#515: 2024 Consumer Trends Index with Marigold's Wendy Werve

Today, Let’s Talk Loyalty is joined by Wendy Werve, CMO of Marigold, to share her favorite learning from this year’s Consumer Trends Index, which has been created in partnership with eConsultancy.

The Consumer Trends Index is an annual report that we feature on this show, and the 2024 edition consumers from various countries, including Benelux Region, Denmark, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Listen to learn how consumer preferences are changing when it comes to marketing channels and how different demographics are choosing to engage with brands while protecting their privacy, while also focusing on building greater brand loyalty.

I hope you enjoy this year’s insights from the 2024 Marigold Consumer Trends Index.

Show notes:

1) Wendy Werve

2) 2024 Marigold Consumer Trends Index⁠

3) Marigold⁠

Audio Transcript

Paula: 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.

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Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty, which is also being recorded as a webinar for our friends in Marigold. I’m delighted to be joined today by Wendy Werve, Chief Marketing Officer of Marigold, to share her favorite learnings from this year’s Consumer Trends Index, which has been created in partnership with Econsultancy.

The Consumer Trends Index is an annual report that we have featured on this show in recent years. And the 2024 edition surveyed a total of 10,394 consumers from various countries around the world including Australia, France and Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. The index focuses on how consumer preferences are changing when it comes to marketing channels and how different demographics are choosing to engage with brands while protecting their privacy while also focusing on building greater brand loyalty.

If you’d like your own copy of the Consumer Trends Index, you can find it easily on the meetmarigold.com website. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

So Wendy, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. How are you doing today? 

Wendy: I’m doing great, Paula. Thanks for having me. 

Paula: I am so impressed that you are joining us at 7am from an airport and I don’t even know which part. I know your travel plans have been disrupted, but we had this webinar planned for such a long time together. So thank you for showing up. 

Wendy: Yes, thank you.  No, I’m in Denver for anybody who’s interested. But all good. 

Paula: Okay. Brilliant. Okay. So hello to Denver and delighted to be able to have the conversation today. As I think, you know, Wendy, we’ve talked about the Consumer Trends Index on let’s talk loyalty over the last couple of years and our audience love it. So delighted to be getting into what the 2024 research brought to light for you particularly, because I know it’s something you’re particularly proud of. So lots of insights, lots of exciting topics to get into. 

But before we talk about anything to do with Marigold, of course, Wendy, as an industry professional and just as a consumer, I suppose, we always like to get a sense of favorite loyalty programs from people who come on the show, because it gives us loads of insights in terms of how you think about loyalty. So will you kick us off and tell us what is your current favorite loyalty program? 

Wendy: Sure. So like many millions of people in the world, I’m a huge fan of the Starbucks loyalty program, but I’m also very much a fan of a loyalty program that was just recently launched here in the States, the Kentucky Fried Chicken loyalty program recently launched and I spent some time with their chief digital officer learning about that. And I’m incredibly excited for what that program will mean to their customers. They’ve already hit a million customers who have signed up for their loyalty program, and it was only recently launched. So it’s very cool.

Paula: Oh my God. Well, wow. Big shout out to KFC. Yeah. An open invitation to get them on the show. How exciting. 

Wendy: Yes. Yes.

Paula: That must be amazing. Wow. Yeah. You know, sometimes I feel like the brands that launch later, they really get so much value from, I suppose, paying such close attention to what the market needs. So to launch a new program for such a huge brand in 2024, I mean, honestly, I can only imagine the excitement. So a brilliant achievement, a million members. So make sure to extend an invitation to them for us. Yeah? 

Wendy: Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Paula: Great stuff. So listen, Wendy, as we said, the main focus today then is the Consumer Trends Index. As we know, the world is flying along at a kind of crazy pace and everyone listening to this show all over the world is desperate for insight in terms of what we can learn so we can really cultivate our customer loyalty.

So thank you first and foremost for investing in this research. I know it’s a global piece of research, including very diverse topics. countries as far apart, of course, as the US to Japan and down to Australia and plenty in between. So, very insightful and very exciting. Even before that, actually, we should really touch on reintroducing Marigold because I think we talked about off air that it’s still quite a new brand for a lot of people.  And I really love the origins of the name that you came up with. 

