What’s next? Principles #6 through 10 are below.
6. Be virtually everywhere
The line between our physical and virtual worlds is fading. We invest more personal time in online activities. There are new realities and opportunities to connect and play in the online environment. And brands need to harness this, and turn up wehre the customer is, in order to remain relevant, and earn that customer loyalty. Shopper marketing is not just about being front and center in-store anymore, it's about remaining top of mind whenever, and wherever the audience is in the shopping mindset.
7. Understand the metrics of membership
Consumers join loyalty and CRM programs for a reason. They actively op in. Understanding what the motivations are for opting-in are crucial in terms of driving ongoing brand engagement and satisfaction. Of course, this behavior is often driven by discounts and offers, but a lot of time it's about value-added content, being part of a community of like-minded people, or a sense of worthiness.
8. De-average your loyalty marketing
With the big data available to us, and the communication potential across channels, media and platforms, our marketing efforts should never be just average!
9. Make it easy
As our customers adopt new technologies, transact and connect using multiple devices, interact and engage with each other in social outlets—marketers must work harder to provide the tools and CRM platforms for them to engage, interact, transact and connect with our brands. Consumers will become more engaged, and more loyal, if we make it easy for them to interact and transact on their terms, not ours.
10. Keep it fresh
The best loyalty and CRM programs constantly innovate—introducing new initiatives all the time:
- New ways to engage and interact through devices, apps, and media
- New promotional hooks
This takes time, investment and effort—but it keeps customers engaged, and gives them a reason to interact with your brand. . . driving emotional and transactional loyalty.
What’s next? Principles #3 through 5 are below. Please check back soon as we continue to round out our top 10 here on the Discovery Blog.
3. Reward the behavior you seek
This one’s simple, but often forgotten!
Clearly define what you want your customers to do and reward them when they do it. However, it is important to reward future customer loyalty not past loyalty—otherwise we are not generating behavioral change and value to the business. And rewards don’t necessarily mean discounts and offers—content and information can be just as compelling and motivating for a lot of customers.
Consumers thrive on being the first to know . . . and the first to share!
4. Relevance2 = Generosity/2
As we think about rewarding behavior, we need to consider how these rewards take shape. The more relevant we can be in our content, offers and rewards, the less generous we need to make them.
Our customers don’t expect us to give everything away for free (although they would like it), but they do expect us to know and understand them and make all of our communications relevant. Sometimes, content is king—we must consider how we provide a CRM platform to share ideas and inspiration and ultimately fuel the conversations consumers are having between themselves and about our brands.
5. The customer loyalty contract
This is the engine behind all great customer loyalty and CRM programs:
- It starts with identifying the right customers . . . advocates
- We then reward their spend, consolidation of spend and engagement with our brand
- From this, we can build dynamic customer data and knowledge about how they interact and engage with our brand—transactional engagement (purchase behavior) and emotional engagement (interactions with the brand in communications, across devices and in social media)
- This allows us to identify individual customer groups, and allows us to segment our audience for greater efficiencies and relevance
- And by grouping our customers in such a way, we can identify needs and opportunities which allow us to deliver more personal and relevant products and services to these customers, and others
- And this, in turn, allows us to identify more of the right customers
And so the cycle begins—a virtuous cycle. If we get it wrong at any point, we find ourselves with a vicious cycle.
Below are the first two! Please check back soon as we continue to round out our top 10 here on the Havas Discovery Blog.
1. The loyalty program is not the goal, it is the means to an end
Ask not what you can do for your loyalty program, but what your loyalty program can do for you!
One of the first mistakes marketers make is not asking the right questions at the outset when embarking on customer loyalty initiatives. Our questions should not be about having a loyalty program so that customers can earn points and get rewards, how to structure the program, and how much to give away. It’s about what that program can do for your business and for your customers, and how it will solve problems or leverage opportunities that are currently present.
- Who are our most valuable customers that we want to serve now, and in the future?
- What problems do we need to fix to make our customers more loyal?
- How can we persuade good customers to become even better ones?
These are valid questions that have stood the test of time. We should always be asking these. But as we enter the conversation economy, we need to ask more pressing questions around how our best customers consume media and content:
- How does new media and the evolving relationship dynamic between brands and consumers change how we interact with our customers?
- How do our customers want to engage with us?
- What content are they looking for, and how can we deliver it in ever more innovative and relevant ways—on their terms?
- And where are they consuming this content?
2. Customer loyalty runs deeper than the transaction
All too often we measure loyalty by how much a customer purchases from us—how often they shop and how much they spend. But this is a one-dimensional and functional perspective and measurement of customer loyalty and engagement. We are ignoring emotional customer loyalty. Sitting in the passenger seat, we need to observe our customer behaviors and understand what truly makes them loyal over and above purchasing our products.
As content is more easily consumed across platforms and devices, brand loyalty means something different to consumers today. Consumers want more than a transactional relationship with brands. Consumers expect to be in control of how content is delivered, disseminated, consumed and shared. Only then do they become emotionally engaged and loyal.
In today’s cluttered marketing environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to win customer loyalty. Consumers are becoming promiscuous - hunting for deals on deal sites, and fighting each other for bargains during record-breaking Black Friday sales; low confidence in the weak economy means consumers have to continue to be financially responsible; consumers expect to feel the VIP treatment as standard; and as consumers spend more time in the digital world, marketers have to find new ways to connect, engage and remain relevant.
