Switched-on Membership Managers are looking to proven techniques to cut through the digital clutter now increasingly getting in the way of growing relationships with Members.
Things may just have gone full circle as Members become increasingly difficult to connect with. Rather than throwing up your hands, it’s worth examining what you are doing to recognise your valued Members – and then what you can do to nurture these relationships for mutual gain!
Loyalty programs need to reward Members according to the value they bring to their organisation. So if you’re not segmenting, then you’re at risk of rewarding Members who are bargain hunters anyway and who aren’t going to be loyal. Why not consider analysing your best Members according to their frequency and offer them the best rewards, rather than giving everyone the same rewards?
The problem with an emphasis on short-term gain is that it ignores the fundamental tenets of lasting relationships and the conditions that breed Member loyalty. It also forgets that in a world of multiple channels and near-infinite product choice, Members remain fixated on valuable experiences with organisations they can trust.
Until an organisation understands who their most valued Members are and what their drivers are for their patronage, they really are at sea. As all the marketing theorists and practitioners will tell you, it costs in the order of ten times as much to acquire a new Member as it does to retain an existing one. For that reason alone, it’s useful for any organisation to have an integrated loyalty program that will identify who your most valuable Members are, what their drivers are and what your best Members look like. That should then shape your marketing program. Sounds simple – well it actually is!
Segmentation then becomes the first step towards determining who your best Members are, analysing their needs and tailoring communication in line with what you’ve learnt. This then serves as a guide for acquiring potential Members who share the same profile as those you wish to retain.
Before we go into some universal ‘must do’s’, lets briefly examine some of the reasons for having loyalty programs in the first place. This is clearly where it starts – and finishes if you don’t have the ‘ammunition’ required to convince the ‘bean counters’ that this can – and should be included in the ‘things’ you do to achieve and exceed your activity goals!
The following are some of the key reasons BRewarded advocate that you consider implementing a loyalty program at the core of their marketing activities:
- Lets you differentiate yourself Having your own company branded loyalty program is a distinct way to differentiate your Cause and stay front of mind amongst your Members. Here’s your chance to step out from the crowd and truly engage at a personal level.
- Opens up the conversation with your Members Having your own branded loyalty and rewards program enables you to keep your Members consistently engaged with your organisation, brand and message. They can now receive promotions, checkpoints, balances and make redemptions on products or services.
- Show that you care Offering an exclusive loyalty and rewards program to your Members correlates to how you value them, which then builds Member loyalty and true lasting relationships.
- Shows that you’re progressive Demonstrate to your Members and prospects that your organisation is advanced in marketing and online initiatives and demonstrate your innovation towards your Member needs and wants.
- Enables your Members to become your advocates Members will become advocates of your company as a result of the rewards you give them.
And now to some of the ’must do’s’…
- Segment your Members In order to determine who your most valuable Members are you typically need to go through the process of ‘slicing and dicing’ them into clear groups that represent different values to your organisation. This then enables you to determine how best to engage with each group.
- Get the matrix right! Developing an effective loyalty program takes time and careful consideration. Many call it a science! The ‘give and the get’ can be measured to the dollar and, as part of our ‘getting the matrix right, we encourage you to explore where you could potentially take your valued Member relationships – and then map out over time how to get there - profitably.
- Develop your Communications Program Loyalty communication is not a promotion – it is a program! We usually allow 6 to 12 months to ‘witness’ the results that we seek. Patience is a virtue in this regards.
- Reward each and every Member Key to the success of growing your membership programs is to ensure that your Members remain on your ‘radar screen’ – best achieved by simply rewarding them! While the level of reward may differ, offering a base level of reward to all Members is key to driving the results we seek.
- Get your systems in place Busy Members have a basic expectation that they will not need to change the way they interact with you – so having systems in place to seamlessly collect transactions – whether at point of sale or via your backend systems is key.
- Measure your results Like all good marketing, your loyalty program needs to be measured for its effectiveness. For only through effective measurement can you effectively determine what needs to be tweaked to deliver the best outcome. With your program in place you are at least in the game – and best able to keep your marketing program in line with the needs of your valued Members.
- Exceed their Expectations The easiest, and possibly the most affordable way to build Member loyalty is to satisfy the Member. At least it used to be! Today, Members not only want their expectations met or satisfied, they want them exceeded. Commonly known as the Golden Rule, this practice is fading quickly.
“Listening offers data. Hearing offers empathy and intelligence. Activity, action, and engagement steer perspective and encourage a sense of community and advocacy.” – Brian Solis
So there you have it…identifying who your valued Members are – and developing plans to grow your membership by simply engaging with what is important to them is not new. And with the tools we now have at our finger tips, there really is no excuse to ‘getting real’ with your most valuable asset, your Member base.
Ivan Schwartz is the Director of BRewarded, a specialist loyalty solution provider based in Sydney, Australia. For more information you can connect with Ivan via Linkedin or go to the website www.brewarded.com.au