Marketing and Loyalty: Retaining customers in a changing economic climate

The current economic climate has created a tremendous need to optimize costs and facilitate the use of loyalty programs with payment cards that can help companies retain their current customers, as well as attract new ones.

After a drastic reduction in marketing budgets due to the recession of the global economy, organizations around the world are looking to do more with less. Marketing managers seek to optimize their efforts and resort to profitable and measurable tools to justify their budgets.

This transformation in marketing activities caused by the current economic climate has put in the spotlight the need to have loyal customers and, hence, the increasingly relevant role of loyalty programs for the maintenance of good health of the deal.

After recognizing that consumers are taking extra precautions about where they spend their money and that they are constantly looking for ways to cut their spending, companies around the world are looking for ways to make their loyalty programs offer them maximum value. your money.

The main change in customer priorities is illustrated by the fact that, while most loyalty card holders had traditionally used point accrual as a way to indulge, these hard times the economy is experiencing they have provoked a search for greater flexibility and the choice of rewards.

There is a growing demand for loyalty solutions that allow payment card companies and retailers to propose personalized and alternative offers for the redemption of points directly at the point of sale. This ability to perform real-time marketing helps increase loyalty to retail brands and also their turnover; while significantly reducing the cost of customer acquisition and retention.

Many organizations have also been looking for ways to implement simplified loyalty programs so they do not create a huge hole in their marketing budgets. An easy enrollment process, the elimination of association fees, the offer of benefits instantly instead of benefits based on the accumulation of points and extra advantages for clients who join the program during the recession are some of the incentives that can be lead to the continued success of loyalty programs.

In order for customers to differentiate and react more positively towards a particular loyalty program compared to others offered by the competition, it is important to use strategies to monitor the behavior of customers, so that companies can understand their customs as individuals and recognize their specific needs. Properly influenced, subscribers to the loyalty program can be the key to finding a competitive advantage when financial stability returns. Some quick steps to trigger this change include:

  • Get to know the customer: It is essential to collect relevant data about customers and have a complete database in hand. These details will allow companies to understand the customs of customers and work to better respond to their needs.
  • It is also essential to keep communication channels open. Especially in an unfavorable economic environment, keeping in touch with clients will help them feel heard and value relevant options for them.
  • Maintenance of loyalty budgets: Loyalty marketing offers the advantage of being measurable. In this market it is easy to justify loyalty budgets compared to the expenses of other marketing actions. Success in implementing loyalty programs helps maximize the performance of existing customers and gain new customers.
  • Favor alliances: Collaborative loyalty programs are an increasingly adopted trend. The companies are seeing that, in a shared program, the investment is low and, with them, there is access to a larger customer base. The recruitment of more partners helps increase the value of the program.

Customer loyalty is the greatest asset of a company and to increase its number companies need to take good care of them. Continuous innovation in loyalty programs is essential to improve the customer experience. The next generation of loyalty offers could present advantages such as:

  • Specific and preferred incentives for customers: Loyalty card issuers and distributors need to know and analyze customer purchasing habits and other information to propose more intelligent loyalty systems, with benefits for customers in real time and at the point of sale. Smart benefits that eliminate promotions of low value to offer the right benefit to the consumer at the best time and, ultimately, drive customer satisfaction to the highest levels and increase their purchases.
  • Reduce marketing costs: Providing objectives, customizing promotions at the point of sale through merchants reduces operational costs and achieves great results compared to traditional methods of marketing promotions to a wider audience through e-commerce. direct mail or other mass media advertising.
  • Simplicity in participation: Customers should be able to select any payment card to register automatically and participate in a promotion or loyalty program. They should also be able to choose to use the card of a particular issuer that offers additional and differentiated benefits. Merchants’ perception of the value of financial cards for such payment transactions increases.
  • Improve loyalty: Customers should be able to use the point of sale as a channel to obtain points in real time and other values ​​acquired, as well as a real-time exchange. This capacity complements and greatly improves the traditional loyalty programs of banks and distributors.

To work efficiently, it is essential that technology allows for any type of payment card to receive benefits at any point of sale. This flexibility will easily join the rapidly evolving needs of retailers, such as those related to mobile payment and those based on the Internet.

Similar solutions are currently being used by banks to offer point and money-back schemes, as well as promotional offers for their affiliates. The rewards are stored electronically and can be collected in real time, avoid the most complicated processes and the cost of regular loyalty programs.

Although the technological innovations used by clients and loyalty schemes have made it easier for companies to recognize the relevance of loyalty programs, false ideas about their implementation still exist. Some still think that maintaining relationships with thousands of customers is a complex process that can only be implemented by large businesses, with resources to do so. However, the fact is that, regardless of size, any business can and should establish a relationship with its customers, communicate with them on a regular basis and offer relevant benefits or incentives every time they make a purchase, while maintaining a Complete record of all this activity.

Finally, remember that companies that invest in well-designed loyalty schemes will reach, in the current economic climate, a significant competitive advantage at the end of the crisis.