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Three Unfulfilled Promises of Loyalty Marketing

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Three Unfulfilled Promises of Loyalty Marketing
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Mark Cavendish is the fastest person in the world on two wheels. At the moment, the professional cyclist, riding for HTC Highroad, holds the lead in the sprinter’s competition in the Tour de France and is a favorite to hang on to the “green jersey” until the race wraps up next Sunday in Paris.

With all due respect to the accomplishments of Mr. Cavendish, there’s still a larger prize to be won, and the sprint competition is a subset of the overall picture in cycling’s greatest race. He’s a critical and fascinating part of the Tour de France story this year as are other similar “races within the race”, i.e. the King of the Mountains, Best Young Rider, Best Team, and some others.

In the business world, similar phenomena take place. The genre of data-driven marketing programs known as Loyalty Marketing were launched in earnest in 1981 and have been evolving steadily over the past 25 years. Throughout this time, there have been a number of subplots, some forgettable (online currencies like Flooz and Beenz) and some significant (1 to 1 Marketing, Word of Mouth Marketing, Deal of the Day).

The important thing to remember is that there’s a big race to be won, and the outcome is still in doubt. Winners are yet to be determined. Some of the “subplots” over past years have been precipitated by payment innovation (smart cards, contactless payment), regulatory/legislative issues (merchant funded rewards, whatever is to come post-Durbin), technology (Customer Relationship Management) or just plain visionary thinking (1 to 1 Marketing).

Today we are experiencing yet another phase of marketing development and, as in the past, the focus of brands, markets, and investment capital is on tactical options that can change how we communicate and deliver value to customers while macro themes are set aside. The current obsession with social loyalty, location based marketing, game based engagement programs, and deal of the day plans like Groupon are examples drawing the market’s attention.

You might be surprised to hear this sort of talk from Loyalty Truth. After all, we’ve invested ourselves to help brands “get ahead of the transaction” and successfully engage with Customer 2.0. To be clear, there is no inconsistency in our thinking, rather an unwavering commitment to help fulfill the greatest promises of data-driven customer strategy.

The three biggest unfulfilled promises of Loyalty Marketing from our viewpoint are the under-utilization of customer data collected, the failure to deliver personalization and relevancy through two-way dialogue between brand and customer, and the shortcoming of Loyalty Marketers to apply what they know works to meet objectives across a Customer Lifecycle.

At Loyalty Truth, we will continue to learn, test and advocate for how best to incorporate new technology and communication channels into customer-facing marketing programs. At the same time, we’ll keep our eyes on the big prize as we apply the benefits of these new tactics, technologies, and channels.

After all, if Cavendish could pull it off, he’d rather have both a Green and a Yellow jersey to wear at the end of the bike race.



Three Words for Customer Loyalty in 2017

Three Words for Customer Loyalty in 2017

The 3 Words Process Each year, Loyalty Truth completes an exercise to select 3 words that we believe will define the course of the Customer Loyalty business over the next 12 [...]

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