We live in the age of information, which means we have access to virtually any and every piece of information we could ever want, right at our fingertips. At the surface, the data avalanche can be overwhelming to make sense of.
However, with the right strategy and guidelines in place companies have the ability to create data-driven, hyper-targeted, and masterfully effective marketing campaigns that speak directly to their ideal customers. Gone are the days of trial-and-error marketing and nowhere is that more evident than in a brand’s loyalty program.
In this post, we’ll discuss some ideas for integrating your loyalty data into your branding and marketing strategies. But in order to do that, we need to get a better understanding of a holistic strategy and the best way to do that is to first zoom out to examine other ways to collect and interpret data. With this knowledge at hand, we’ll be able to see how it should all be woven into a systematic process from the beginning of your efforts – not just applied retroactively after the loyalty data rolls into your dashboard.
It’s All About the Data
Before we dive into the value that can be harnessed through loyalty data, it’s important to review some general tools that help brands turn insights into actions. Every click of a customer’s mouse gives brands more data to work with. As a business, you can utilize this data to capture information on how you are performing online. It’s crucial to collect data so you know where to optimize, iterate, or drill down.
If you’re using social media as part of your marketing plan, check out Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, or LinkedIn Company Page Analytics. Social data gives you insight into what type of content resonates with your audience, and allows you to convey your brand’s voice directly to your consumers.
You can think of these analytics tools as your main support systems for customer acquisition, with loyalty program analytics acting as a counterpart to provide optimal support and optimization for your retention strategies.
Source: SEO Unity
For ecommerce merchants, performance analytics are particularly important – and can be much easier to collect and manage than for their brick-and-mortar counterparts. In addition to using third-party tools like the ones mentioned above, ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and Commerce Cloud offer their own proprietary analytics as well.
If your business is a multi-channel, multi-marketplace seller, you can use Skubana. It’s an advanced order, inventory, and analytics software designed for high-volume merchants. In addition to the ability to track and manage all selling channels inside a single tool, Skubana also offers a full suite of analytics options.
These tools are extremely powerful ways for brands to unlock trends and patterns in customer behavior. Insights from customer data can help brands build and perfect the products and services their customers actually want. When this practice is extended to loyalty data, it can be very instrumental in designing a retention strategy that drives value for both brands and customers alike.
The Key to 21st Century Marketing Is Personalization
People see hundreds – some sources say thousands – of marketing messages a day. Your brand’s voice needs to stand out – otherwise, you risk being ignored.
This is where the fun begins! Once you’ve got multiple streams of data in place, you can build buyer personas that capture the essence of your ideal customer. Which individuals are the most valuable to your business? What are their interests, both online and offline? What everyday problems, or “pain points,” does your company solve for them? How can you do better?
Once you understand your customers, you will be better equipped to serve them. You’ll have a clearer picture of their wants vs needs, what they value, and what they’re looking for from your brand. This information can all be used to improve customer retention and brand loyalty.
Source: Bain & Company
This is all an ongoing process. As you’re gathering more data about the people who fuel your business, you can tweak your brand and messaging efforts. Ideally, you’re always uncovering new ways to improve, and you’re always implementing them into all facets of your brand – from your social media ads to your customer loyalty program. The ultimate goal is to get to know your ideal customer so well that you’re essentially speaking directly to them when you’re crafting your messaging.
Drill Down Into Your Loyalty Data
Your loyalty members are a goldmine of information, so get to know them! In fact, when it comes to creating buyer personas, you might even say that loyalty programs are a dream come true.
Loyalty program members are representative of your ideal customers. They’re loyal, they engage in repeat purchases, and they often complete other valuable actions like referrals or social sharing. The best part is that since your program members create an account to earn points, their data is attributable back to the individual. This means there’s no need to go digging around the internet for consumer trends that may (or may not) be applicable to your customers. With loyalty data, you can directly analyze the patterns and trends that are actually connected to your customers.
Review the performance data of your loyalty program, like revenue generated, members who joined, points issued, member churn, and everything inbetween. Get creative: look for patterns and trends in these numbers over time, and use them to make predictions for future strategies. What’s the seasonal ebb and flow of your member engagement? Is engagement impacted by news or current events? Can you identify behavioral trends in particular types of members? Answering questions like these can take your brand from good to great!
Apply Insights for Creative Marketing
Check to see if your loyalty and analytics data reflects your initial hypotheses of who you think your buyer personas are. If you’re off, dig in deeper to see what fits and what doesn’t, and adjust your efforts accordingly. Continue this process of making predictions, using data to see if the predictions were correct, and changing your strategy.
As you continue to develop a sound idea of who your target audience is and how they interact with your brand, you can hone and optimize your messaging and marketing tactics. Examine various channels and strategies like social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and premium content that speaks directly to your buyer persona’s interests and needs. You can also consider creating surveys or reaching out on social channels to start a conversation with your customers and gauge their opinions. Nothing is more accurate that hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, after all.
Slow and Steady Wins The Race
It’s important to note that when you’re making changes and applying these insights, you should only apply one change and test it for a set period of time. If you apply several changes at once to your messaging and marketing efforts, you won’t be able to make direct, indisputable connections between your efforts and the results they have on your business performance.
Case Study: Qantas Loyalty
To see these principles in action, let’s take a look at Australian airline Qantas, a company founded on unique, engaging, and data-driven strategies. They’ve paid special attention to in-depth customer insights from their data management platform Umbel, analyzing hundreds of data points in real time for each customer. This technique has led to accurate predictions of customer purchase behaviors, fueled by optimized ads and messaging, and the ability to personalize content for specific customer segments.
In 2007, Qantas redefined its frequent flyer program and transformed it into Qantas Loyalty, which was born from a deep, data-rich understanding of their customers and what makes them tick. Their data is the foundation of hyper-targeted marketing campaigns that track an impressive 800,000 member options and bring in more than AU$1 billion in revenue each year.