So would you mind just introducing the company again, Wendy? So everybody knows all about you guys and where you’ve come from. 

Wendy: Sure. Thank you for that. Marigold was launched a little over a year ago, the name Marigold. And Marigold encompasses all of the brands and platforms that have come together from a marketing automation, email standpoint, all the way up through loyalty brands that everyone knows and loves.

So I didn’t sail through Cheetah Digital Campaign monitor, Emma, all of these wonderful brands have finally come together under the name Marigold and the thinking with the name Marigold. Marigolds are companion plants. When you plant a Marigold in your garden, they help everything around them grow and flourish and they are actually that growth accelerator. So we love the name because at Marigold, that’s exactly what we’re focused on helping our customers do. How do they accelerate their growth and their relationships with their customers? 

Paula: Yeah, I love that. Honestly. I remember the first time I was surprised, you know, it was like Marigold. Oh, that’s interesting. But once I got it, like once it was explained. I’ve never forgotten, you know, why you guys chose that name. So I think it’s super creative. I always say I’m not the creative person in the marketing team. So very exciting. And thanks a million for sharing that kind of origin. So certainly we would have talked a lot, particularly about Cheetah Digital would have been the product name we would have focused on over the last couple of years.

So now we’re all excited to support you guys. So tell us a bit about you, Wendy. 

Wendy: Oh, let me make one, one, one quick one quick plug. So Cheetah Digital is under Marigold Engage Plus. So that is the product within the Marigold portfolio. That is the former Cheetah Digital.

Paula: Got it.

Wendy: And it’s grown and evolved from there. So when you see Engage Plus.

Paula: Amazing. Okay. Okay.So it’s constant growth and evolvement. That’s what I’m hearing. Yeah?

Wendy: Yes. Yes. 

Paula: Wonderful. Wonderful. Super, super. So listen, tell us about you, Wendy. Where did you know, start your career? What have you been working on and how did you end up with the Marigold team? 

Wendy: Sure. So I’ve spent the past 25 years in tech software in a variety of capacities, working for a different verticals, everything from HR tech infrastructure software, health and wellness software, you name it. I’ve done it. The one thing I’ve found that’s consistent across all of those is no matter what industry you work in, marketing and loyalty, customer loyalty are critical.

So very happy to be at Marigold and helping them build out the message in terms of what those relationships look like for customers going forward. And eager to take this brand forward into the future.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. So we know that this piece of research is an annual study. As we’ve talked about, I know there’s over 10, 000 people again in, in so many varied markets. And I know it’s one you’re very passionate about because it just touches on so many different areas. And what I liked actually about this particular year is the fact that there’s a couple of, I suppose, quite innovative insights in terms of like, maybe quite challenging from what we might expect from a brand that does of course offer loyalty platforms as well as of course, all of the other things.

So we’re going to get into talking about, you know, what is needed in 2024 in terms of driving customer loyalty. Maybe what is not needed because in fact, I think what I’m hearing, what you’ve told me before is there is a big shift towards simplification towards, you know, really focusing on getting the basics, right. And getting back to what is it that our customers actually want. So consumers are getting more digitally connected. So how do you think this is changing their purchasing behavior in 2024? 

Wendy: Yeah, this is interesting. So the digital transformation that we’ve all experienced has led to remarkable changes in consumer behavior. And we’re seeing, you know, approximately 80 to 90 percent of people have not only changed what they buy, but also how and where they’re making those purchases. The state of marketing today is marked by several trends that are worth highlighting here because folks have to navigate this every day. The transition from transactional to relationship centric model is one important trend.

So we’re definitely seeing people wanting to build those customer relationships. They’re starting to see marketing initiatives as more than just one off campaigns. So you know, building those campaigns and towards that deeper relationship, it’s going well beyond the transaction and into building those deeper relationships.

And another key trend revolves around the evolving landscape of consumer behavior you know, with the digital era and full swing, consumers are more connected and informed than ever. This has led to a shift in their expectations and how they interact with brands. And marketers need to stay attuned to those changes to remain effective. And those changes are ongoing and seems like every single day, there’s something new marketers need to be aware of. So.

