Guest article from Fulvio Furbatto, CEO and founder, Advice Group
Over the past few years, we have been wondering about the health of the loyalty sector. Was it dying or was it undergoing a profound change? Then the Covid-19 pandemic came along, and it completely reshaped our personal and professional lives. That’s when we started asking ourselves whether the strategies implemented so far needed to be reconsidered. We have lived through a veritable revolution that has both created confusion and spurred innovation. Companies and consumers have wandered into unexplored territory where it was immediately clear who the great absentee was.
BEHAVIORAL LOYALTY, THE GREAT ABSENTEE
Everyone talks about loyalty but very few make it happen. Loyalty is not about assigning a score to consumers to reward them with a set of pans or vouchers. Loyalty is strategy, it’s a journey that brings the brand and the consumer closer together. It all starts with engaging the clients, the next step is the on-boarding phase and then the journey continues with recurring activities that keep the brand-consumer relationship alive. Loyalty is care, it puts clients first and analyzes their behavior to understand their preferences and anticipate their needs.
WHAT DID THE PANDEMIC TEACH US?
A lot of companies have realized that they don’t have a responsive and reactive database, they only know their consumers in terms of their buying habits and the duration of the relationship, and they don’t have a direct channel to establish a personalized communication with them. The pandemic has certainly opened our eyes: your clients continue to exist even when they can’t buy your products and services, or they can’t choose to buy them because they are out of stock or temporarily unavailable. But they are still there, and they will likely buy a product from a competitor. The risk is that they’ll end up liking your competitor’s product more, which is even more likely if you don’t know who your clients are and if you have nothing better to offer them than the usual “Buy Now!” or “Choose Us!”.
3 KEY POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us to take nothing for granted: in marketing, just like in interpersonal relationships, it is necessary to build stable relationships that can help us through hardships.
The following three points are meant to guide our strategies from now on:
BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS IS A MUST
Strategies need to take into account all consumers’ behaviors and the brand-consumer relationship needs to go beyond the mere purchase of an item.
DATA IS THE KING
There is no loyalty without technology. Real time behavior tracking allows for the identification of dynamic user clusters to be targeted with personalized communications that influence user behavior, thus maximizing the ROI.
GIVE BACK VALUE
Loyalty is mutual, and that’s a given. The loyalty that is expected from consumers needs to be reciprocated with personalized opportunities in line with consumers’ needs and social trends.
An unfortunate event like a pandemic has forced us to reflect upon what we can do better. Now that the guidelines have been established, it’s time to implement them!