How the holidays put loyalty to the test

With the month of January almost over, I hope you’ve all had a chance to analyze and evaluate your holiday campaigns. By this I mean diving deeper than just clicks, open and leads. While these are important metrics, the holidays are a great time to see the total impact your marketing has had throughout the year on customer loyalty.

Lets’ face it, the holiday season can be one of the most difficult times to maintain brand loyalty – as consumers are tempted during the busy holiday season by discounts and free shipping. The emergence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday do not make it any easier with retailers vying for the top spot by offering mega discounts and sales. These promotions can really put customer loyalty to the test.

So did you pass? Below are a few metrics you can look at to see how you did this holiday season:

  • Loyalty member sales versus non-member sales. Take a look at the transactional data. Did your loyalty program members spend more and buy more frequently during the fourth quarter than your non-members did?
  • Subscriber sales versus non-subscriber sales. So a consumer hasn’t registered for your loyalty program, but they did opt-in to receive marketing communications from your brand. How do the sales of those who do receive emails or direct mail from you compare to those who do not?
  • Your sales versus your competitors. Just because a consumer didn’t purchase from you during the holidays doesn’t mean they didn’t purchase at all. Leverage third-party data to see how your competitors performed.

Now that you have a better idea of how you might have done this past campaign season, here are some tips to help you enhance your loyalty programs. Consumer loyalty doesn’t develop overnight. It takes time and communication, just as establishing loyalty with a friend does. While there will always be shoppers who seek the best deals, others will remain loyal to brands they trust and that provide value. Here are a few key tactics to keep in mind throughout the year to help establish that trust and value:

  • Personalization. Loyalty marketers historically have access to more customer data. Use that data to address your loyalty members personally and offer products, services, deals and information that is relevant to them.
  • Keep in Touch. Connect with them across customer touch points and provide value at every turn. Often times the brand to consumer relationship and customer recognition is just as important as the monetary reward or points earned. Work on establishing and building the relationship before you try to sell to them.
  • Be one to your customer.  Use your loyalty approach to break down your organizational approaches and silos to be one with your customer.  Loyalty should allow you to bring together all the purchases your members make and the times members interact with your brand.  It should be the optimal customer centric, omnichannel platform to engage your customers.  Put their interests ahead of yours.

So, how did you do this holiday season? How are you planning on building on your loyalty programs in 2014?