As an addendum to our Trends issue that hit your mailboxes this week, we thought you’d be interested in what Loyalty 360 has to say about customer loyalty trends for 2011. You’ll see a lot of familiar words, like “engage,” “relevancy,” and “experience” — concepts that we’ve been talking about for the past two issues. Social gaming makes the list as well. Let us know how you plan to integrate these concepts into your meetings and events in 2011 and we’ll spread the word!
1. Marketers will increasingly understand that loyalty is not a program – it is a journey and a strategic business goal. True loyalty is based on a total customer experience. Loyalty initiatives will focus on engagement and building long-term relationships
2. Loyalty will focus more on emotions than on rational, incentive-based initiatives. Behavioral economists tell us that economic decision-making is 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational. The emotional side of the decision making process creates connected, passionate, engaged customers.
3. Companies will increasingly look at how customer engagement and employee engagement work together to drive bottom line results. A 2009 Gallup poll found that those in the upper half on customer engagement get a 70 percent boost in bottom-line results.
4. Voice of the customer programs are an important strategy for brands and Loyalty 360 expects to see greater focus on them in 2011. “Getting closer to the customer” is a top business strategy and area of focus.
5. Relevancy will be a key driving force of customer loyalty, engagement. Today’s customers want loyalty programs to be “about me” – individual, relevant, meaningful, etc. Brands need to use the information they collect strategically to show customers they’re listening and give them what they’re asking for.
6. Marketers will take a more strategic look at in-the-moment marketing, looking at how best to use all the customer touchpoints including mobile.
7. Goal of customer loyalty initiatives will be to engage customers. Marketers now realize that although spend and number of transactions are important, customer engagement is the holy grail for loyalty initiatives. Because with engagement comes loyalty, advocacy, trust, passion – the soft side of the customer relationships that directly impacts the bottom line.
8. Cause-related marketing/corporate social responsibility programs that are aligned with strategic corporate goals will effectively drive loyalty – especially with Millennials.
9. Marketers will integrate social gaming into their loyalty initiatives. Traditional incentive-based marketing does not drive the level of consumer participation that can be achieved via gaming – and it’s this sought-after participation that builds lasting relationships, engagement, brand affinity, and brand loyalty.