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Resolving to be a Better Loyalty Marketer: 2015

imagesMost people end the year resolving to become healthier, fitter and kinder. In 2015, my resolution is to help loyalty marketing do the same, but without skipping on little indulgences.

Small delights keep us happy and engaged, after all. This applies to loyalty experiences as much as it does to a glass of champagne at the end of a transformative year. So as 2014 closes, let’s raise our collective glasses to 2015 and all it can be. Here are my four resolutions:

Be a smoothie: Thanks to the adoption of loyalty apps, the barriers that existed between the consumer and her program activity – a computer, an in-store purchase, even a phone call – have been replaced with devices that can connect us on the fly. As a result, consumer expectations are shifting. Loyalty interactions now need to be seamless: offering real-time rewards through card-linked services and delivering relevant offers through beacons and other in-store tracking technologies. All such functions should be automatic, with the consumer’s permission, of course.

The increase in wearable devices is only going to make this all the more critical in the future.

Empower the consumer: Technology gives marketers so many ways to reach the consumer, so the need to exercise restraint is crucial. Instead of sending promotions at every turn, which turns the customer off, we should focus our resources on crafting product-specific messages based on customer requests. Doing this means inviting loyalty members to collaborate; encouraging them to specify the types of offers they prefer, how they’d like them delivered and at what times. By empowering the consumer, brands can gain greater trust and acquire ambassadors.

Feel secure: The proliferation of mobile wallets has led to increased security concerns, but these issues should not burden consumers who simply want to connect with a favored brand. Best practices require we choose mobile payments processors that can produce proven case studies, that use reliable security methods and that understand the importance of using data to the customer’s advantage. Ideally, employees also will have devices to process requests and purchases, as well as to simply understand the experience. Because the ultimate purpose of mobile processing, along with saving costs, it is to deliver better experiences.

Get re-engaged: Engaging the customer once is not necessarily difficult; it is re-engagement that takes work. For this loyalty marketers are best off relying on tailored data that is collected only after determining the desired customer experience. We should ask: What is our brand about? What is our mission? Why do our customers want to interact with us? The next step is to share the process with the customer; explaining not only that we collect this information, but also how it benefits them. The experience challenge is a personal one – it’s not about presenting ourselves to the masses, but how we shape an experience for each customer.

If these resolutions indicate one thing, it is that loyalty marketing today is much bigger than a mere program. That is a development in which we all should indulge. As we raise our glasses, let’s also rise to the occasion. All the best for 2015!

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