The marketing environment has changed. Customers have changed. The way customers consume content, engage with brands, how they shop and how they interact with one another - has all changed. What hasn’t changed is the way many brands approach CRM (customer relationship management).
There is a changing dynamic in the ownership of the relationship between brands and their customers. As marketers, we are no longer in control of this relationship.
As marketers, we need to take an interactive approach to CRM and how we build customer loyalty now and in the future. We need to foster interactions, connections, engagements and experiences between customers and brands. We interact with customers in the places they engage with each other, and in places they feel comfortable engaging with us.
Consumers have more power than ever before and emerging technologies are changing the way people shop and behave - your CRM and loyalty marketing programs needs to evolve. Our customers now have the ability to build up brands, and to also bring them to their knees. So choose now - do you want brand advocacy, or anarchy?
To build a better relationship with your customers, you must first engage them, and then keep them engaged. Only then will those consumers decide whether to change the dynamics of their relationship with you.
We, as marketers, are simply bystanders. We are in the passenger seat. And it’s from here that we must drive engagement, interactions and experiences, and ultimately earn customer loyalty.
Havas Discovery has developed ten core principles of loyalty marketing that are relevant to today’s marketing environment. Stay tuned as our agency unveils the ten principles of CRM right here on the HAVAS Discovery blog over the next few weeks!
Change is nothing new to digital marketing, especially to those who work in SEO. Late last week Google's head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, posted a video on Google's Webmaster Central YouTube channel entitled 'What Should We Expect In The Next Few Months In Terms Of SEO For Google?'
The best practice for SEO specialists is to stop everything you are doing when Matt posts and video and watch immediately. Matt Cutts, for all intensive purposes, is Google's public face of SEO. Matt speaks very transparently about SEO at leading search industry conferences, over on Google's Webmaster Central Blog and YouTube channel and his personal blog about what's upcoming in the world of SEO.
Matt gives us a great POV on why search engines act like they do, and the motives/rationale behind big picture algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin. Matt's posts are some of the best insights into SEO we'll ever get.
From the newest video (embedded below) here's the 5 most important SEO items Google's working on in the coming months /continuing to drive home -
- Google is working to create a better bridge between websites that are authoritative on topics with their greater communities at large. Think if a website is authoritative on 'space rockets' there is a high chance it's also authoritative on the topics of 'engineering' and 'space travel.'
- Don't ever ever ever buy links, nor should you get caught up in link networks.
- Produce quality content that is so valuable people want to link to it - avoid 'advertorials' and anything else the feels dubious.
- New support resources and increased sharing of critical information with webmasters is coming - everything from new 'how-to's to information on how to recover should your website get hacked.
- New versions of the Panda & Penguin algorithm updates will be rolling out soon (see more in the video).
Many times in the advertising industry, acronyms and terms are thrown around like school lunches on the last day before summer break. It can be hard to decipher their meaning, let alone intent, when not fully immersed in this vocabulary. Here is the next set of terms to this handy acronym series.
What it stands for: Secure Shell
What it means: Secure Shell is a network protocol that allows for two networked computers to communicate with one another in a secure manner (usually over an insecure network) using advanced authentication.
What it stands for: Search Engine Optimization
What it means: Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting (increasing) the ranking and visibility of a website or web page in a search engine's search results.
What it means: Parallax Scrolling refers to a technique where foreground images/content scroll at a different speed/rate than background images/content. This effect gives the user a different sense of motion and depth.
What it means: Landing Page is similar to a microsite, however it only consists of a single page. Landing pages are commonly used as part of online marketing campaigns. They act as destinations where users would land by clicking on an advertisement or search result.
Be sure to read all of the advertising acronyms and terms from the Havas DSC Lingo series!
We have some new faces in the Havas Discovery office, and we would like to welcome our newest employees Matthew Broome, Dale Case, and Matthew Whittemore. All three newbies have specific areas of interest and talent that will help add to our full service digital agency.
Matthew Broome: Matthew joins the team as a Helpdesk Analyst. Before coming to Havas Discovery he was at the Maryland State Department of Human Resources working as a Network Analyst for their Baltimore City facilities. Prior to his work at DHR, Matthew worked in the private sector for the US Department of Health & Human Services and the US Department of Justice. In his spare time he likes to watch movies, is a big sports fan (Ravens/Orioles/Lakers), loves music, and also coaches youth football for the Baltimore Terps as well.
Dale Case: Dale joins the team as a QA Specialist. Before coming to Havas Discovery he was at Zenimax Online Studios doing QA for their new MMO game. Prior to Zenimax, Dale worked at e4e doing QA both on console and online games for multiple big game companies. On the weekends he works at a bike shop selling and fixing bicycles, and is an avid rider and bike enthusiast. He's a self proclaimed music nerd and enjoys playing his guitar and taking in the local music scene in his free time.
Matthew Whittemore: Matthew joins the team as a Application Developer. He has spent the last two years developing an ERP for a B2C in Atlanta. Before that, he aided a NYC based Education Non-Profit in designing its student tracking system as part of his year of service with AmeriCorps Vista. Outside of programming he pursues creative writing and has been lucky enough to publish a few of his poems.