The current loyalty program environment is challenging but rife with opportunity. Many poorly designed programs are driving loyalty fatigue and mercenary loyalty (paying for loyalty). However, there are more loyalty memberships than ever before and those companies that are successful in driving engagement and true loyalty are experiencing significant returns.
The programs that "get it right" and earn genuine loyalty don't just repurpose an old tactical model or copy the competition – they are unique and create or reinforce differentiation in the marketplace. The best place to start is by changing the conversation from loyalty to lifecycle – identifying the critical touch points and behaviours that drive true loyalty.
The Customer Lifecycle
The customer lifecycle differs by industry, client, brand, product or service and even customer segment. It can be complex and is not always linear. In general, however, the customer lifecycle is comprised of four stages.
The acquire stage focuses on driving awareness, consideration and trial. While loyalty programs traditionally kick in after acquisition, the critical seeds of loyalty are planted in this stage. Additionally, loyalty programs are often leveraged as a value-added benefit to drive acquisition.