Constantly Evolve. Then Evolve Again.

by Todd Ruff

When building a loyalty program, the foundation of a successful client partnership is built from the same core principles underlying all long-term partnerships:

  • Try to know the client’s business better than they do.
  • Know what makes their current and potential customers tick.
  • Deliver content that brings a customer to your client’s door.
  • And, then get really dirty, dive into every byte of data you’ve gathered about that customer and get them to fall in love with the client’s brand, or at the very least steer more of their business to the client’s brand.  

From an account service perspective, there are several critical areas that need constant monitoring and action by account teams that can determine success or failure.

Keep Talking. Your client’s data team talking to yours. Product Marketing talking to your strategists. Business analysts to financial teams. Technologists to developers. Make sure they all have access to each other. Does it sound like information could get scattered as it gets discussed? Sure, but that’s where we get to come in. Work with each of your colleagues, consolidate and make sure every discipline in the firm knows the insights and challenges being discussed. Finally, make sure you share with the client so they are nodding their head. Work it as a team and always keep the channel open. As some of my colleagues say, “Be effective AF.” Loyalty is built one interaction at a time and it’s critical the entire team knows the data.

Plan to Plan. Customer data is flowing 24/7/365, through every digital firehose conceived. Extracting insights can be daunting. Account service is in a key seat at the table to make sure we are continually planning the steps down the path and clearing new trails. Establish an actionable process that keeps your teams focused on achievable short, near and long-term goals. Set constantly evolving 30 | 60 | 90-day tactical goals and decide how each ladders up to the goals of the overall loyalty program. It could be a better online ordering experience, a deeper personalization approach, or better tiering structures. Plan to plan so your program can stay fresh for your loyalists.

SME Matchmaking. Connect your client’s experts with the talent inside your firm, or with partners that you know can help achieve success. “But, introducing outside partners may take revenue away from us.” Stop thinking like that. Sure our internal category experts, data scientists, business analysts, technical architects and experience designers are all paramount to success. But so are partners outside the firm who can help in building the platform, making commerce smoother, or provide industry knowledge. Curate these partners and have them at the ready for your clients.

Focus on Your Health. How are we doing? Are you asking your clients on a regular basis? Do you have scorecards in place for your programs that let you know how customers are responding, how the efforts are impacting basket size, repeat purchasing, progressive profiling, etc.? Are your clients being recognized inside their organization as making an impact on the bottom line? Make sure you start healthy and stay healthy across all efforts.

Finally, Be Curious. Read between the data streams. By continually digging through the data, teams can uncover competitive issues, creative opportunities and potential opportunities to invest in. But also, don’t let your data be ingested in isolation. Make sure you are following competitors, loyalty programs in other categories and programs in other geographies. Finding new and interesting data that can be acted upon through a continuous test and learn approach will lead to new and exciting innovations in your loyalty program.

The fundamentals are unchanged. By adding additional layers like continually analyzing all the data coming in, keeping teams active in developing actionable insights, and implementing a test and learn culture to make sure your program is continually evolving to customer expectations, you are focusing on the key elements of success. Finally, you can deliver constant value to your team and client by making sure the team is rallying to these fundamentals and leading them to uncovered opportunities

Todd Ruff

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