Are Today's Marketers Still Loyal To Loyalty Programs?

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A recent study reveals that more than a quarter of digital marketers at Fortune 500 brands say their companies don't have them.

Loyalty programs are long-standing practices within the marketing industry, but are marketers moving away from this time-honored tradition? Loyalty and engagement solution provider CrowdTwist and marketing community organizer Brand Innovators conducted a poll earlier this year to take a closer look at the state of the industry.

According to the companies' survey of 234 digital marketers at Fortune 500 brands, half of the respondents say their companies either don't have formal loyalty programs in place (26%) or they have ad hoc/opportunistic ones (24%). Of those who work at brands with established programs, 21% rely on traditional “spend-and-get” techniques, and less than one fifth (17%) have programs that are multichannel; although, 12% claim to be getting there.

Still, some marketers don't seem motivated to up their loyalty game. Fifty-eight percent of the ad hoc program respondents claim to do the bare minimum, and about half of the spend-and-get (50%) and getting-there (46%) program players consider their initiatives “on par.” Respondents with multichannel loyalty programs are the exception: About half (51%) of these participants consider themselves ahead of the industry or even trailblazers. However, data from the study indicates that there's still work to be done. While 57% of all respondents consider their programs extremely or somewhat successful, 38% are more humdrum, not categorizing their programs as successes or failures.

But if budget is any indicator, these marketers may be increasing their loyalty focus after all. According to the study, 57% of participants expect their companies to increase their loyalty program budgets in 2017—with measuring ROI (52%), data integration (51%), and internal company issues (50%) being the main drivers. Still, they'll have to overcome a few hurdles if they hope to create a successful program. Respondents list data integration (63%), internal resource alignment (59%), and siloed transactional data (55%) as some of their top barriers to loyalty program adoption. 

For more information on the current state of loyalty programs, check out the infographic by CrowdTwist below.

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