We recently partnered with Wylei Research to better understand the ways consumers feel about brand loyalty and the drivers behind those feelings. While the study revealed some interesting findings (stay tuned for the full report), one in particular caught me off guard. The research revealed that loyalty reward programs do not drive loyalty. That’s a bold statement, but if you think about it in the context of the current economy and marketing landscape, it makes perfect sense. Today out-of-the-box loyalty programs can no longer survive. Implementing a “me too” and standard “best practices” approach results in minimal marketplace differentiation. Whether your effort is implicit or explicit, traditional design or based on game mechanics, you must have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, what your brand represents, and who your ideal customer is. Then, use ‘best processes’ to define the best strategy for your brand. The recession has had a dramatic impact on the attitudes of consumers. The result is a transformation loyalty marketers need to understand to survive. With the data deluge, the shift from .com to .me and the epidemic of ‘time starvation’ your messages and offers must be relevant, in the context of a consumer mission and must add value for the consumer or they will be ignored. Successful modern day loyalty marketing must be built on six pillars:
Direct marketing programs often succeed, in part, based on the merge strategies on which they depend. Unfortunately, many donor marketing circulation plans are outdated and rely on a “prioritized list strategy,” which may fail to provide the insight you need to grow your returns. Using a prioritization strategy may not be as profitable as it used to be. In fact, it can be a dangerous way to rob you of your return. Today, the segmentation, analytics, and merge technologies used in direct marketing have become more complex. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies and database technologies have changed. But more importantly, donor marketing has evolved. As such, you need to adapt your merge strategies to take advantage of new technology and new list sources. For direct marketing success, it’s important to look beyond a prioritizing methodology in your merge strategies and embrace a randomization strategy. Only then can you maximize your growth potential and capture a better investment return from your donor marketing. This paper explores the most used merge strategies and weighs the pros and cons of each.