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The Future of Loyalty Rests in Unexpected Places

If you think that social media, group buying and word-of-mouth are the key trends that will shape loyalty marketing in 2013, I’ve got a few new phrases for you: Friend, Blend, Spend; Glocalism; and MomPopolies.

These three terms each explain an emerging event on our horizon; a phenomenon with the potential to change the way we do business. Yet many marketers do not see these occurrences approaching, because they are preoccupied by more obvious trends such as the uncertain economy, mobile marketing and fickle consumers.

In short, these phenomena are just under the radar.

But just like an undetected storm, their stealth makes these events no less consequential to the course of loyalty marketing. Rather, those companies astute enough to identify and respond to these events in advance not only will ensure their own long-lasting fate; they will have a hand in shaping how marketers can influence consumer behavior.

COLLOQUY, the global research arm of LoyaltyOne, has in fact identified 10 such events that will define the future of loyalty marketing. In his report, “Under the Radar: Ten Trends Loyalty Marketers Might Not See Coming in 2013,” COLLOQUY Editorial Director Carlos Dunlap suggests that organizations might be distracted by the wrong problems.

“While business leaders strategize on how to manage location-based marketing, social media and the fiscal cliff – all while struggling to connect with customers who are rapidly losing interest – they may be missing 10 industry-changing trends that are emerging under the radar,” he writes.

I couldn’t agree more. Here is a glimpse of what Carlos outlines in his report:

1. Friend, blend, spend (the open-loyalty economy): Loyalty programs have become so abundant, and many so cookie-cutter, that consumers have come to see them as a commodity. As a result, members are expecting more cash-like rewards that are easier to redeem. Marketers have begun to respond, and the result is an emerging “open loyalty economy” of points sharing, pooling and universal redemption.

2. Glocalism: Many corporations sell the same products around the globe, but they tweak them slightly to accommodate different cultures and languages. That’s Glocalism. But under the radar, Glocalism represents how events on the other side of the globe, from natural disasters to financial turmoil, can affect businesses at home. It is, as Carlos describes, “the butterfly effect on fiber optic wings,” and companies need the infrastructure to respond.

3. The Rise of MomPopolies: This is a great time to be a small business. Online innovations from social media to transaction-processing technologies have essentially leveled the field for independent business. They’ve created what we call MomPopolies – Mom-and-Pop shops that have the engagement power to compete with major competitors, yet maintain their local edge.

So how do you respond to these phenomena? To read the report, and to learn of the other seven events taking place, visit www.colloquy.com/loyaltytrends.

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