Interview with Antonio Molina Cubero, Chief Marketing Officer at Qualifio
Why is customer loyalty so important?
Data from Rare Consulting’s Loyalty report demonstrates that loyalty is important to all generations. With new privacy regulations being introduced and higher awareness about data protection, customers are more conscious of how their data is being used. What’s more, the imminent cookieless world means brands are being pushed to adapt to a more privacy-driven web, giving end-users better control over their data. Both consumers and businesses are growing increasingly concerned about the alternatives to third-party cookies. For many brands, loyalty programmes can be a successful solution to collect first- and zero-party data, removing the reliance on cookies.
What’s more, customers are seen to be more loyal to a brand if they believe they will receive better service and higher quality products in comparison to other brands. Gaining customer loyalty is highly relevant for any brand wanting to engage with its audience and build more meaningful relationships with them. Now with many companies looking at the next steps in their digital transformation journey, customer loyalty will become key to long term success.
What are the benefits of customer loyalty?
Recent studies have shown that a brand is 60 to 70% more likely to sell to an existing customer than to a new one, plus 65% of business is generated by existing customers. Data also shows that 73% of consumers will recommend brands with good loyalty programmes, in addition to 87% of consumers interested in brand loyalty programmes.
Loyalty programmes also allow brands to establish a more personalised experience and communication with customers because they are more willing to share data with brands in exchange. What’s more, loyal customers will generally think higher of a brand and its products or services, thus increasing the likelihood of them repeatedly buying from that brand. Therefore, building and enriching the relationship that consumers have with a brand by understanding what their expectations are is vital.
How do brands appeal to consumers’ values?
It is clear that there is a demand from consumers for personalised loyalty programmes, with requests from around 80% of consumers. Yet brands need to make sure they are offering the right type of programme that relates to their target audience and appeals to their values.
Today, a key consideration among consumers is privacy. Consumers are increasingly aware of how and where their data is being stored or used, and want to know their data is with a trusted brand. With the introduction of first- and zero-party data and interactive campaigns, brands have more of an opportunity to utilise their loyalty programmes and ensure they are providing an improved and personalised customer experience.
Brands must be transparent with their consumers on how and where their data is being used. This will generate higher levels of trust with customers, and increase their likelihood of becoming loyal to that brand in the future.
How has COVID-19 affected customer loyalty?
Consumers are increasingly engaging with brands online, due to physical stores being closed during the pandemic. This has meant that a lot of companies had to accelerate their digital transformation plans, one of these steps being customer loyalty.
At first, brands put a focus on technologies such as SSO, which makes loyalty programmes easy to set up and secure. Yet they had to find new ways of engaging with customers during the pandemic, including the use of interactive marketing. Due to the use of more interactive campaigns, consumer expectations have changed. They are now expecting these interactive brand experiences as a staple of their brand engagement, allowing them to feel closer to the business in question.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands had to pivot their marketing strategies and create more empathetic messaging. This allowed them to not only get closer to their customers but also build a community. Ultimately, establishing brand loyalty is not just about purchases, but it involves creating and maintaining a community, giving consumers a sense of belonging and connection with a brand
How can brands entice their existing customers back?
Brands can entice their existing customers back through a variety of actions. One of the most important factors involves earning their trust, not only their money, which will help to create a long-term bond. Also, by giving regular and relatively easy rewards and levels to achieve, customers will feel more connected and engaged with the company. Brands must also actively engage with their entire audience, showing the advantages of being part of a loyalty programme.
In the end, consumers want to feel like they are a part of a community. By creating a sense of community for them, customers will begin to feel a connection with a brand, creating trust and meaningful relationships, in addition to spending more money with the brand in question.
How can brands build and maintain customer loyalty?
Brands need to move away from the idea of only making a relationship with a consumer transactional. Consumers want genuine interactions and experiences with a brand, so loyalty programmes that are built on all types of interactions will be more likely to earn consumers’ trust.
Are there any key technologies or strategies brands can use to enhance customer loyalty?
One key step that brands can take is to start including loyalty programmes in first- and zero-party data collection strategies. This can be done through the use of interactive marketing campaigns.
Loyalty programmes make sure that all types of audience interactions with the brand are rewarded, not just customer purchases, and interactive marketing campaigns can be used to enhance this.
What are the best types of customer loyalty programmes?
Hands down, the best type of customer loyalty programmes are the ones that include interactivity. This type of programme speaks to a wider audience base, not just paying customers. It also rewards all types of interactions, not just purchases. We believe that loyalty programmes are about engaging with the brand’s community throughout their whole journey, not only when they buy a product, but also rewarding their engagement as well as their spending.
However, the interactivity involved must have clear and simple rules as well as well-segmented and relevant levels that are easy to achieve, allowing for quick and easy ways of earning rewards. Otherwise, if they are too difficult, consumers are less likely to continue participating. Furthermore, a wide variety of rewards will always encourage customers to want to engage with the interactive part of a loyalty programme.
Overall, the loyalty programmes that work are the ones that take customers into account and not just their wallets