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Time to Innovative with Customer Loyalty and Reward Strategies

The evolution of technology has opened up a swathe of opportunities for customer loyalty and reward strategies, but how has it happened and what does it mean for companies that are looking to build customer engagement?

Customer reward schemes used to be simple: complete a transaction and get a reward (assuming that you’d remembered your loyalty card). For companies, collecting information was a complicated, time-consuming process and while some massive firms had the resources to innovate, the level of complexity meant that for the majority taking anything other than a simple approach was fraught with potential challenges.

There are three reasons why that’s all changed: data, technology and social media.

Data: The silos have crumbled

A decade ago it would take a specialist days of programming time to translate data from one system into another. Quite often when you spoke to a data-analyst and suggested comparing column A with column D, they’d listen, gaze into the middle distance, suck through their teeth and then give you a perfectly rational reason why it couldn’t be done.

Compatibility improvements that have been made over the last decade mean that data can now flow far more freely than it once did, creating the potential for far more innovative approaches to understanding customers and encouraging their loyalty. 

Technology: The systems are more flexible

The reason why data couldn’t move between systems was that the technology was too rigid. In-house bespoke database systems were the norm, and if you didn’t think of a requirement during the design phase, you’d be saddled with an approach that could not react to inspiration as strategies evolved. Equally, as soon as the person that designed the database system moved on, they took their knowledge of the system’s wrinkles and eccentricities with them. Development work was often doubled-up as a result.

Modern systems are far more adept at collecting data from a variety of places. While we’ve not yet reached the cashless society, more and more of us are using cards and apps to pay for things and the loyalty technology is now flexible enough to ensure that you can learn from all of this valuable data as it rolls through your systems.

Social media: The people are talking

Social media is the final piece of the puzzle. Where once brands could only really show their personality through adverts and sponsorships, they can now engage with customers in a far wider way. And these interactions generate valuable data that can be used to finesse strategies.

Digital Rewards in an instant

…but what does it all mean?

So that’s what’s changed, but what does it mean for customer loyalty and reward strategies on the ground?

Put simply, it means that marketers can move beyond the simple transaction approach. It is now possible to reward people consistently for their recommendations, for their conversations, for taking the time to publicly endorse your product or service. And you can do it without it being a massive rigmarole for you company.

As a result, marketing strategies can be far more responsive than they ever were in the past, so companies can grab opportunities and use new loyalty techniques to discover and attract fresh customer demographics and reward those demographics in a genuinely meaningful way. They can move beyond a one size fits all approach and tailor rewards far more closely to what individual customers might actually want.

And they can do it without having to spend time and resources reprogramming systems or employing advertising agencies to implement campaigns.

The current generation of customer loyalty and reward platforms take advantage of the enhanced data, improved flexibility in technology and the potential to reward interaction as well as transaction. They can also be implemented relatively quickly and are highly scalable, meaning that companies of all sizes can take advantage of their capabilities with relatively little fuss.

It’s a whole new world out there and now is a fabulous time to take advantage of the opportunity for innovation.