Promote Meaningful Brand Value with Customer Loyalty Programs
In today’s crowded marketplaces, in which traditional means of capturing customers’ attention has become more costly and less effective, businesses must learn to redefine their marketing in order to retain loyal customers. According to a 2015 article in The Guardian, there are three types of meaningful brand value that can help businesses stand out in marketplaces:
- Marketplace benefits: value from products or services
- Personal benefits: how a brand benefits individual customers
- Collective benefits: how the brand benefits society
Marketing strategies that focus on these three types of value can establish customer loyalty and gain market share by engaging, helping and connecting to customers meaningfully. Loyalty marketing—or marketing through customer loyalty programs—is one of the ways brands can promote all three types of value.
1. Marketplace Benefits: Offer bonus loyalty rewards for buying improved products.
Product or service quality is the most important differentiator you can have, but your quality improvements mean nothing if customers aren’t experiencing those improvements. You can shout your product or service benefits from the rooftops, but often customers need a little extra incentive to shake them out of their long-held purchasing habits. Using an online customer loyalty program, you can offer online bonus points to customers for purchasing certain products and they can spend those points in an online catalog featuring millions of merchandise, event ticket and travel rewards.
Not only can loyalty marketing help you push your products out if you’re the product supplier, it can mutually benefit you and your manufacturers if you’re a product dealer or distributor in a sales channel. You can run regular promotions in your customer loyalty program, rewarding bonus points to customers for purchasing your vendors’ products. The marketing benefits extend to you and your suppliers both, ensuring that the suppliers continue participating and the loyalty program earns high returns on investment.
2. Personal Benefits: Provide desirable loyalty rewards and technology that simplifies redemptions.
The most immediately apparent benefit of customer loyalty program is the personal benefit. The idea of immense online reward catalogs is that they contain enough items that everyone can find something extremely desirable for them, personally. A client of Atlanta-based customer loyalty program provider Loyaltyworks described his experience with a loyalty program’s personal benefits: “One of our participants told me, ‘Thanks to your loyalty program, I was able to put a couple of iPads under the Christmas tree for my kids.’”
You can go the extra mile in extending personal benefits to customers by making loyalty programs available through mobile apps. Particularly for busy participants like sales channel dealers, distributors and contractors, the ability to send purchase validation instantly through mobile camera and UPC scanning capabilities drastically cuts down on reward redemption wait times. The more personal benefits participants derive from your program, the more likely they are to become loyal customers.
3. Collective Benefits: Promote socially beneficial products and allow loyal customers to donate rewards
According to a recent Nielsen survey, 66% of customers around the world prefer to do business with companies that “give back to society.” One of the ways you can use loyalty marketing to establish collective, societal benefits is by offering customers rewards for purchasing socially beneficial products. This increases customer awareness of your organic, natural, cruelty-free, locally-made or energy-conserving products.
Another way loyalty marketing can help you establish your brand’s collective benefits is the ability to include charities and non-profit organizations in your reward catalog. In other words, customers can spend their reward points on donations to organizations such as the Humane Society or the Red Cross. Even if customers choose not to donate their points, they can see every time they visit your reward catalog that you are a company that prioritizes investments in charitable causes and giving back to society.
Information is everywhere and easy to obtain; therefore, today’s marketing strategies should focus on demonstrating brand benefits rather than offering knowledge customers can already access themselves. The best way to establish differentiation is to prove you can provide brand value a meaningful customer experience. Loyalty marketing can help businesses demonstrate three important types of brand value by:
- Providing incentives to purchase improved products
- Allowing B2B dealers and distributors to promote their suppliers’ products
- Offering rewards that have personal value to program participants
- Making reward redemption easier with a loyalty program mobile app
- Promoting socially beneficial products
- Allowing customers to donate reward points to charitable and non-profit organizations
As you focus your customer loyalty program marketing strategies on demonstrating brand benefits, your brand will take a more meaningful hold in customers’ minds.