Automate or Die! Part II
The value of loyalty marketing in a down economy We all know it’s more economical to retain and build brand loyalty with current customers rather than find and cultivate new ones. After all, you’ve already invested a significant amount of time, money and resources into building a relationship with your customers and ensuring they are satisfied. Plus, it just makes sense to work with those you already know… and who know you. And that has never been more true than in a down economy.
A high-value loyalty marketing program is one strategy that can help you engage with – and reward – your loyal and near-loyal customers, while putting you in a better position to grow your business. Not only are these customers more likely to want to use any new products and services you have to offer, but they are more likely to sing your praises – as a reference or through word-of-mouth – to additional prospective customers.
Effective loyalty marketing starts with actively mining your database to identify the right targets. By doing so, you will be able to create smart, targeted marketing campaigns that drive a specific response, are on brand and strategy, and ensure continuity and value across the customer lifecycle.
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The next step is to define your goals. By clarifying what you want to accomplish, you’ll be able to quickly determine which programs will deliver the results you are seeking. Loyalty programs are most often used to help create a better product or service engagement, value or satisfaction for customers. They can also help deliver better customer service through personal attention, position the company as a credible source, support cross-selling and up-selling efforts, drive referrals from advocates, reduce churn, and increase total customer lifetime value.
Loyalty program options
With goals in mind, next you select which BtoB loyalty marketing programs will be most appropriate for your customers and your objectives. Here’s just a sampling of the most common ones:
- Educational programs offer customers exclusive, customizable content through, for example, webinars and newsletters that will help them run their business better.
- Lifecycle/early life programs touch customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle – from acquisition and engagement (using discounts, offers, and cross-selling), to retention (using upgrade programs and volume rebating) and advocacy (using referrals and surveys).
- Saves and winback programs target at-risk customers who have declining interest in your company or are thinking of defecting, and help win back those who have left.
- Up-sell/cross-sell programs aim to increase the volume of products or services each customer buys from you, expanding a customer’s share of wallet and stickiness, while driving sales and building stronger loyalty.
- Value up-sell programs are specifically designed for high-spending customers who have the greatest growth potential within your company.
- Partner programs, like rewards and volume-discounts, target resellers who sell your products and are registered members of your partner community.
- A third-party forum is an exclusive member-only community that allows for an exchange of ideas and hosts customer-only thought leadership material.
- Incentive programs, like referral programs or sweepstakes, offer discounts to customers and business or channel partners.
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From execution to results
Once you’ve selected what type of program you want to offer, it’s time to execute. Use the following key strategies to effectively translate your loyalty concept to program results.
First, don’t limit yourself to a single program message. Create as many versions of the program as is necessary to effectively reach and motivate all the audiences. Next, create a sense of exclusivity around the programs to make customers want to join – this can be done by making services and experiences as unique as possible, based on customer interests and available budget. Finally, map out guidelines for how you will select and communicate to members. Communication is key to keeping members engaged: regularly informing them of their status and how it will translate into benefits and rewards.
Once you have the programs identified, you will need to consider how they’ll be maintained. Build out a plan that details what applications and resources you’ll need to support each program’s infrastructure. You will also want to track the success of the program as it unfolds. Be sure to identify what you want to measure – like your net promoter score, volume of spend, or profitability and reach – and how this data will be captured in your database.
We hope these tips and best practices will help you create your own loyalty marketing program. If you are looking for guidance on how to setup a program or need a partner to walk you through the process, we’re happy to help. Contact Arketi at firstname.lastname@example.org.