One way to think about brand experiences is to compare it to soup. The base of the soup is the thing that often provides the soup its name. Chicken soup. Tomato soup. Mushroom and barley. That is the definition of the overall brand and what it brings to the experience. The ingredients represent the activities and the activations that all create the brand experience. Each ingredient is chosen for the taste and texture it contributes, while the balance of the amount of each is important to the overall taste.
To take this analogy one step further, adding too much of even a minor ingredient like salt can ruin a whole pot of soup. Likewise, marketers need to balance all of their brand tactics to engage customers. Too many emails can turn off a regular customer. This is where a loyalty program can help marketers build a better brand experience. It also gives consumers more opportunities to express their preferences for communication.
Loyalty programs can help marketers develop immersive, personalized, and entertaining activities to keep customers happy, involved, and making purchases. More engaged customers spend more money per order and buy more frequently. And one more ladle of advice: the right mix of ingredients keeps them coming back for seconds.
Consumers live their digital lives in many channels. Marketers should not limit their activities to a single channel. This is true with communications, but it is also true with loyalty activities. Even though customers constantly express their preferences for channels by where they open, click, and respond, marketers need to develop engaging experiences through channels like email, push messages, mobile app, web, and text messages. This not only reaches consumers on their preferred channels, but it also gives both marketers and consumers the chance to test out other channels that may not have been at the top of their lists.
A loyalty program should not reward customers for the sake of providing rewards. People are bombarded with messages, offers, and ads from every direction. One way to make sure your loyalty communications and activities resonate with consumers is to make sure it actually provides value that would be appreciated. And remember, value is not just a money-saving coupon. Exclusive products also offer value to customers who are fans of a brand.
Customer data is at the core of developing marketing programs that resonate with customers, and a loyalty program is no different. Every loyalty program should be unique and built around a brand’s unique set of customers and their data. Marketers need to gather, review, and use customers’ demographic, behavioral, transactional, and contextual data to ensure that customers will engage with loyalty activities on the right channels.
Customers want to be heard. The rise of social media gave consumers a voice that they did not previously have in the marketplace. They can now express both their happiness and their dissatisfaction with a brand. The best thing marketers can do in a loyalty program is to capture that feedback from loyal customers and incorporate it into their program. Yes, there is lots of data available to know what customers want but providing them the opportunity to tell a brand what they want should always be an option.
Marketers must consider all ingredients of a loyalty program and how they fit into the overall brand experience. The best programs encourage customers to have fun, engage more with the brand, and ultimately become better customers by spending more money.
As a platform technology company, Cheetah Digital combines robust data management and cross-channel communication abilities with dedicated, in-house professional services. We help marketers execute complex, enterprise-scale marketing programs and effectively drive lasting customer loyalty. We are a business partner to the world’s best brands, and have employees across 13 countries.