How to Become a Meaningful B2B Brand with Customer Loyalty
How to Become a Meaningful B2B Brand with Customer Loyalty Rewards
Like so many other things, the Internet has changed brand value and brand positioning. Whereas before, brands were lucky if one pithy little slogan could be associated with them, these days brands boast complex, fully-developed personalities. Today, people have more personal relationships with brands, since marketing has become more individually targeted and people have plenty of information to research when choosing brands to do business with. Becoming a meaningful brand is the foundation of securing loyal customers in today’s business world. In this article, we’ll explore how customer loyalty programs can help business-to-business (B2B) companies make their brands more meaningful to their customers.
The Importance of B2B Customer Retention
One of the ways sales channel businesses use customer loyalty programs is to reward their distributors, contractors and other B2B partners for doing business with them. But supply chain businesses should be doing more with customer loyalty programs than encouraging partners to get high-margin and overstocked products off shelves. They should be using rewards to reinforce customer retention strategies and promote a consistent, meaningful brand message and relationship.
Studies compiled by Salesforce have shown that:
- A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 125%.
- A 2% increase in customer retention is the equivalent of decreasing costs by 10%.
- Acquiring a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than keeping a current one.
These stats are especially important for B2B companies, who rely on a small number of customers to stay in business. In B2B markets, for instance, up to 50% of companies go five years without introducing new suppliers for a product. Failing to communicate a brand message and losing customers is unfortunate for B2C companies. For B2B companies, it can be catastrophic.
Using B2B Customer Loyalty Rewards Strategically
One of the mistakes B2B companies make is assuming that customer complacency and customer loyalty are the same thing. A warehouse, for instance, may stick with the same brand of fork lift for years simply to cut training, maintenance and spare parts costs. The warehouse might be inconvenienced by switching brands, but that doesn’t mean they’re brand-loyal. Should they ever have a problem with that brand’s fork lift, they might wake up from their ambivalent daze and go running to the nearest, cheapest competition.
To avoid the scenario described above, B2B organizations can use customer loyalty rewards in the following ways:
Show Your Appreciation to Loyal Customers with Milestone Rewards
Reward customers for milestones such as being your B2B partner for five years or purchasing $5,000 worth of products from you. Remind them how important their business is to you and your brand will come to carry more meaning for them.
Encourage Knowledge and Understanding of Your Brand with Online Training Rewards
Offer rewards to distributor and contractor customers for completing online training that makes them more confident in their knowledge of your products, services, policies and brand promises. Knowledge equals power; it also equals meaning.
Allow Open Enrollment to Your Customer Loyalty Program
Use open registration features, such as Loyaltyworks’ Open Enrollment module, so that as many of your B2B customers as possible can join your customer loyalty program. Without needing an email invite, they can simply register at their discretion with their contact information. Not only does this benefit you by allowing you to establish more brand meaning and customer loyalty with them, but you can also build a database of customer information to improve marketing and analytics.
Make Your Customer Loyalty Rewards Mobile-Friendly
Use mobile app technology to communicate with on-the-go distributors and contractors in real-time. This way, they can instantly receive updates on products and reward promotions. Mobile communication makes life more convenient, especially for those in the B2B world who often spend time in the field. And, as studies indicate, convenience is one of the best ways to endear your brand to today’s customers.
Integrate Your Loyalty Program with Your Website
Integrate your customer loyalty program with your existing Web presence. Align site content with your customer loyalty program, streamline your message and reinforce your particular brand position. As customers visit your site more often, they will become more familiar with what your brand stands for, develop more positive associations with you, and thus your brand will become more meaningful to them.
In the B2C world, customer loyalty is important and, in the B2B world, customer loyalty is everything. If you operate a business whose sales channel set-up doesn’t facilitate much direct contact or marketing to your channel partners, you can use customer loyalty rewards as a way to increase awareness and understanding of your brand and your goals, which will make you more meaningful to your B2B customers. The more meaningful you are to your customers, the more reluctant they will be to ever leave you.
CEO of The Incentive Solutions Group of companies, consisting of:
- Incentive Solutions, Inc.
Direct Contact: 678-514-0203
Sales Hotline: (800)-844-5000