Loyalty 360 has recently announced the winners of its 2015 Loyalty 360 Awards for Excellence in building healthy and profitable customer relationships, with Platinum Level award winners including Air Canada, Freshi, Discovery (hotel alliance), Best Western, Raley's, and Air France/KLM, according to Mike Capizzi, managing director for loyalty consultancy Marketing Strategists and US contributing editor for The Best Customer Guide. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Additional awards were given at the gold, silver and bronze levels within each category. Following the awards ceremony Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360, unveiled the findings from the 2015 Loyalty Landscape report. Among the insights were frequent comparisons between those programmes who had won the awards (bronze to platinum) and the overall marketplace. Highlights included:

  • Loyalty Funding
    Nearly all of the award winners invested more than 20% of their annual marketing budget on loyalty initiatives. By contrast, the industry norm was in the 10-20% range overall, with more than 40% of respondents claiming their loyalty allocation was less than 10% of their annual marketing budgets. The good news - the number of companies reporting the lowest levels of loyalty spend decreased from 50% of respondents in the prior year.
  • Formal programmes
    While 100% of the award winners had a formal loyalty marketing programme in place, only 78% of all respondents claimed the same.
  • Experience and Engagement
    Award winners recognised the significance of including Customer Experience (100% of winners vs. 69% overall) and Customer Engagement (88% of winners vs. 66% overall) as part of the overall loyalty strategy.
  • Other Tactical Attributes
    Of the remaining 20 attributes of loyalty strategy surveyed by the report, winners consistently outperformed the overall rating for adoption by a significant margin. While winners were more likely to use traditional points-based programmes (82% vs. 50% overall), they were also more likely to use social media, events, member tiers and a variety of other tactics to support their overall strategy. On average, winners employed 11 different tactical components as part of their loyalty strategy compared to 7.5 different elements for the industry at large.
  • Metrics
    Award winners use an average of 11 different metrics to assess loyalty marketing effectiveness vs. only 7.1 measures for the overall industry. Across all leading metrics the award winners report greater usage - Engagement (92% among winners vs. 60% overall); Customer Satisfaction (82% vs. 55%); Sales/Revenue metrics (73% vs. 53%). Similar differences in usage are found for activity rates, redemption measures, enrolment rates and ROI.
  • Sales Effect
    All companies surveyed reported more than 10% of the overall revenue is attributed to their loyalty efforts. Over half of the industry (58%) attributes more than 20% of total revenue is derived from their loyalty initiatives. Winners claim 80%.
  • Meeting Objectives
    While 80% of the award winners believed their loyalty strategy was meeting or exceeding goals only 52% of the overall market agreed.
  • Retention Rates
    No significant difference as 68% of all respondents described their member retention rate as 50% or higher vs. 70% among award winners.
  • Active Participation
    Half of the award winners cited active participation rates above 50% vs. only 36% of the total marketplace.
  • Redemption
    While 63% of the award winners claimed reward redemption rates above 50%, only 44% of the industry felt likewise.

The Loyalty Landscape survey polled more than 300 marketers representing North American brands from a wide variety of industries and sizes. The online survey was conducted between December 11, 2014 and March 19. 2015.