Customer loyalty and rewards programs are everywhere – it seems like every brand has one and the average consumer is carrying a handful of laminated cards from big retailers alongside a few hole-punched printed cards from their neighborhood burrito palace or dry cleaner. Yet, through the CMO Council’s research in The Leaders in Loyalty: Feeling the Love from the Loyalty Club these programs are leaving customers thinking of breaking up with brands rather than forging longer romances. In fact, 54 percent of the consumers surveyed let it be known that thanks to the barrage of irrelevant messages, low value rewards, and impersonal engagements, they are aren’t feeling the love, in fact they are thinking of asking for a divorce, threatening brands with defection.
There is, clearly, opportunity to push the bottom line through deeper engagements with program members. But, marketers must move beyond viewing these programs as single streams of outbound communications to drive sales, increase outbound promotions or free and discounted offers. Customers are craving deeper engagements and are assuming that program membership also brings a more personalized engagement – in fact, for many consumers, their payoff for loyalty translates into a brand bringing them something made just for them, even if it is as simple as an offer on a valued product at the exact time they need it.