The Personal Touch – Personalisation and Loyalty
There is a very real culture in Australian and New Zealand markets for recognition. The importance of an authentic campaign is integral to success, as we can sense an ‘impostor’ and in most cases, firmly reject it. How does this impact the planning of a strategic loyalty program?
It’s simple – your program design should go hand-in-hand with a deep understanding of your customers. Identification of your key customers directly leads to successful sales outcomes, and as such, the customers previous activities, preferences and behaviours should always be at the centre of a B2B loyalty and incentive program.
Who Are Your Customers?
We consider the target audience of any program to be the foundational piece of program design. The impact of how and when your program should be delivering communications will always funnel back to the people you’re aiming to connect with, and their resonance with your program depends entirely on demonstrating an understanding of who and why they’re here. We believe that it’s vital to move away from generic campaign communication, as not all customers are the same. Allowing for those differences makes a world of difference.
While it might sound like we’re treating this as a simple endeavour, there are operational challenges. Your data, ongoing relationships between cuctomers and your products or services, and the fluctuating market will all have an impact on how your customer segments will respond to your brand, as well as the development of any strategies. That’s the beauty of a loyalty or incentive program – development and implementation provides the opportunity to build ‘customer personas’.
What Are Customer Personas?
Broadly speaking, a persona is a group with similar attributes that represents a customer segment. Although it’s essential to constantly refer to your individual case, you can use a variety of description types while developing them.
For example, you might develop a business customer persona with a name (such as ‘Kev’), with defining demographics, a specific business category and details of how they engage with your business. You can group customers of similar types with similar behaviours and needs under this persona, and create different personas to group customers with different behaviours and needs. By having a greater understanding of the people who regularly interact with your business, you then develop the ability to more impactfully connect with them when and how they wish to interact, and demonstrate meaningful value to their needs.
This information isn’t infallible – generally, this will be taken from surveys, and may not show the entire picture. However, the questions asked or response rates will affect the true profile as it builds, and will continue to inform your customer personas and allow specific communications for them.
We take two vital parts of a loyalty program and weigh them against the entire program database, creating groups of similar customers and more importantly, the chance to communicate to them, not just on spend.
When Should You Be Checking In?
It is integral to monitor engagement within an incentive program, as this is a metric to determine success. If engagement dips within specific cohorts or personas aren’t engaging with the program destinations or communications, this will likely indicate that these customers are considering leaving the program, or may have already left. Obviously, this will then go on to seriously affect sales results.
The Apostle model, developed by Harvard, uses satisfaction as an indicator of customer groups and loyalty. By taking a similar view as with rates of transactions, activity and emotional interactions within the program, you can gain important insights.
An example could be that customers who are earning points but are low engagement with sales reps, or a lack of redemption, could be considered as hostages. They are doing business with the company but are stuck, perhaps due to contractual arrangements or other circumstances.
By consistently monitoring the engagement scores and percentage of the database within cohorts, you can gain vital insights and start deploying win-back or targeted offers, recognition or value-based communications to personas who may be losing traction within the program. This is something that we regularly factor into the
Why We Do It – The Power of Reward Redemption
The main purpose of your B2B loyalty or rewards program is to provide a sense of accomplishment or achievement for your loyal customers. It’s not specifically about the purchase or accumulation of points, but rather about a celebration of achieving success within a program that gives back to the customers who have consistently supported your business.
It is essential to get to that moment is paramount, and the best way to do that is through sales offers.
By celebrating the success of reward achievement and the effort taken to earn it, you receive additional important points of contact with your channel partners, as well as a way to further incentivise sales. These can be in the form of program or social media communications, and will likely drive further engagement for those who are active within the program, as well as the fact that customers who are frequent reward redeemers or point bankers are often brand advocates for your loyalty program.
The buy cycle will be influenced by spending behaviours, so if you can build an awareness of how often it occurs, you can leverage that into a successful communication campaign. Additionally, knowledge of the specific reward goals being targeted can assist your sales teams to tailor offers and guide prospects with additional prompting to push them towards the target.
All of this eventually boils down to sales effort. The higher balances are usually held by your top value customers and channel partners, and there are benefits to target these through a loyalty program. However, it is also likely that within these groups there may be an untapped market – customers who give the entirety of their share of wallet to your business. By devoting similar communication strategies to them, you have a new way to communicate with them as the loyal customers they are.
All communication that is sent to a loyalty program customer database should support the overall business marketing strategy. Great organisational communications teams know what they’re selling and can demonstrate the benefits of your products and brand.
A well-designed and fluid loyalty communication strategy lifts those messages by creating and sending relevant, targeted offers and to specific customer groups. The aim is to create brand advocacy built from moments all anchored to the ultimate outcome – rewarding moments for the customer.
If this blog has you questioning the demographics within your customer base, reach out today. B2B loyalty and reward programs are what we’ve devoted the last 25 years to – we’d love to share more with you.
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