Chief Marketing Officer

The Value of Consumer Loyalty Program Innovation

3 Aug, 2018

Many businesses implement consumer loyalty programs in the hopes of fostering customer trust and engagement. Yet consumer loyalty programs sometimes miss the mark with a company’s target audience. George Kriza, Founder and CEO of MTC Performance, examined consumer loyalty programs and their value for today’s marketers during his presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2018 Retail & Consumer Goods Forum: Marketing to the Modern Consumer in Chicago on May 1. In his presentation, “Consumer Loyalty Programs: Are You Afraid to Innovate?” Kriza offered tips to help marketers adopt and execute the right consumer loyalty strategy.

It’s essential for a company to build its consumer loyalty program on a foundation of trust. If a company uses its loyalty program to foster trust with customers, it could differentiate itself from the competition. Best of all, companies can use loyalty programs to provide customers with rewards they want, which could result in long-lasting partnerships between a brand and its clientele.

Build a Strong Foundation

“The number one thing in a consumer loyalty program is trust,” Kriza indicated. “Secondly, if you’re going to have trust, people have to view you as worthy of having integrity.”

Although companies may dedicate significant time and resources to develop effective consumer loyalty programs, some businesses struggle to highlight the economic benefits of these programs to customers. An effective consumer loyalty program delivers benefits for both a company and its clientele. If a company fails to outline the economic benefits of a loyalty program to its target audience, consumers are unlikely to identify reasons to join this program. As a result, a company may miss out on opportunities to use its loyalty program to foster trust with its target audience.

A company must deploy a consistent rewards system as part of its consumer loyalty program, too. Loyalty program point values must match customer expectations, and if they fail to do so, a company may struggle to distinguish its loyalty program from all others. “The value of the points [in a loyalty program] keeps changing … and there are loads of conflicting offers in loyalty programs,” Kriza pointed out.

If a company strives to constantly improve its consumer loyalty program, it may discover unique rewards it can offer to its clients. Perhaps most important, this business can generate customer loyalty over time and avoid the risk of “jaded” consumers, Kriza stated.

Don’t Forget About Mobile

To develop an effective consumer loyalty program, a business must explore mobile engagement opportunities as well. In fact, a company that ignores the mobile experience risks alienating large groups of consumers: “We have to really think through the mobile experience,” Kriza said. “If you haven’t delivered serious value with your mobile experience, [your mobile app] will disappear off of a user’s phone.”

Today’s consumers use smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to connect with brands from any location, at any time. If a company can provide consumers with fun, exciting mobile experiences, it could build trust with consumers around the world. Plus, this business can connect with consumers on a personal level and further distinguish itself from the competition.

“The mobile tools are available [to consumers] … that show which retailers have the best prices on the market,” Kriza said. “Retail – whether online or not – is a 100 percent transactional way of thinking … and the purpose of a loyalty program is to try to get past that.”

Continue to Innovate

As new technologies become available, businesses must consider the best ways to incorporate these technologies into their consumer loyalty programs. By doing so, companies may be better equipped than ever before to get the most out of their consumer loyalty programs.

Furthermore, companies must search for ways to deliver long-lasting value to customers via consumer loyalty programs.

If a company collects and analyzes consumer feedback, it may be able to gain deep insights into how customers feel about its consumer loyalty program. Then, a company can incorporate customer feedback into its consumer loyalty program and ensure this program provides meaningful benefits to all consumers, at all times.

A company should assess the consumer’s perspective regularly. With an ongoing commitment to innovation, a business should have no trouble finding the best ways to stir up interest in its consumer loyalty program.

“We really want to come up with a powerful value proposition to help individuals understand economically why it continues to buy from my organization,” Kriza pointed out.

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's 2019 CMO Forum: B2B Marketing in the Digital Era in San Francisco, CA on Jan 31, 2019

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