Four Ways a Multichannel Loyalty Program Supercharges Marketing Strategies Published-Sep 19, 2016
Consumer shopping habits and expectations are rapidly changing, leaving retail marketers to swiftly adapt their strategies. Geoff Smith, CMO of CrowdTwist, talks about how multi-channel loyalty programs are part of the solution to engagement marketers are actively beginning to implement.

Retail brands contend with a constantly evolving and competitive landscape no longer led by brands. They have to compete with information, distractions, and bids for attention from a range of sources—many of them digital. For this reason, fostering loyalty among your most engaged audiences is crucial to stay ahead of competitors. Marketers are now in a position where if they don’t cater to their best customers’ affinities and lifestyles, their risk losing out to a nimbler, customer-centric competitor.
In the wake of these challenges, CrowdTwist conducted research, which reveals that while 57 percent of brands recognize the importance of building out their loyalty strategy—hence widespread plans to increase loyalty marketing budgets—only 38 percent of marketers felt they could comfortably state whether or not their programs were successes or failures. This suggests that a growing population of marketers are coming to understand the power of loyalty. What’s more, they are realizing that a comprehensive approach to building engagement and retention across channels is of critical importance in adapting to the new retention landscape.
Transforming your loyalty program into a multichannel offering allows you to engage with your customers on the channels that work for them. It enables you to gain a multi-dimensional perspective on your audience, and insight on how best to reach them and future customers. Multichannel loyalty offers an immersive experience for consumers, so your brand stays top of mind.
Here are four reasons why you should take your loyalty program multichannel.
Multichannel Loyalty Amplifies Your Program
Younger audiences have little interest in old school spend-and-get programs that incentivize through physical coupons that arrive in the mail weeks after they are earned. They simply don’t jive with consumers’ lifestyles or interests. On the other hand, brands with flexible loyalty programs that stretch across digital, mobile, social, and in-store channels offer consumers real-time rewards—activating members that traditional loyalty programs have been unable to appeal to.
Since one-fifth of Internet users in the United States are more likely to buy a brand that their friend follows on social media, there’s no better reason to integrate the channel into your loyalty program. The benefits of such peer influencing via social can be huge. You have the opportunity to create impressions for consumers who have yet to adopt your brand, but are more likely to connect to it because they share interests with the original loyalty member.
Beyond social, mobile is another important driver for multichannel loyalty. With mobile devices in the hands of most consumers, mobile provides an instant connection to your brand. Pepsi, a brand that recognizes its audience’s affinity for rewards on the go, designed its Pepsi Pass loyalty program to reward mobile interactions. Members can earn points by snapping selfies with friends and hanging out with their friends who also belong to the loyalty program, among other activities.
Allow Dozens of Point-Earning Opportunities and Brand Engagement Touch points
From physical location check-ins and social media interactions to friend referrals and brand education—the possibilities of rewarding points for valuable consumer engagements are endless. By using a multichannel loyalty program, you can engage consumers across multiple touch points. More importantly, a multichannel loyalty program helps grow your steadfast audience base. In a study, Gallup found customers who are fully engaged bring in on average 23 percent of a company’s revenue. This can increase, depending on industry. For example, fully engaged consumer electronics shoppers make 44 percent more visits on average to a sales location than the average customer.
In this new world of total connectivity, consumers expect to be driving their engagement experience. So rather than employing push tactics of the past, earning customers is now about deploying tactics that offer convenience.
Gives You Access to First-Party Data
Multichannel loyalty programs facilitate a transparent exchange of valuable information between your audience and the brand. You have the power to develop a dimensional understanding of your customers, repurpose content, and deploy personalized approaches to increase loyalty.
Customers earn points for building out their personal profiles, and additional points for linking their loyalty program accounts to their social media accounts. For example, you can flesh out a consumer’s profile that includes factors such as demographics, geolocation, interests, and behaviors into a single database. This aids you in creating a personal and more powerful customer experience and leads to increased loyalty.
Olympus rewards customers with points for product reviews so it can take that feedback to fine-tune its product offering. Similarly, you can also use these multichannel loyalty programs to reward customers for taking surveys and gain more insight about your customers to use for remarketing purposes.
Create Consumer Value through Immersion
In most cases, no single channel is going to provide your brand with optimal return. People are checking their emails while streaming movies and skimming their social media while shopping. Multichannel loyalty programs fit seamlessly into your audiences’ lifestyles to influence them from the many channels they engage with, creating an immersive experience. Your company begins to form a picture of what motivates your audience. Customers begin to anticipate rewards and create emotional connections with your brand.
This emotional connection to a brand is what can set you apart. TOMS discovered that many of its Passport Rewards Program members value philanthropic companies that stand for more than profit. With this in mind, Passport Rewards Program members can choose to forgo redeeming their points for their own rewards, and instead choose to donate to a cause. With this holistic loyalty approach, TOMS’ audience is adopting the program not only because it goes beyond integrating into their behaviors, but also because it fits with their core beliefs. 
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, you want to create a program that’s convenient for your customers, meets their needs, and is easy to access so they look forward to interacting with your brand. By taking your program multichannel, your brand is likely to stay on top of consumers’ minds, creating longevity, favor, and a greater affinity for your brand.
Sourced By: martechadvisor.com

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