I’m a marketer.
To me, that means being self-aware, unbiased, and customer-centric in everything I do. Sometimes that’s a lot to ask. As humans, we don’t always have a natural, immediate understanding of who we are or who our customers are.
Our marketing team at Clarus recently participated in an Insights Discovery workshop that gave us new insights on ourselves based on our assessments. Of course, a few of us couldn’t resist and were doing our research beforehand predicting how our color stack would turn out.
I almost had mine nailed down.
Knowing I’m an INFJ according to Myers Briggs, I knew I’d be primarily Green. More than just finding out what my color stack was and learning how to work better with my peers, the slogan of the Green block stuck with me.
Show Me You Care.
Doesn’t that symbolize everything we want in life? Or is it just me?
Trust, understanding, and building strong relationships are foundational virtues in my daily life.
After trying to tie it back to how I contribute at Clarus every day, I quickly realized, among all the color meanings, that ‘Show Me You Care’ is the bedrock of a successful loyalty program.
Your loyalty program can’t exist (successfully) without first understanding who your customers are, creating trust and developing strong relationships with them.
Loyalty Isn’t About Your Brand
The first goal, usually top of mind, for marketers and product innovators when thinking about a loyalty program is “I want to drive customers back to my brand.”
Sometimes we, as marketers, can easily lose focus of our customers, even though it’s our job to keep them front of mind.
“I want” and “my brand” (me, me, me!) can be crippling words for your loyalty program.
You may want to drive customers back to your brand, but it needs to be deeper than that. Your focus needs to start with your customers, not you. It’s not about your brand being fabulous, shiny, and the best.
It’s about how your brand fits into your customers’ lives and the impact you can make on them by understanding who they are.
Tapping into the emotional needs of your customers by listening to your customers’ voices regularly will build trust and a strong relationship. LISTEN—ACT—REPEAT is the way to maintain a successful customer-centric focus for your loyalty program.
Benefits… For Your Customers
As innovators, it’s easy to say, “This program benefit is awesome. Let’s build it. Our customers will love it.”.
Will they? How do you know?
Here’s where it pays to be self-aware. It’s easier to make the decision based on what you like or what you find most valuable, but what are your customers asking for?
What do your customers need to spark an emotional connection with your brand?
Without self-awareness and a focus on understanding your customers’ needs, you’ll never be able to confidently predict how to intertwine your program benefits (and essentially your brand) into your customers’ lives.
Customers want your best.
All the time.
Whether you’re brainstorming new benefits or making loyalty program enhancements, show that you understand who your customer is. Your brand shines brightest when you’ve done the important work of understanding them.
Realize who you’re trying to influence and who you’re grooming to be brand advocates.
It’s like Happy Hour at Starbucks for Gold Cardholders. Buy one get one is an emotional pick me up even without the coffee! And, like an advocate, I just dropped a coffee off to a coworker who also experienced how awesome your brand is.
Believe in Lo…yalty!
Is it love or is it loyalty?
It’s both, really. But, one comes first. When you show love to your customers by taking the time to hear what they hate, hear what they love, and hear what they want more of, your customers realize you believe in your brand and what you provide.
When you act on that feedback, you’re naturally creating loyalty.
Loyalty isn’t something that’s created behind closed doors or developed after a few brainstorming sessions. It’s something delicate and unique that develops over time. Strong relationships with a little give and take will create loyal, invested customers with a passion for your brand and its values.
Intertwining in your customers’ lives happens by creating something for them to believe in, like their favorite baseball team.
Year after year, fans are attracted to watch their favorite teams whether it’s on TV or live at the ballpark. Baseball provides many emotional and physical experiences to look forward to each season that keeps fans coming back for more.
Some meet their significant others at the ballpark, have childhood memories of family trips there, get engaged at the park (like me!) and see their favorite players play and retire on the field over the years.
These experiences become engrained in fans’ lives by getting submerged in the culture of baseball and creating memories that turn into traditions passed on for generations. They keep coming back to be a part of it all year after year, win or lose.
That’s loyalty at its finest!
It’s About Loyalty to Your Customers
When constructing your loyalty program and brainstorming the best and most fruitful benefits for your customers, don’t lose sight of WHO your customers are and HOW they want to be treated. After all, your loyalty program isn’t for you. It’s intended to create an emotional connection with other people.
Your customers above all want to know they’re important to your brand and they want to experience how much you care about what they want. If you believe in your brand and what you have to offer, it’ll be genuine and will shine through your loyalty program.
That warm and fuzzy feeling when they reap the benefits of your program will keep your customers coming back for more, just like a baseball fan!
Loyalty, while not developed overnight, happens naturally by developing an emotional connection with your customers. When the foundation of your program truly revolves around catering to who your customers are, it’ll be clear that you’re focused on more than just driving customers back to your brand.
Your brand will be known for showing your customers you care.