Every marketer loves to win - and an often-used measure of success is new customer acquisition. It's no wonder we spend so much time (and money!) trying to answer: What are the best channels, messages and timing to acquire and engage new customers?
Though it will always be critical to fill the funnel, it's equally important - and most would agree less expensive - to make sure your existing customers are happy. Of course, loyalty programs have been around for ages (toys in Happy Meals, buy-one-get-one-free perks, come-back coupons handed over following a purchase, or credit card points). But, customer loyalty programs and other retention tactics are as much about customer service as they are about rewards.
In addition, Brand Keys, the company behind the Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) released the 19th survey in 2015, in which they say consumer expectations have increased by 28% across the 64 categories. (Forbes, Brand Keys) In 2015, new categories were App-based Ridesharing and Breakfast Bars. If you're a fan of some of these brands, you're among others who pledge their loyalty this year.
Brand Keys 2016 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Snapshot (Source)
Why is a customer loyalty program - one that offers benefits to customers who make repeat purchases or spend their time, dollars, and even social currency with a company - so important in a customer's relationship with the brand? Because:
Basically, the loyalty program is the connective tissue that drives personalized rewards and recommendations throughout a customer's evolving relationship with a brand - from start to Ã¢ÂÂ¦ well, hopefully it's never finished.
Loyalty programs surprisingly come in many shapes and sizes. Let's take a look at some of the unique types of membership rewards programs serving customers across industries:
Community-Driven Membership Loyalty Rewards
Refer a Friend Customer Rewards
Switch Loyalty to Earn Rewards
Multi-visit Loyalty Rewards
The More You Spend/Get-to-the-next-level Rewards
Sephora's VIB Level welcome email highlights the level's rewards, including 10% off the next purchase, free shipping, a free makeover, and highlighting the benefits of using the mobile app to stay connected for even more rewards. Notice loyalty point status is highlighted in the top right header for easy reference.
Multi-brand Program Customer Rewards
You can check your Starwood Preferred Guest points including those coming from Uber rides in My Account on the Starwood website or mobile app.
Un-brand Loyalty Rewards
Brand-Exclusive Membership Rewards
Local Deal Loyalty Rewards
Now that we've taken stock of where loyalty programs stand today across industries and different types of programs available, stay tuned for a follow up blog post on smart strategies for communicating with your loyalty program membership.
Have we left any loyalty program types out or have a favorite loyalty program to share? Let us know in the comments who you think is doing loyalty well!
For more tips and tactics about how you can manage every phase of the customer lifecycle, download Marketing Cloud at Your Service.
Rebecca Otis is a Marketing Consultant at Salesforce, collaborating with clients to optimize their digital marketing and email marketing and mobile programs with the latest tools, technologies, and trends top of mind. She is also a blogger, writer for NBC Chicago, and speaker for groups like Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, BlogHer, Startup Institute Chicago, University of Indiana Kelley School of Business, and DePaul University. She serves on the Social Media Club Chicago Board of Directors and was named an Austin Business Journal Women of Influence Profiles in Power Rising Star Finalist in 2012 after founding her own marketing consultancy. She's an avid Linkedin-er too. Let's connect @RebeccaOtis.