For love or money - how to leverage loyalty

You might remember my blog post from last December that talked about the customer loyalty theory of my mate, Adam Posner.

Well he’s all fired up again about his latest research, for love or money 2015.

In his latest consumer pulse check, 58% of loyalty program members believe a brand must have a program to foster loyalty. 

And under 34-year-olds are even more rusted on: 71% of them say a program is vital.

Although 42% don’t believe a brand needs a program, they still want to feel loyalty for an organisation. They just don’t want “free stuff” thrown at them. For this group, marketers need to look at other drivers of loyalty, such as ethical behaviour and stakeholder engagement.

But there is no denying the power of a well-shaped program. In 2015, 84% of Australians are enrolled in at least one loyalty program – with the average subscription being 3.8 programs. Of those with a membership, 82% said they tend to buy more from those companies.

What do members want from a program?

• 53% want rewards for completing your survey
• 46% want rewards for reading your emails – this jumps to 61% for under 35s!
• 81% want cash-based rewards
• 68% prefer the slow burn to higher value than an immediate low-value reward.

Companies appear to be getting the message: programs need to be meaningful to members and provide real benefits that members want. This year 48% of program members feel their programs have improved. That’s a 17% increase on the 2013 results.

The top four benefits ranked as very important by program members are:

1. immediate price discounts when making a purchase
2. redemption of points for vouchers, products or other rewards
3. exclusive member-only offers
4. surprise gifts and rewards that arrive without redeeming points.

What not to do

While some loyalty programs are doing well, others get the thumbs down. A whopping 26% of members believe their loyalty programs “don’t understand how to communicate appropriately.”

To these marketing managers the advice is loud and clear.

• stop blasting irrelevant communications at members
• it’s not about you, so stop telling members how great you are
• members don’t give a toss about ‘status tiers’.

An effective loyalty program can give your brand a competitive advantage. It can lead to members buying from you more often – and spending more when they do.

A program that’s humming the right tune builds customer loyalty, engagement and retention.

for love or money 2015 is joint consumer research commissioned by Directivity and Citrus, undertaken by First Point Research and Consulting. The full report can be viewed at theloyaltypoint.com.au