New School Incentive Programs: Data, Insight, Sustainable Behavioral Change
By Mark Johnson President, Loyalty 360 - The Loyalty Marketer's Association | December 04, 2011
Since the launch of S&H Green Stamps in the 1930's, loyalty marketing has blossomed into a $4 billion industry. And while the traditional collect now/redeem later points scheme had proven effective for years, social media and new technologies have made it well within the capability of marketers to use data intelligently to build strong customers relationships and gain a long-term sustainable advantage.
As I explained recently on FoxBusiness.com, this shift is moving the market away from the old school mentality of looking at what their "customers have done for me." Traditional cookie-cutter loyalty programs were focused on the short-term developed either as a defensive strategy or in hopes that they could incent a certain (usually not measurable) behavior.
Instead, the market is rightfully evolving to a new school mindset that is focused on data, insight, and sustainable behavioral change. In this new customer centric world we live in, actionable insight that can effectively drive sustainable behavioral change is the "caldron call" of the market, it is the areas where brands are asking for "help." To sum it up, the new school mindset focuses on two key elements: transparency and relevancy.
Today's customers want their brands to be vulnerable and almost compliant to them. They want to know that if the brand makes a mistake they recognize it, are accountable and address it in a pro-active manner to the individual to restore effective engagement. Brands cannot be afraid to show the good, bad and the ugly. They need to have a free-flowing two-way conversation --- letting their customers vent or praise and then letting customers know they're listening and that they care and most importantly respond relevantly to them in the time, medium, and message they require.
Southwest Airlines recent incident with famed filmmaker Kevin Smith is a great example of leveraging the transparency of the web. When Southwest escorted Smith off a flight because they claimed he was too heavy for a single seat ticket what did Smith do? You guessed it. He pulled out his cell phone and tweeted about his experience --- venting his anger and frustration throughout cyberspace.