Most prediction articles are swathed in statistics, focusing on economic data, shopping trends and emerging technologies. This isn’t one of those articles, it won’t provide you with any golden nuggets to place in your next planning document but what it might do is inspire you to take a moment to see if perhaps 2016 could be the year for you to make a few relatively small but effective changes to your consumer loyalty marketing plans.
More of the same or something new?
If we’re honest, most marketers fantasize about delivering a revolutionary loyalty campaign that will surpass their commercial objectives whilst providing themselves with a certain amount of professional kudos. For most, however, it’s not going to happen as the vast amount of marketing expenditure will have already been assigned to carry out pretty much the same activities as they did in previous years.
Of course to a large extent this makes perfect sense, but if you are a brand spending tens of millions above the line, would it hurt to reassign 10% of your budget to try something new? After all, will it really make a difference to your awareness levels? Every brand should be looking to deploy a range of different consumer loyalty initiatives in a world which is now completely focused on engagement. There really are no excuses.
Back to the future, remember where you came from
Brands that will have the most success, will be the ones who remember where they came from. Take any leading brand, when it was launched it was largely successful because fundamentally it was a good product, the people behind the product were close to it and hence were passionate about both the product and the consumers they were selling it to. Passion sells and complacency kills.
If you have a leading product or service, it is time to dust off the heritage and values that made you what you are and promote them clearly. Brands who achieve this creatively and consistently will be the ones who fare best.
Sadly, the meeting brigade culture will continue to exist in 2016
If you and your colleagues spend most of your time in meetings with very little output, then you are in the wrong place. These days, new challenger brands can deploy very quickly and potentially grow exponentially. Why, because they have a fresh proposition, they are passionate about what they are doing and they are probably closer to their customers than you are. But most importantly, they don’t waste time in grey meeting rooms procrastinating they just simply get on with it. Necessity really is the mother of invention, especially in tough economic climates. The good rarely hide in dull meeting rooms, they have the courage of their convictions to go out and create a better consumer offering.
For most, the five-year plan is dead
Truthfully, I don’t know the origins of the five-year plan, perhaps it was derived from the historical notion than products generally adhere to a five year product lifecycle. Many successful brands have already moved away from five year plans to much shorter time frames of eighteen months to two year plans. They know where they want to get to, they just want to get there quicker.
The world has moved on and now revolves commercially at a far greater pace. Hence those with the clearest short term objectives and greatest sense of urgency will be the brands that achieve the most.
Consumers will continue to expect more
Every aspect of your proposition will come under more pressure from consumers. Quality, service, availability and price. After all, we live in age where the majority of consumers carry a smart phone or tablet and are therefore used to immediacy when it comes to interacting with brands.
Putting up a Facebook page or sending out questionnaires specialist on-line communities or blogger networks isn’t enough anymore, successful brands will need to regularly interact with a statistically significant chunk of their audience in order to keep their finger on the pulse with regard to how their customers feel about them, what they expect from them and what they would like from them.
Small changes in behavior can add up to a lot more on your bottom line
Companies largely operate in silos. They rarely talk to each other across departments, let alone across the globe. Yet more and more briefs these days are global in nature.
While most marketers fantasize about delivering a revolutionary campaign, most agency suits such as myself, fantasize about having a positive effect on both internal and external behavior in order to create a completely driven campaign. Both are in some way churlish, both are sometimes largely out of reach but both in a small way are always achievable.
Consumer loyalty, is not about getting a few people to make big changes to their behavior. It’s about getting lots of people to make a small change in behavior. A campaign that drives employees and consumers to both make small behavioral changes will add significantly to your bottom line.
So there you have it
2016 will in its own way be formidable opportunity. Everyone will be able to embrace the year in lots of small ways or if it’s not too late to change your marketing plan in a big way. The biggest opportunity for change will be to start thinking about radical changes now for 2017.
About the Author
What are you doing, when it comes to strengthening consumer loyalty towards your brand, to keep your buyers engaged and coming back for more? Given the fact that repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers, a loyalty program that helps grow positive brand feeling is measurably valuable. Perks | Consumer provides a combination of services and software designed to increase consumer loyalty and improve operational efficiencies. With 14 years of experience in the incentive program industry and a proven track record, Perks offers a tailored solution for your consumer loyalty program needs. With an array of rewards available both domestically and globally, your consumers and research panelists can find the perfect incentive that satisfies on an individual level, while bringing them closer to your brand. That’s a Perks WW Promise.More Content by Perks WW Consumer