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Utilizing Merkle’s Loyalty Accelerator to Transform Brand Loyalty Programs

At Merkle, we believe a loyal customer is a brand’s greatest asset. We recognize that loyalty must be earned, first through a great product or service, then through ongoing experiences that make customers feel recognized and rewarded. Loyalty is more than just a program. It’s a strong and enduring bond between brand and customer, felt at every touchpoint, and fueled by data-driven experiences that are personal, meaningful, and memorable.

Now more than ever, customers are seeking immediate, authentic, and personalized interactions across channels. Our 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report found that:

  • 81% of consumers want a relationship with a brand
  • 64% of consumers want to receive personalized offers based on their past purchases
  • 58% of consumers said surprise offers and gifts are the most important way a brand can interact with them
  • Privacy concerns are increasing, but 54% of consumers still say they are comfortable letting brands use purchase history and reward status to make the rewards experience more relevant for them
  • 45% of consumers want to feel like the brand appreciates their business

Delivering on these experiences allow brands to build emotional connections that engender loyalty over time. However, creating these types of experiences requires brands to rethink their loyalty strategy, approach loyalty as a key part of CX, bring stronger focus to identity, and create more and different brand-customer interaction touchpoints.

Many brands are recognizing these needs and investing in loyalty with great results. Last year, Harvard Business Review’s The Loyalty Economy report found that loyalty leaders grow revenues roughly 2.5x as fast as their industry peers and deliver 2-5x the shareholder returns over the next 10 years. However, some brands still struggle with this transformation because of challenges like transactional “program” focus, siloed data and systems, and lagging insights. These challenges lead to fragmented identity and disconnected experiences, which can be difficult barriers to overcome.

How Merkle’s Loyalty Accelerator for AEP Can Help

Merkle’s Loyalty Accelerator for Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) aims to remove these brand challenges and help deliver the experiences customers are looking for with a standardized data schema focused on real-time awareness and a comprehensive view of the customer.

The Loyalty Accelerator adds a loyalty program member profile and event data from the Merkle LoyaltyPlus™ platform to AEP's Real Time Customer Profile to drive real-time, bi-directional activation through coordinated cross-channel customer experiences based on a data-driven understanding of customer behavior and needs. With it, data collected from consumers during their brand interactions –registration, engagement, profile enrichment, transactional events, offer redemption, etc. – is consolidated alongside data from CRM, point-of-sale, ecommerce, media, and other sources in a unified profile. That holistic and up-to-date identity, in turn, drives better segmentation, journey building, personalization, look-alike modeling, targeting, and conversion. For example, consider a loyalty program offer. Today, many brands use “one size fits all” promotional offers, which are easy to deploy but lack personal relevance for members, so they don’t further the relationship.

Our Loyalty Accelerator combines what we know about the loyalty member – their purchases, preferences, tier and status, and history in the program – with other data points from the AEP Real Time Customer Profile like web, CRM, and customer service activity and propensity information to determine the most relevant and valuable offer for that member right now. The member receives an offer that builds the relationship, relevance, and perhaps even some surprise and delight, and is easy to redeem across channels. The Loyalty Accelerator also tracks redemption and results, which are important data to feed the unified profile and shape future offer strategy and decisioning.

Through the Loyalty Accelerator, brands that leverage both Adobe Experience Platform and Merkle LoyaltyPlus™ can now take advantage of these key benefits:

  • Simplified martech stack: A rich, unified customer profile with a single ID across Adobe Experience Cloud enriched with loyalty data from Merkle, alongside customer experience management and workflow tools, all in one place. The Accelerator removes barriers and silos that can otherwise hamper loyalty growth and maximizes brand investment in both Adobe and LoyaltyPlus™ platforms.
  • Data-driven decisioning: Customer profiles can be queried in real time during any interaction to inform a holistic customer experience strategy that helps brands win, keep, and grow their best customers through relevant, compelling messaging and offers.
  • Unified orchestration: Customer experience management is coordinated across touchpoints with cross-channel member experience, targeting, segmentation, and personalization, planned and activated inside Adobe Experience Cloud and LoyaltyPlus™.
  • Better customer engagement: The combination of a unified profile and more robust data enables enhanced, catered customer experiences where loyalty serves as always-on fuel for data and identity, and loyalty marketing activations provide moments of value across the customer’s journey. All through a secure, compliant integration with governance and privacy by design.

Ultimately, the combined power of Adobe and Merkle platforms that our Loyalty Accelerator brings can help brands transform their approach from a loyalty program to an integrated loyalty experience management strategy and create valuable, engaging touchpoints for customers along the journey.