The Loyalty Program Disconnect

March 7, 2016

Are you thinking about your business’ loyalty program in the wrong way?

 

If research from Kitewheel is to be believed, the answer to that question may very well be yes.

 

In their 2014 "State of the Customer Journey" report, Kitewheel sought to uncover the different ways marketers and customers view loyalty programs. What they found was a huge disconnect.

 

According to Kitewheel data, 73% of consumers said that loyalty programs should be for brands to show appreciation for their loyal customers. Marketers, on the other hand, saw it the other way: 66% of them think loyalty programs are for consumers to show their commitment to their businesses.

 

With such a large disconnect, it's no wonder many customers are frustrated with loyalty programs, and so many businesses aren't seeing the expected results from those same programs.

 

If you’re a victim of the “loyalty program disconnect,” there are a few concrete steps you can take to boost loyalty and make your customers happier:

 

  • Flip the script on your loyalty program. In other words, take quantifiable steps to bridge the disconnect and make your loyalty program about your customers rather than your brand. Targeted, relevant offers and true value-adding content are both important. Resist the urge to make the story all about you and instead focus on how you can make your customers’ lives easier (and not just by selling more product!).
     

  • Make customer retention a central part of your marketing. According to Gartner figures, the average marketing budget allots upward of 80% to customer acquisition, and less than 20% towards current customer engagement and retention. Certainly, customer acquisition is important—but if you’re not devoting many resources to your current customers, you may be missing out on an opportunity to strengthen relationships and increase revenue. Customer retention shouldn’t be the only focus of your marketing, but it shouldn’t be on the backburner, either.
     

  • Stay in front of the customers you have. Along those same lines, it’s important to focus on staying in front of your current customers. There are many ways to do this (just a few weeks ago, we spoke about the value of apps for this very reason), but the key takeaway is to be sure you’re developing initiatives that help you find new and innovative ways to stay top of mind with all your customers.

 

Of course, building customer loyalty is hard. We understand that! That’s why it’s so important to focus not only on marketing to new customers, but also retaining your current customers and fostering positive relationships with them. Executed correctly, a strategic marketing program can help your business do all of those things at once.

 

Need help solving the customer loyalty problem? We can help. With years of experience listening to your needs and over-delivering, we'd be happy to talk about unlocking your customers’ true potential. Contact us today.

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