Speaker 1 (0s):
Welcome to “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.
Hello, and welcome to episode 1 48 of Let’s Talk Loyalty with a brief apology for the slightly croaky voice today. Nonetheless, I wanted to continue with my show being released as usual on today Tuesday.
So today’s episode is a conversation with Dr. David Cox, a man who holds a PhD in loyalty marketing, and also runs a company called Motivforce that operate B2B loyalty programs for global giants, like IBM in the technology space, as well as travel agents who specialize in premium holiday bookings.
Now, as you can imagine in both these industries, the members who joined these programs have huge influence on customer purchase decisions and hence the ability to justify a loyalty program to recognize and reward top performers that make commercial sense.
David explained the key proposition for some of the programs, his team run. He explained that they focus on hyper competitive markets that suffer low differentiation in customer’s minds. So the role of the loyalty program is to mould the ambassadorial behavior of the intermediary, whether it’s a travel agent or a computer reseller with his experience in motivational marketing, David focuses on creating self benefits to create true connections and habitual behaviors that drive more revenue. As we all know hard benefits like incentives and commissions are easy for competitors too much. So instead they focus on making these people feel like brand ambassadors. One amazing example is the work they’ve done with IBM for over 20 years. This program has won two of the prestigious lower T magazine awards this year, firstly, the best B2B program for the third year in a row. Plus even more amazingly, it was voted by the judges as the best long-term loyalty program in either the consumer or business sector, truly an incredible result for the IBM program. Their loyalty strategy is based on a number of clever insights, starting with the need for their resellers to stay up to date on the products they sell for the company. This program runs at 131 countries and in 14 languages and is based on gamification since even before the term became a phrase in our industry, cleverly, they had thought long and hard about what game would appeal in each country. So they could leverage the existing passion and understanding of games like cricket in India or ping pong in China to help resellers enjoy themselves. When learning more about their products. At the same time, David explained they chose whatever sport was seen like a religion and this alone drove some extraordinary engagement for them with their members. The IBM loyalty program also uses badges, which have become hugely prestigious for members to use on their professional profiles to illustrate their skills and build their careers. So from a simple start using online quizzes, this global brand has ensured it’s relevant in each of its local markets using the power of sports as a final comment to show how powerful this program is. David mentioned that the rewards for members of some of his B to B programs have to be kept, but at a whopping $100,000. So to me that just shows how profitable these programs can be for the members and clearly for the brands that are running them. Finally, David and I discussed why there has never been a better time to be a loyalty marketer. David had written an article detailing five key learnings and specific loyalty trends. He had noticed since lockdown, many of which were existing trends, but were of course accelerated during the pandemic. In summary, these include getting lazy loyalty programs into the gym to ensure you keep your member base engaged as well as the importance of finding new ways to communicate with members, the pandemic has made video meetings much more acceptable. So there are ways using new formats that will connect even more. We think that text-based email, all of us are increasingly driven by the need for community and connection. So David also mentioned that even though some companies still feel threatened by social media, for example, because they can’t control the conversation. It’s more important that they do show up and mode the conversation rather than try and ignore it or barriers. We also talked about the eternal challenge and increasing importance of measurability and being able to demonstrate returns on the investments we make back to our colleagues and finance. The last trend we talked about then was more emotional leavers within loyalty, such as sustainability and the element of charity. For example, letting members redeem their loyalty points for rewards for frontline workers, which was a new idea just coming to market at the time. The key now is that consumers don’t want to just hear about great intentions from companies they buy from. They want to see continual action.
That’s it from this episode of “Let’s Talk a Little Loyalty” featuring my conversation with Dr. David Cox. If you enjoy the short summary, please do listen to the full interview – it’s episode 43 from July 2020.
And of course, please do join me again this Thursday, when I’ll be chatting all about the latest trends in airline loyalty with Comarch’s Peter Kowslowski.
This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer – the world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news insights and research.
The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which has already certified over 170 executives in 20 countries as certified loyalty and marketing professionals.
For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyalty academy.org.
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