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Personalization Beats Punch Cards: Five Tips for True Customer Loyalty

Brian Ivanovick

VP Solutions Consulting

You can’t buy loyalty, but that hasn’t stopped brands from trying. An endless stream of punch cards, discounts and perks bombard today’s digital customer.

How do you move loyalty away from its transactional past and into an authentic customer relationship future? It’s a process that takes a lot of hard work, but today’s software-enabled brands can find ways to understand and reach their customers in ways that were unimaginable a few short years ago.

Here are four steps that will create true customer loyalty in the digital age.


  • Know your Customer

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to loyalty today. You have to start with the realization that every customer is unique and expects to be spoken to in a personalized manner. Of course, personalization at scale is easier said than done. Data is the key to unlocking this powerful tool. Having the right data, segmented correctly and instantly actionable will allow you to make each loyalty message personalized for each audience.

Make sure your CRM or loyalty platform is up to the task, identifying the demographic and psychographic composition of your audience and the purchasing habits of each customer. Only then can you treat each customer as an individual.

  • Deliver Unique Rewards 

Now that you know your customer, the next step is personalizing loyalty rewards. Maybe one customer wants a discount. Another could be seeking a simple “thank you.” Find the right message and right loyalty reward for each customer and your customers will reward you with true loyalty.

Don’t just blindly hand out holiday shopping discounts to single shoppers with short gift lists or blanket perks for cheap gifts to discerning customers. Find the right reward that shows you know them, their habits and their taste.

  • Focus on Lifetime Value

Many loyalty programs get off track when they focus on a single repeat sale rather than a long-term customer relationship. Think beyond the next sale to the lifetime value of a customer. Digital customers can easily escape to another deal or discount, so don’t get caught in this margin-shrinking race to the bottom. Built a long-term relationship with your customer built on your brand’s identity and superior customer service that will make them a lifetime loyal customer and a brand evangelist.

Brands like Tom’s, Patagonia and Yeti have been masters of creating passionate, loyal customers while charging premium prices. They’ve done this by passionately pursuing quality and sharing the mission-driven core of their brand identity. Rewards are good tools; just make sure they are paired with an emphasis on quality and a strong brand identity that inspires loyalty.

  • Make Simplicity a Priority

Don’t make your customer work too hard for any loyalty reward. Let’s face it, while we all like a deal, most of us will not spend much of our precious time wandering through complex registration processes to redeem minor discounts or perks.

Simplicity will increase participation and reduce customer annoyance. The last thing you want is for a loyalty program designed to retain customers to frustrate them with a cumbersome process. Bring your UX and UI staff into the loyalty reward process. Simplify and then simplify again.

Are you awash in data but have no idea how to use it? Is your convoluted loyalty process in need of streamlining? Action IQ is a leader in data-driven marketing that can transform outdated loyalty programs into game-changing 21st Century platforms. Learn more by reading our latest eBook Marketing Freedom in the Midst of the Data Downpour.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Written By

Brian Ivanovick
Author's LinkedIn Profile

VP Solutions Consulting

MarTech Consulting Leader with nearly 15 years of marketing technology and customer data experience. Prior experience includes stints at Offermatica (now Adobe Target), Omniture, Adobe, Causata, BlueKai and Oracle. Brian has led experience optimization engagements with enterprises such as Dell, Disney, Wells Fargo and Ally Bank.


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