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To change the equation on customer loyalty, tipping the scales back from buyer to seller, companies need to break the one-size-fits-all sales cycle.
How can companies gain the kind of leverage that magnifies the value of each customer exposure? Loyalty programs simply aren’t cutting it anymore. In fact, giving a consumer that already purchases a product a discount to encourage a behavior they’re already doing could be the new definition of insanity, and could also be a flat-out waste of money.
Buyers that aren’t actually purchasing your product are the ones that need encouragement. And that requires creating relevant offers fueled by insight.
Driving relevance requires analytical capabilities that provide sophisticated quantitative and statistical analysis and predictive modeling, supported by powerful information technology and data-savvy specialists.
More than just data gathering, advanced analytics require tremendous resources to generate insights in real time that can then be integrated throughout a company, ultimately creating points of competitive differentiation through more informed decision making.
Although many companies have some level of analytics, most have never built them out to the point where they can move beyond surface loyalty-program tactics like discounting. Gaining customer intimacy requires advanced analytics—ways of getting the right information at the right time about the right customer to shape a more meaningful experience that, in turn, triggers sales.
What’s possible today for companies that want to break the old one-size-fits-all loyalty program approach? Picture this: Customer A comes to a drug store chain every week to pick up a treatment for diabetes. Before their next visit, they’re invited to a personal consultation with the store’s pharmacist. They receive promotions on the new sugar-free candy offering 25 percent off for their first-time purchase. And, after some consultation, they’re told how they can save a trip in-store by ordering refills online. It’s the kind of high-relevance experience that puts this store way ahead of competitors using tried and true mass-loyalty tactics.
One of the biggest barriers to gaining a robust analytics capability, scaling problems, have also deterred businesses from tackling what it takes to satisfy the digital-age customer. More information is available from more customer touch points. So getting data isn’t the problem. It’s processing it en masse and then transforming a tremendous volume of data into actionable insights and feeding them throughout the organization in real time.
Finally, the organizational culture, objectives and infrastructure all need to transform to support the journey from surface loyalty program to deeply rooted relevance. This requires that advanced analytics are deeply integrated. Companies need to elicit buying behavior from online assets and their brick and mortar ones.
That way patterns that then fuel promotional activities that stimulate purchases can be better understood. So the customer who buys a baby carriage in-store should very shortly thereafter be exposed to offers for additional products such as diapers, ointment and the like.
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