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The future of loyalty marketing

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The future of loyalty marketing

On August 16, 2011, Posted by , In Mike Pilcher, By , With No Comments

The future of loyalty marketing combines Big Data being delivered to Big User populations with Mobile access. How do these elements come together into a single, extremely focused solution? Not with traditional loyalty programs or card schemes. It’s not about blindly blasting offers to customers in the hopes of a few more sales. It has to be more strategic than that. It has to demonstrate your company’s loyalty to your customers.

The most profitable customers are the ones you already have. Why? Because getting new customers is expensive. They have a low yield and a high churn. Focusing on existing customers, the ones that really understand you, and being loyal to them is the best way to increase relationships, maximise wallet share and profits.

Yesterday’s one-to-one marketing was akin to busking on the sidewalk, yelling at everyone who passed by. It was uninformed. It was blunt. That’s not a conversation, it’s not a way to engender loyalty, and it’s not a way to increase profits.

Today’s two-way marketing is based on understanding the customer, on having a dialog with them, on making them the right offer at the right time and in the right place. And on using what you learn from that dialog and those offers to inform future offers.

This requires a lot of data — Big Data as it’s often termed. From electronic point of sale to mobile and location, card to NFC, device data to social network data, more and more varieties are now available for analytics. All of this helps us understand what our customers are doing, when, how, and where they’re doing it.

But it’s hard to mine. Big Data alone is not enough. We need to get information from it so we can derive insight and take action, for ourselves and our customers.

That requires Big Data be accessible across the company — Big User populations. Data is worthless if the right member of your company doesn’t have access at the right time to make the right offer. But in the hands of your store manager, of your call center agent, of your brand managers, the full value of your data becomes available and your whole operation becomes intelligent.

Technology is no longer a bottleneck — your customers have gone mobile. That’s what lets you deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time, in the right place, and at the right price. For example, one of SAND’s customers is able to deliver “next best offers” in real time. If exactly what they want isn’t available, the system can deliver alternative options that might suit them just as well. The improvement in conversion is dramatic.

A free cup of hot chocolate isn’t a great offer in downtown New York City in the middle of a heat wave. A Wall Street Journal discount isn’t a great offer to someone on their way to a night time ballgame. A 7pm beer is a much more intelligent offer than a 7am beer. So is a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s eve, or a Wall Street Journal on the way to work.

How do you make intelligent offers, create ongoing and profitable dialogs with customers, and do it all without having to implement a costly loyalty card scheme? I just did a webinar on that very topic, and I’m offering it to you right here, right now. Give it a look.

– [The 3 Keys to Loyalty Marketing in 2012 and Beyond](http://www.sand.com/webinar-3-keys-loyalty-marketing-2012/)

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