Snap out of the loyalty program sea of sameness

Loyalty programs and variations thereof - rewards, benefits, VIP etc are becoming tired, undifferentiated and simply losing themselves in the sea of sameness.

Because I live in the land (sea) of loyalty from dusk ‘til dawn and sometimes in between I do see many variations on the same theme – sign up offer; birthday offer; discount offer, special previews, be the first to know and so on.

Yes, these are the meat and three veg of a program, however are still same, same and not so different.

I also see that programs get lost in the smash ‘n grab of emails! “Shortermitis” (not really a word, however does give me a sick feeling) does prevail with little intent to really acknowledge and appreciate, reward and remunerate valuable customers over the longer term.

Whilst I push and shove for programs to be better than the best (by whatever definition you have) and in many cases even question their value and viability in a business, I do believe with nothing less than 100% that we can shake the “shortermitis” and rock the planet of program sameness.

Here are some thoughts (only nine) and in no order of priority except for number one:

  1. Don’t do one:
    If you don’t believe in customer loyalty, or know what it means to your business or your customers, then just don’t go past go (or collect any emails). Define what loyalty means and then challenge how a program can motivate to that end.
  2. 70:30 principle:
    Put 70% of your investment into building emotional connectivity vs transactional promiscuity (30%). Delight with surprises. Budget for planned spontaneity (oxymoron). Create moments of memory, ensuring your members remember the reward they experienced vs money they saved.
  3. Be brilliant at the basics:
    Every program structure must have the three SPV pillars of success = simple, personal and valuable. Under these there are 24 ingredients (too many to go through here), which members have ranked in the ‘for love or money 2017’ research.
  4. Load up the “moneymoon” period:
    The first 90 days (I’ve termed it “moneymoon”) of a member’s interaction with a program sets the tone for longer-term interaction. Add weight to value, relevant communications (not spam) and surprise(s).
  5. Use the data you have purchased with relevance:
    So you might not have actually purchased the data/list, however it did cost you to get members’ email and the rest of their data, so keep the value exchange visible and relevant.
  6. Do tech to remove friction:
    Mobile, payment integration and/or single sign on, whatever it takes to simplify their life. Ask yourself, "what can our program do to simplify the crazy, busy life our members?"
  7. Plan with rigour and responsibility:
    Then implement with intensity.
  8. Incremental growth is a leading measure of success:
    Are program members worth incrementally (after cost) more than a non-member? If not, why not?
  9. Make your team the bookends of loyalty program vitality:
    A program’s long term health starts and ends with the team. Customers are the book in between.

Oh, and please don’t do this to your members. I purchased a backpack online at full price and then five days later received an email from the same company with the same item reduced by 25% - p$ssed off.

Vent over, go forth and push your program to its limits and beyond the sea of sameness.

Have a happy loyalty day!