Revving up relevance in loyalty messaging

In an April 2009 study conducted jointly by COLLOQUY and my customer loyalty agency Direct Antidote, we asked more than 2,000 US consumers in an online panel how relevant they found loyalty program communications on a 10-point scale. Just 32% of consumers surveyed rated the relevance of program communications at an 8 or higher. Therefore, 68% of US consumers think loyalty program communications, such as mailings, e-mails and social networking messages, are largely irrelevant.

However, many of their responses sustain hope.

Here are a few glass-half-full findings from our survey:

·         The Senior (age 60+) demographic —traditionally the toughest nut to crack—reported a spike in rewards program engagement. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of Seniors that reported reading special offers sent via direct mail increased 64% and the number who read mailed program statements rose 21%.

·         Millennial consumers (age 18-25) outpaced all survey demographics in engagement with rewards programs through new media channels. A somewhat expected but still notable 52% strongly appreciate communication via cell phone or text message, while 55% said the same about social networking sites.

·         Affluent respondents (with household income of $125,000 or more) are more engaged with special mail offers from their rewards programs. And they’re logging into program websites at a statistically significantly higher rate than before.

·         Respondents in our Core Women segment (age 25-60 with a household income between $50,000 and $125,000) have also become more engaged in reading special offers they receive in the mail.

As marketers, we all strive to create messages that appeal as close to each a segment of one as possible. Certainly, practical and financial considerations make this goal challenging for all of us, but too often, and simply because of the times we live in, the marketer’s downfall is due not to being outfoxed by a competitor, but rather to the lack of any kind of action. Rather than do nothing, focus on the small wins that create relevance and deliver ROI. Practice consistent, value-driven, multi-dimensional relevance, and you’ll reap the rewards. To engage with and retain our most valuable customers during this slow recovery, we must unite with and aid our best customers in that common search for value.

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