Paula: I know it’s a bit terrifying, isn’t it? 

Wendy: It is. It is. It really is. It’s a lot for marketers to know. 

Paula: It sure is. Yeah. And something they’re always talking about with us on the show, Wendy, is the whole thing about personalization because everybody wants to do it. It’s not an easy thing to do. What are you hearing about personalization? 

Wendy: We’re hearing, and we know that personalization is absolutely essential. It is what separates folks on the marketing side. When you get that personalization, right? Those relationships are going to be built faster. You’re going to be building that loyalty from a very early stage, but that loyalty piece.

Really comes down to how personalized are you? How well do you know? How well do you know your audience? How well do you know your consumer? They expect, you know, consumers today expect messages that resonate with them. They want to see ads. They want to see offers that are appropriate to them. So, I mean, I think that’s, you know, personalization is the key that all marketers do. And that’s quite honestly what all marketers are really working towards right now. And there are a lot of tools out there. You know, we offer a wide range of tools that are helping people get there faster when it comes to personalization. We know how important it is to them.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. My favorite example about personalization is always my birthday, Wendy. I don’t know about you, but every time my birthday rolls around, I’m kind of going, okay, I’ve given my date of birth to at least 50 different companies around the world. So let’s see what happens. And you know what? 

Wendy: It’ so true. 

Paula: Yeah. Well, I do think again, it’s not for the lack of will. I think every loyalty marketer is like, okay. We know the birthday is like the one day that they’re Paula or Wendy wants to feel super special. But it’s not always that we managed to get into delivering on that expectation, but I do think people are very much looking forward to kind of going, well, look, if I gave you that data, why can you not do something with it? Like, why can’t you make it a wonderful day for me? So definitely it is. 

I think something that every loyalty marketer says, yeah. Totally understand the concept. The reality is challenging to deliver, but your research is obviously saying that once it is personalized, then the consumer will notice, I think, first and foremost, they will respond and that ultimately it will drive that purchase behavior.

Wendy: Absolutely. And the other thing I will point out is there is a fine line in personalization. There’s, you want to do it without being creepy. If you know too much about someone, that makes people really uncomfortable. And we’ve learned that from the research as well. You mentioned consumer trends, very important for us.

Fifth year, we’ve been doing it. Some trends remain the same. The idea that folks, you know, that marketers may use information to be too familiar does not land well with folks. And there is a fine line between, you know, maintaining that privacy and getting that personalization right. 

Paula: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I think it was one of your former colleagues, Wendy, again, talking about this research report and this whole topic about being creepy. And he was like, he had just been to have minor surgery and it came up on some, I don’t know, crawl cell or I don’t know what platform, but literally saying, Oh, have you had an operation recently? And he was totally freaked out as I would be. I mean, that’s so intrusive. 

Wendy: Exactly.

Paula: So I think customers are quite savvy now. And we know it’s being fact, but honestly, like, just don’t use that information. That’s going into the creepy space, I guess, huh? 

Wendy: Exactly. You said it. We call it creepy. And we do not want, marketers do not want to be creepy, so.

Paula: No. No. No, It’s a fine line. 

Wendy: Yes. 

Paula: Totally. So tell us about the trends, Wendy. What is the research telling you? 

Wendy: Yeah. So the, what the trends are telling us is that the consumer landscape is continually evolving and understanding these changes is critical for effective marketing. And this is why we have published this.

As I mentioned, it’s the 50th year that we’ve done this and it highlights the latest insights into the channels, the engagement, brand loyalty, data privacy, and so much more. I mean, there’s so much data in here and we get excited every year that we do this report. We ask some of the same questions year over year, and then we ask new questions year over year. So it’s nice to compare the data year over year and see how that’s changed, but also finding and surfacing those newer insights has been really enlightening and eye opening for us. And I think any marketer would want to, you know, Look into these trends and make sure that they’re aware of them. 

Paula: Totally. So tell us about the channels. I know it is your favorite one. What came through with the channel research? 

