Industry veteran on how loyalty managers create winning programs

We’ve built and overhauled more loyalty programs than we’ve had hot dinners.

It’s no job for the faint-hearted. The process involves forging close working relationships with internal loyalty managers, who have incredible insights into the workings of a loyalty program.

Genevieve is a classic example. We have worked with her for years to overhaul an existing loyalty program that wasn’t engendering the kind of loyalty that it was capable of.

Because she’s decided to be so open about her role, we decided not to name the company she works for. Though, you could guess.

Genevieve explains that loyalty programs are about looking for ways to value-add for customers.

Data segmentation

Segmenting data is a popular pastime for loyalty managers, who are constantly looking for new ways to reach their customers and understand their preferences.

“Segmentation is an area that’s really improving. We need to know a lot about each of our customers, including their favourite times to shop, how much money they spend, how far they’re travelling to get into our retail outlets and what triggers spending,” she says.

“I’ve got a business analyst background, so data is king. Working in loyalty requires you to have a sharp eye and know how to slice and dice data in ways to reveal as much as possible about your customers,” she says.

Loyalty terms and conditions

Genevieve does her homework – she says a key exercise for loyalty managers is to wade through the terms and conditions of existing loyalty programs. These often complex and cumbersome documents aren’t for the faint-hearted, with inclusions or exclusions able to make or break your entire program.

The process of point redemption and ensuring the program is transparent and easy to understand takes time and expert intervention from agencies like Incremental Marketing Group that understand the latest trends in loyalty, she says.

Communication preferences

It’s also about understanding whether customers would prefer to hear from you via email, snail mail or social media, she says.

Mass email communications aren’t going to cut it anymore.

Simplicity is best

Customers are also looking for brands that reward them more.

“It’s about giving you ways to earn more points or earn in other ways, which can engender fresh interest in your program,” Genevieve says.

Genevieve reminds businesses that encouraging spending doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. The best loyalty programs encourage spending and offer quick gratification.

For example, an office worker who takes staff coffee orders and ducks down to the local coffee shop – knows that she’s getting her 10th coffee for free, makes sense.

“This system is simple and effective because it encourages bulk orders,” she says.

If you’re looking for something a little more comprehensive than the 10th coffee for free approach, let us know! We’re good at unraveling the complicated 🙂

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