Chris Dobson, CEO, The Exchange Lab
Gaining brand loyalty among consumers has always been a clear goal for marketers. Yet, the traditional loyalty programs that have worked for brands are no longer having the same impact with modern audiences who live across devices and are motivated to engage in different ways than years past.
A recent Colloquy survey found that more than half of loyalty program members in the U.S. don’t actively participate in the programs: perhaps joining initially for an in-the-moment-deal with no intent to participate beyond that transaction.
Fostering brand loyalty today is about far more than a points program and can be achieved or enhanced through smart, strategic digital, data-driven marketing efforts.
Getting to know your audience
People have more control over the media they consume and how they choose to engage with brands than ever before. In order to reach audiences who are no longer beholden to appointment television, brands need to ensure they are utilizing the data available to them to learn more about their customers so they can create relevant, engagement opportunities.
As tracking consumer engagement accurately across devices remains somewhat limited with no clear solution defined, the consumer calls the shots on whether or not they’ll entertain your message and what resonates depends on their lifestyle and age group.
Audiences in the older generations are fragmented but you can still connect with them in a more traditional way. How Generation Y and Z react to media and how they will react as they get older is wholly different. They are not engaged in linear TV, they are self-scheduled, they know when they’re being advertised to so they can ignore whatever they don’t feel is relevant to them.
According to data from Neilsen, millennials are most likely to trust mobile advertising, in fact 1.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers. So when trying to reach that audience marketers should consider that screen carefully. How will the functionality work? How do I ensure this is the best experience? It’s the more intimate screen so whatever you do must be relevant and engaging. A test-and-learn approach is key because it allows marketers to see what works and what doesn’t resonate, adapting virtually in real-time to make the most of media dollars and limit any damage to their brand reputation.
The message matters
According to a recent Marketo survey, consumers today appreciate personalized offers and messages, with almost 80% of shoppers saying they only engage with an offer if it’s related to how they previously interacted with that brand.
Every interaction with your consumers counts as another opportunity to build trust and enhance your relationship. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) is a good example of an effective tool as it adapted messages and product images to the consumer based on their personal history.
While achieving a complete view of the consumer journey can be difficult in today’s media landscape, you can implement first-party data from email, the web, and mobile apps as well as CRM and POS systems to help complete the picture.
A Meta-DSP approach, which runs campaigns across multiple demand side platforms (DSPs) simultaneously as opposed to in silos like a multi-platform approach, can help by providing brands with a holistic view of the media marketplace and automatically shifting dollars between DSPs based on performance, increasing the likelihood of connecting with consumers likely to convert and increasing ROI.
It’s vital for marketers to work with trusted and brand safe programmatic partners. Bad online marketing practices, such as serving poor creative and over retargeting, particularly after a consumer has made a purchase for the same item, erodes consumer trust and make it difficult for people to look favorably on the brand again.
Aligning brand values with consumer values
When a brand reflects a customer’s values and enhances their self-image their reason for buying that product or service transcends utility to loyalty. Your brand becomes an extension of their image and, ideally, inspires them to spread the word about your product. The brand is a reflection of their own values and who they aspire to be.
Many modern consumers truly appreciate brands that align with a specific cause such as Warby Parker or TOMS shoes, two brands that are known for giving back to those in need with every purchase. In these cases the brand loyalty tends to increase because consumers are able to show their support for a cause in addition to showcasing their personal style.
Brand loyalty is like a negotiation between a consumer and a brand – if you can give up something that is low cost to you but high value to you that’s a win-win that will likely lead to a longstanding, loyal relationship.
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