Money can’t buy love, but loyalty marketers have always counted on bestowing points on those who buy, and they in turn use points on rewards. By doing this, companies hope consumers will return for more... and more. But offering rewards for purchase behaviour — “Buy this, and I’ll give you that,” — is no longer enough in a competitive marketplace where products are commoditized and loyalty programs are ubiquitous. Behavioural measurement is at the core of loyalty programs and is as valuable today as ever, but... it’s not enough.

In a competitive market where loyalty programs are ubiquitous, brands must set themselves apart to drive customer experiences to build real relationships. It’s about distilling smart, customer-centric data to deliver a customer experience that not only rewards them, but transforms them into brand ambassadors.

We believe marketers need to look at the customer more holistically — across all interactions and across the purchase cycle — to better shape the customer journey and drive brand loyalty. In other words, organizations must find creative ways to use their loyalty programs to foster attitudinal loyalty; to build and capitalize on the emotional connections engaged customers have with their preferred brands.

Real loyalty isn’t just created at the checkout counter, but at every touch point, before and after purchase. If you want true customer intimacy instead of a quid pro quo, you must reward these interactions — not just the transaction. Gathering and analyzing interaction data helps develop a holistic, real-time view of the customer throughout the buying cycle, not just at the point of purchase, and on multiple channels from in-store to smartphone apps. Who will have the ultimate competitive advantage? Those companies who build trust with consumers and provide better experiences through the use of multi-dimensional insights at pivotal moments in time, beyond just the transaction.