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Even in today's hyper-connected world, many loyalty programmes do not resonate with their members, according to a new research paper entitled 'The Loyalty Divide', publisher by Acxiom and Loyalty 360. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The new insights from the paper provide evidence that the fragmentation and disconnect of vital marketing insights is at the core of the problem, with 94% of marketers surveyed saying they do not consistently apply insights - such as an individual's long-term value or social influence and attitude - to create meaningful engagements.

"We've heard from big brands about challenges in using data to 'listen to the customer'. Today's disparate data sets have magnified the difficulty of matching current and future needs, wants and interests of the customer in a timely fashion," said Loyalty 360's CEO, Mark Johnson. "The avalanche of data holds great promise but makes it difficult to truly understand consumers' current desires, which is what loyalty is all about-a timely match to customer needs-which is good for both the consumer and the brand." "Brands don't offer loyalty; people grant it to the brand," added Tim Suther, Acxiom's chief marketing and strategy officer. "Earning loyalty requires experiences that resonate and delight which is possible when marketers connect and analyse a wide variety of data and apply it to every interaction."

The paper provides a number of recommendations for closing the gap, and also explores the impact of tactical promotions such as prolonged discount schemes. It warns, among other dangers, that premium brands offering loyalty through discounts alone may actually destroy loyalty, erode their margins, and reduce their overall brand value.

The full research report has been made available via the Loyalty 360 web site - click here.