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Loyalty Marketing Evolved: The Growing Need to Achieve Front of Wallet Brand Positioning

It has become increasingly difficult to catch and hold the attention of customers, let alone influence their buying decisions, with traditional loyalty marketing programs. The travel industry, for example, has seen a steep decline in brand loyalty, with just 8% of customers loyal to one hotel brand and 14% of passengers consistently using the same airline.

Is loyalty marketing dead? “Definitely not,” says David Rosen, Head of Strategy, Analytics and Consumer Insights at TIBCO Loyalty Lab. “However, brands need to move beyond basic offers in order to connect and influence customers in an increasingly competitive loyalty environment.”

“Loyalty programs right now are in a world of clutter—too many brands have reward programs. Households are members of so many that they can’t even keep track,” Rosen said. “A great rewards programs has to be able to stand above the noise”.

He advises; “Yours has to become the brand your customers want to have a relationship with. Since everyone has reward programs now, customers are forced to prioritize.”

That prioritization means loyalty marketing decisions now have a number of factors for customers, beyond the hottest offer or greatest deal.

This is the challenge facing businesses across the loyalty marketing landscape. It’s not enough to simply offer a points or discounts. Brands need to focus on four pillars essential to customer loyalty marketing in order to connect, convince and convert a sought-after customer:

  • Simple, compelling, relevant offers
  • Real time marketing / right time offer delivery
  • Ease of communication
  • Next generation analytics capabilities

“It’s comparable to credit cards,” Rosen said. Consumers keep the cards used most often—their preferred brands—in the front of their wallet for easiest access.

“How do you move to the front of the wallet?” he asked. “Not only do you need to be compelling enough for them to sign up, but you now have to be so compelling that they think of your program first.”

Loyalty marketing certainly isn’t dead. Its evolution, though, has put customers in the driver’s seat and calls for marketers to be at the top of their game. Across email campaigns, social channels, mobile apps and elsewhere around the web, brands need to connect in meaningful ways in order to stay at the front of the wallet.

Customers participating in loyalty programs expect value in exchange for the information they share with companies, Rosen points out. This doesn’t always mean the steepest discount or hottest deal. Personalization and the presentation of the right offer, at the right time, ensure a meaningful and rewarding shopping experience for the customer.

How have you upped your brand’s loyalty program to stay ‘front of wallet’? Please share your thoughts.


By: Katherine Hatch, Marketing Content & Community Manager at TIBCO Loyalty Lab.


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