping businesses use digital and social experiences to acquire new customers and grow consumer relationships.