Wendy: So probably no surprise to marketers is that email communications remains the number one channel for driving revenue, email effectiveness wise, and it’s direct and personalized approach what we talked about a little bit earlier. And email allows brands to connect with consumers on an individual level, providing that tailored experience and message that resonates to drive those conversions. And that’s really important. And marketers are seeing more and more that getting that right is the key to, you know, faster path to revenue.

Paula: Absolutely. Yeah. I think I keep expecting some research to come out and say, you know, the email era is over, but no, it just seems to be getting stronger. 

Wendy: It seems for the past 25 years, people have been saying that and it keeps, you’re right. Year after year in the entire five years that we’ve been doing this research, it continues. It continues to be the number one channel. 

Paula: Yeah. And tell us about social media, like that’s one, obviously it’s been through so many different phases but I do think that this report showed a lot of things, which I think were quite new particularly, I suppose, you know, some disengagement, dare I say it on social media, which might be news for loyalty marketers, because I still think it’s seen as super important, takes a huge amount of the budget. But, you know, for me, like I often say, I think I’m the only marketeer in the world, I’m not even on Instagram. Like, I’m trying to try to manage my consumption genuinely.

So, so what are you hearing about social media, particularly again, from a loyalty perspective? 

Wendy: Yeah. So what we’re seeing on the social media front is that consumers, they’re really distrustful of social media. More of the ads that they’re seeing, which is, you know, calculating into, you know, broader distrust of social media in general.

But they’re very hesitant to make purchases directly from those ads. So those that’s demonstrating, you know, that they’re not great ways to build loyalty if those ads are you know, the saturation of those advertisements has led to this skepticism that we’re seeing across consumers. 

And I think you’re, you know, I am on Instagram, so I do see the ads that come through and, you know, I’ll be honest, some are great and really relevant, but for the most part they’re not relevant. They don’t really know me. That personalization piece is really missing. And I think that’s why folks are expressing this, you know, skepticism around those ads that come from those platforms. 

Paula: Yeah, and it is disappointing because even though I’m not on Instagram, of course, I’m on LinkedIn. I think everybody knows me from LinkedIn and I’m still often, you know, and from a professional perspective, I’m quite disappointed about the kind of content that’s being served there.

Same on Facebook. I often do end up going, okay, I have no idea why this is coming in front of me, but anyway, I think it’s all important again, all in the mix and again, all from a research and insights perspective, it’s super important that everybody does know that, you know, yes, it has a role to play, but you know, where we focus our time and attention on an energy needs to reflect, as you said, that kind of concern about mental health, particularly on the advertising side with social media.

So what other trends did you see? What are you so, you know, most excited about coming through? 

Wendy: So I’d say a particular, particularly intriguing development is the growing desire for a sense of community, especially among the, you know, the Gen Z consumers. We’re seeing a shift where the generation, this generation in particular places a high value on brands that foster a community atmosphere.

And that’s, you know, all around, I think, you know, authenticity and building that credibility from a very authentic place. That is really important to Gen Z. There are slew of factors that are contributing to some of the pessimism that we’re seeing, but half of the consumers do not trust social media platforms as we talked about with their data, while even greater numbers feel that they have been manipulated by the algorithms.

So Gen Z, I think, understands technology, right? They’re probably that first generation that was really interacting with a lot of these platforms, and they really are wanting to interact authentically with brands. So even though we have technology facilitating that, the authenticity is something that’s very important to them.

And we’re seeing that generation seeking, you know, connections beyond transactions and wanting to be part of something meaningful. And, you know, this presents an opportunity for brands to build communities around those shared values. And those will sustain when somebody believes, you know, brand loyalty is amazing. When people believe in your brand, they will pay more for your brand. They will buy more from your brand. They will every, you know, all of those things, but that really comes down to that authenticity, at least in terms of what we’re seeing from the report. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. No, there was a great statistic that 63 percent of the research, the people research said they do pay more to shop with their favorite brands. So that’s just proving exactly what you’ve said. Community is something I really think is probably the next big opportunity, Wendy. We’ve talked, for example, on this show with brands like IKEA you know, even brands we hear about brands like Sephora you know, all focused on building community. 

