Gamification is a buzzword that keeps growing in popularity around customer engagement and brand loyalty. As a result, many brands are asking the question, “Is gamification worth the hype and should I invest in a gamification strategy?”
Today’s loyalty landscape is saturated with the typical spend and get model. With “86% of loyalty marketers us[ing] points and 75% us[ing] instant cash-back or discounts in their program1,” customers are yearning for brands to “wow” them with a differentiated experience. In order to win, brands need to think beyond the status quo to elevate their customer loyalty.
As CPGs continue to navigate the direct-to-consumer landscape and finding ways to improve their customer experience and campaigns, loyalty continues to be the primary tactic to enable personalization, increased engagement and customer growth.
Successful brands use data to direct business strategy, optimise customer journeys and craft relevant content to build long-term relationships. The beauty of loyalty is it’s the most influential mechanism for capturing customer data while operating within data privacy regulations because the fundamental principle of loyalty is a customer willingly volunteers their data in exchange for benefits. As they opt-in to the terms of the program, marketers can serve up offers and content that helps emotionally bond the customer to the brand. However, many brands are struggling to pull insights from their data from which to build the strategy and campaigns to make their data come to life for them.
To start their data and insights strategy, marketers should consider their primary goals, likely personalisation, comprehensive view of customer, customer growth, churn reduction, etc., from which to establish KPIs that align with business needs. These KPIs go beyond loyalty program mechanics and metrics to affect all business units, from operations carrying out customer experience to merchandising determining the products to feature to marketing as a whole in making acquisition more cost-effective.
The point to remember is that the goal of both technology and strategies is to make data useful. This may require that some data is pared away or left unused. As such, the platforms and strategies that brands choose to adopt should focus on structuring data into unified, accessible views that will enable the team to design successful strategies.
As personalization becomes more important to customers, marketers are searching for the holy grail of delivering individualized experiences to customers. Content, experiences, offers geared toward one person are significantly likely not only to increase customer spend, but their emotional bond with a brand.
To go beyond brand is a sure path to habituating your business within your customer’s daily lifestyle. And doing so requires you to think outside your main product and service offerings by stretching your content and offers and partnering with “extender” brands.
Marketing across digital and physical channels today is not easy. There are so many aspects for marketers to consider and manage - from brand building to acquisition to retention, from mobile to social to communities, and from customer satisfaction to customer experience and more. Gartner does a great job of documenting all the marketing touchpoints in this daunting transit map:
Unfortunately, we’ve all seen what can happen when our favorite brands fall into the discounting cycle. Every day is a sale that fails to differentiate the brand from the other stores that are all having 40% off, which continually erodes margins and can cut into the quality of the product at best, severe liability and disenfranchisement at worst. The discounting approach typically attracts the low value customers who are likely to jump to another brand as soon as a comparable sale comes around.
Make no mistake here – we’re not suggesting brands do away with points or get rid of currency entirely. You can make your program look like whatever you want it to. What we’re suggestion is thinking outside of points in terms of structuring your loyalty program. Many brands hesitate to implement a traditional program because of the liability that may be associated with points. This requires marketers to gain additional buy-in and expertise from their financial and legal teams. Or, some brands see points-based loyalty as another deep discount mechanism that lacks differentiation from one business to the next.
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