Key Trends and Challenges in Loyalty Marketing Today

ICLP, a global loyalty australia phone number agency, presents a new report aimed at marketing professionals in Spain, under the title of “Key trends and challenges in current loyalty marketing”. The report reviews the ten points to take into account when designing and implementing a loyalty marketing plan, in accordance with the current needs of consumers and new lifestyles.According to ICLP, the marketing industry must adapt in order to provide truly effective solutions to its customers. Your chances of achieving this increase if, for example, you increase your presence in social networks and communities, encourage so-called societing or relationships between consumers, encourage customer participation in loyalty programs or use new tools such as blogs, without forgetting to demonstrate the commitment to the environment. All this under the umbrella of simplification, taking advantage of the use of new technologies, in order to facilitate consumer enjoyment and not complicate an increasingly frantic lifestyle.Consumer needs are evolving at an accelerated rate, following emerging trends that reflect a new lifestyle, as well as the latest technological innovations. Marketers who want to capture the attention of such a changing target audience, while gaining their trust and loyalty, must not only keep up with trends, but also develop marketing programs that can really make their image of brand responds to consumer expectations.


1. Communities and Social NetworksAccording to Forrester Research, 69% of 18-21 year olds and 20% of adults have a profile in an online community. Recent studies have also shown that these members of online social networks also use the Internet to engage with brands.Savvy Australia Phone Number List take advantage of this fact to interact with the end consumer. Of course, those brands that generate more excitement are more successful than others. For example, Procter & Gamble’s ‘Vocal point’ program and KLM China’s ‘Expand your world’ put customers with similar shopping and travel habits in contact on a daily basis, allowing them to share experiences, tips and tricks or simply , meet somewhere.

2. Societing instead of marketingCustomers are not always looking for a one-to-one relationship with companies; many times they are more interested in socializing with other users of the same products.Marketing activities that reinforce this common space generate much more affective loyalty than direct personalized communication, which the client considers “false” or not really individual.French marketing professor Bernard Cova has created the word “societing” for loyalty initiatives that grant common space, rather than sending PR to the customer.

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3. Consumer Generated Content or how to empower itIn a Web 2.0 world, consumer generated content (UGC) allows consumers to find out “if the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence before deciding to switch to another brand or product ”(TheWiseMarketer. 2007). Consumer Generated Content appeared to be all the rage in 2006/07.From Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program, to Turkish financial institution Garanti, all offer programs based on customer-created content. And they have good reason for it: Consumers are in the game. The UGC program created by Aeroplan, in which members collaborated on the design of the program, won several industry awards.Thinking ahead, probably more loyalty marketers will try to attract customers or members through these types of initiatives.

4. Massive loyalty programs –GrowalitionLoyalty programs have become so popular, yet also ubiquitous, that consumers are increasingly looking for those that complement their day-to-day lives as consumers. The most obvious form of growth for existing loyalty programs is to expand into new and different areas, reaching strategic relationships with companies that are not competitors. Ernex, a Canadian loyalty company, created the word ‘Growalition’ to describe this phenomenon.In Spain, the best known program of this type is Travel Club, belonging to the Air Miles company. The Air Miles management team is the one who decides the type of services that its customers might want to consume (for example, hotels or car rental companies) and then negotiates alliances that mutually benefit both brands. New members can offer points in the currency of the Travel Club program, thereby benefiting everyone involved: (1) the loyalty program is becoming more and more known, thanks to the companies involved helping to spread the word, and (2) It is important for both existing and new members, who now have more ways to accumulate and redeem their points.In the future there will be more programs that will be developed thanks to the creation of coalitions of partners with profiles and compatible and complementary products, although this trend will be conditioned by strong competition between existing programs and the fact that the portfolio of members does not physically fit so many cards.

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5. IPOs and outsourcingAware of the inherent cost, loyalty programs could begin to become publicly traded companies. IPOs and spin-offs reveal the hidden values ​​of these types of initiatives and what they could mean for their members. In fact, selling your own loyalty program can mean a lot of money. This trend started in Canada: in 2005 Air Canada sold 12.5% ​​of its loyalty scheme, Aeroplan, to an independent investment company. This operation represented a figure of 250 million Canadian dollars. The program was valued at 2 billion Canadian dollars. So far there has been no other case of a similar IPO of a loyalty program. What is certain is that a growing number of companies have begun to separate their loyalty plans, that go from being an internal department of the company to an independent legal entity. This process, which provides loyalty marketing with greater transparency in costs and revenues, will make companies review the structural organization of their programs.

6. New communication technologies(mobiles and blogs) There are already “mobile communication” initiatives, through which closed groups, such as members of a loyalty program, can easily access (during a flight, in real time) prizes such as tickets to theme parks or links to access certain types of content. With regard to corporate blogs or blogs, the first to adopt them have been loyalty programs in the hotel sector (for example, the Marriot Awards, or Sheraton stories), allowing customers to comment or make complaints related to new products or promotions.After all, loyalty programs will end up using blogs as a quick and inexpensive way to do consumer research, using them as focus groups.

7. Environmental ethicsIt is no longer enough to declare that it is a company committed to the environment to differentiate itself from the rest, since this is something like a no-brainer. Consumers will ask for more proof that a company or brand is actually reducing its carbon emissions. Loyalty programs have proven to be the ideal way to convey this type of message. Some examples: UK supermarket chain Tesco is helping to save the planet through its “Green Clubcard Points” programs, rewarding members with points every time they reuse bags, rather than ordering new ones at the checkout. Another trend that is becoming fashionable among loyalty programs is offering initiatives that counteract the effects of carbon.These programs enable members to make the planet a better place to live, using their points to contribute to environmental initiatives. One piece of information: typing in the Google search engine “carbon offset loyalty program” there are more than 200,000 entries …

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8. Loyalty Marketing = Customer InvolvementWhereas in the past loyalty marketing focused on ‘customer satisfaction’ and later on ‘customer retention’, the current trend is ‘customer engagement’. The Economist research department recently defined customer engagement as “creating a deeper and more meaningful connection between the company and the customer, also extending over time.” Loyalty marketing is about creating relationships that create links. And games and educational leisure are becoming a fundamental tool to achieve them …

9. Games and Educational LeisureNew technologies make it possible to get the customer’s involvement sooner and more easily through leisure and fun initiatives on the Internet. There will be more online games and more television contests that will attract audiences to interact and to spend more quality time interacting with the show, without increasing investment in marketing.There will be a growing number of programs that will add online games to their loyalty product range, using them as “educational entertainment” packages for their members.

10. Back to basics: simplify, simplify and simplifyIn the United States, loyalty programs have been in operation for more than twenty years. The European consumer has a shorter history, but has known and used loyalty cards for approximately ten years. In other words: loyalty programs originate in the pre-internet period.This ‘legacy’ has crept into an increasingly fast-paced world, forcing programs to adapt. In this sense, the programs become “lighter”, becoming easier to use – with new and simplified structures – or reducing prohibitive conditions – unlimited value of points. Being more effective, simpler and more fluid are the key concepts for program designers for years to come.


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