As we continue to endure a challenging economic climate, brands continue to navigate how best to respond, and where to focus their attention for ensuring long-term growth. In Dentsu’s Now and Next of Customer Experience, Azlan Raj explains that the concept of loyalty is one of the first things that will help companies over the next year and into 2024. With a reduction in household purchasing power, people are making more conscious decisions when shopping and are doing more research into where they spend money most effectively. The adverse effects of the cost-of-living crisis on loyalty is widely recognised. 80% of senior managers who were surveyed say it has made consumers more likely to try different brands or services to get the best deal. Expectedly, loyalty is a topic high on the agenda across the marketing industry and is thus a priority for Merkle as we strive towards total customer-centricity. Putting customers at the heart of strategy is not a new concept, but in today’s world of economic turmoil, the role of loyalty throughout the customer journey is even more vital to business success.
Our 2022 Customer Expectations Report explains the importance of understanding what people want at any given moment. The research investigated what UK consumers deem important in their experience as customers, and compared this to what businesses are prioritising. Findings showed that good customer service was a priority across both groups and ethics and values ranked highly for both brands and consumers, particularly among younger groups for the latter. However, gaps existed between the importance of reviews/word of mouth/influencers and celebrity endorsement (51% of brands place this as important versus 27% of consumers) and payment methods (55% of brands compared with 25% of consumers). Incentives and rewarding loyalty are key, with a high proportion of consumers agreeing that discounts (84%) and loyalty rewards (80%) have increased in importance for them in recent years. The gap in consumer expectations versus recognised changes suggest brands need to be doing more here.
Amongst our other leadership in the loyalty space is the battle for personalised loyalty in an economic hurricane. This whitepaper discusses the key elements to standing out from competitors in a time where every interaction matters. These include access to significant, relevant, and timely customer data; the resources (tools and people) to segment, analyse and truly understand that data; and the ability to recognise their customers where and when they are and reach them with a tailored experience. With all of this in in place, it must be underpinned by decisions to help drive business outcomes.
If you are keen to find out more from a specific category perspective, check out Merkle’s recent blog on loyalty in the fashion industry. Also look out for upcoming whitepapers on how service drives loyalty, how aligning to customer values drives loyalty, and how the cost-of-living crisis has impacted customer loyalty.