To anyone paying attention to the evolution of the loyalty marketing space, it is increasingly clear that not all loyalty programs are right for all customers. One size does not fit all! The bar has been raised for what individualized loyalty programs can look like—and loyalty professionals attending the 2019 Loyalty Expo last month in Charlotte, NC, heard this theme repeated throughout three days of sessions.

Consumers Expect Customization

Almost 85% of consumers who participate in loyalty programs expect more personalization. Yes, they are looking for more personalized offers tailored to their shopping preferences and needs. They like to receive individualized points summaries and updates about their membership tier status. 82.5% of marketers say that their consumers are demanding personalization, but customer expectations for expanding personalization also now include ‘individualized loyalty structures’ designed around their needs. Today’s loyalty members prefer a rewards benefit structure that offers choices for earning and redeeming rewards that are meaningful to them. Meeting these expectations requires listening to the voices of customers and unlocking data insights to achieve a better understanding of their behavior and what features will meet their needs.

Transforming your loyalty program to move away from the utilitarian “earn and burn” points structure towards an individualized benefit structure is often challenging, but brands that have made the change have found that they reap significant benefits as a result. Those brands that have shifted to individualized benefit structures can see their efforts engage members in more impactful, emotional ways.

Brands Making the Change

DSW Rewards members can earn points for emptying their closets of lightly worn shoes. The member shoe and rewards donation program creates many great feel-good stories to share, and allows the brand to make deeper connections with members.

The Foot Locker FLX Reward program features enviable rewards like concert tickets. Rewards like these provide chances to connect with the brand beyond the store/shopping environments, creating memorable experiences that tie back to the Foot Locker brand while also providing strong, sharable social media content.

Telus, Canada’s largest telecom company, employs a rewards program that gives members flexible options on how to use their earned points. They can enter a sweepstakes to win unique trips, pay down monthly bills, watch on-demand movies, and redeem points for gift cards or accessories featured in their catalog. Members can also engage their own altruism, using points to make charitable contributions.

Beyond the Brand Comfort Zone

To meet these evolving customer expectations, brands are expanding beyond their main services and products—as part of a larger effort to embed their brands into the fabric of customers’ lifestyles.

These new loyalty programs will be best designed by listening to customer voices, utilizing data to better understand their behavior, shaping benefits around their individual expectations, and connecting them to your brands through emotional, inspiring experiences.

Because of the significant needs of marketers and the ever-changing loyalty landscape, it’s important to work with knowledgeable, efficient partners. The loyalty team at SPC is committed to helping our customers navigate their loyalty marketing efforts in direct mail, and I’m happy to talk through these insights and more—and how we can partner with you to take your brand’s personalized loyalty program to the next level.

 

Gil Bathgate
Vice President, Loyalty

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