Loyalty is what is achieved when deep connections are formed between brand and consumer – the key lies in driving that connection.
Loyalty means different things to different people: it’s the look in your dog’s eyes when he sees you walk through the door; the buddy who takes away your car keys as he hands you your second drink; it’s the reason why you continue to barrack for St Kilda even though they haven’t won a premiership since 1966.
For marketers, loyalty is one of those words that gets bandied about frequently, but which surprisingly few actually understand.
Loyalty is important in business because it can save time and make money. Repeat customers are those who don’t need to be generated and converted.
Loyal customers don’t need to be educated about your brand or your products because they’ve already tried them; and they don’t need to have trust created, it’s already there.
But, within marketing, what exactly is loyalty?
Loyalty is not just about points and rewards
When we think about loyalty we immediately think about programs – specifically, programs designed to get customers to purchase more and more often.
Loyalty programs can include points-based rewards, VIP clubs, or any tangible benefit that rewards repeat customers for choosing a brand.
Program developers often see loyalty programs as transactional relationships. Loyalty programs make consumers feel valued and in return they reward you with increased business.
What savvy marketers understand, though, is that loyalty is the destination, not the program. Loyalty is what is achieved when deep connections are formed between brand and consumer – it’s not just a loyalty program that increases loyalty, it’s all your relationships.
Focus on brand interactions
Real loyalty is driven by complex relationship marketing strategies designed to nurture and develop connectiveness.
The first step in creating loyalty is to make sure your value proposition is strong and is known. People will never be loyal to a brand they don’t understand or respect.
Across every stage of the buying cycle – from awareness to consideration to sale – marketers need to make sure customers can answer the three fundamental questions: What do you offer? Why is this offering the best solution to the customer’s issue? Why is your company the best one to deliver it?
That integrity must extend to your loyalty strategies also, with any program having a solid value proposition driving it. This is especially important in regard to growing your loyalty program participation list.
People are increasingly aware of the value of their data and personal information, and before they participate in any loyalty program they have to be sure that the investment of sharing their information is worth it. What are they getting in return for their participation?
Loyalty is key to driving connection
It used to be that one of a business’s main ways to collect browsing and shopping information was through cookies, but with legislation now requiring websites to allow users to opt out of third party cookies, it’s no longer the data gathering source it once was.
Loyalty programs and a strategic relationship marketing strategy can be a great way to collect information that would otherwise be lost. It tells us what our shoppers are interested in, what products they want, and what deals they respond to.
Don’t forget that strategic interactions with customers can actually help you achieve better connections with them. With the right data, you can increase personalisation and build even closer relationships with your customers, increasing loyalty.
Need a loyal partner in your loyalty program?
Loyalty is a key part of any relationship marketing strategy because it recognises the value in making customers believe they are appreciated and valued, and the real bottom line benefits that flow.
Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne and are specialists in creating brand loyalty as part of a holistic marketing strategy.
To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.