What I loved about what you guys are saying is that we can use even the email technology messaging to create that sense of community. Like it’s not about going and investing in a new community platform. And again, an important point, you know, with the marketing budgets getting tighter, as we said, and so many people expected to do so much more with so much less, but tell us what you’re seeing coming through on that side.

Wendy: Yeah. So, and that’s a great point. It really does come down to, you know, email is that core centerpiece that can really help you build that relationship, you know, from the ground up and embracing personalization in a responsible way using, you know, data and main, you know, respecting people’s privacy bringing people together, understanding, you know, segmenting audiences, you can really do a lot with email.

And the communications that you’re pushing out, right? Every communication that you send out is another opportunity to reinforce your commitment to that community that you’re building and remind people that they are a part of that community and continue to further engage them based on their past engagement and their interests and all the information that you’re learning about them, you can continue to build a community that will resonate with the folks who are the members of that community, who are your customers.

Paula: Yeah. And do you think we’re doing a good job? I mean, again, email, as we’ve talked about, it’s been around for 25 years. We’ve talked about personalization for an awful long time, and we’ve talked about, you know, how far that could or should go. But what is the research saying in terms of how are brands doing when it comes to this personalized messaging even in 2024?

Wendy: Yeah. So I think the importance of truly understanding and knowing your customer can not be understated. And there, you know, we have a lot of tools that are helping us do this, but again, it’s about that respect and fine line between, you know, the creepy and the how do I turn you into a super fan of my brand?

And at the end of the day, you know, finding your people and getting to know them, getting to really know them in a way that’s going to be valuable for them and also valuable for you, but then using that information to turn them into super fans. I think that’s, you know, this is really going beyond the transaction and taking it to the next level, taking those relationships to a new level.

Paula: Yeah, I like those words that you used, Wendy, because being valuable to them, I think is one of the biggest shifts I noticed on this show. It’s like when I started building loyalty programs, it’s like, how can I get them to be more loyal to me? But now, you know, you’re absolutely saying, you know, the whole purpose of loyalty. Whether it’s the messaging, whether it’s a currency, it is about demonstrating, you know, whether it’s through personalization or authenticity. It’s really that shift in mindset that builds the trust and the builds the engagement. 

And so talk us about then this particular approach. I know you’ve kind of identified a couple of key pillars that I think this audience would love to hear in terms of how do we do that? Because it’s all well and good. You know, to read it in the report. But operationalizing that is a whole other piece of work. So talk us through the pillars that we need to be thinking about. 

Wendy: Yes. So the pill to make this approach work effectively, we’ve identified three pillars, which is show me, you know, me make it worth my time and earn my brand love. And these pillars serve as a guide for creating impactful and authentic connections with customers.

So it’s really, you know, like I was mentioning before, it’s find your people, get to know them, create that value exchange that’s meaningful and beneficial for both of you. And, you know, earn my brand love, turn me into a super fan by demonstrating a deep understanding of your customers, you’re establishing a connection based on familiarity and relevance, making it worth their time is respecting their time and attention by delivering content and ads that are meaningful to them.

78 percent of folks, you know, according to the report are people who are appreciative of those, you know, personalized ads that are coming to them. They want those 78 percent really, you know, value that type of getting to know you and earn my brand love is really around building a genuine emotional connection. And this, as we mentioned before, this goes beyond the transactions. It’s really about creating that brand that customers love and feel connected to, and that they feel is an authentic representation of themselves. 

Paula: Yeah. Love it. Love it. Okay. So three pillars. Show me, you know me. I guess that’s the whole personalization. As we said, respecting the privacy, not being too creepy. Make it worth my while. I guess that’s something that again is almost preaching to the converted because again, as loyalty marketers, we’re always driving that. Sometimes there’s pushback from other departments. But it does have to be worth our while. And then earning the brand love. So that’s actually a word I love I’ve talked about it on the show before. So, you know, it does go beyond transactions and, you know, using the word love in a business context. I still think it’s a bit radical for a lot of people listening because it is something that again, it’s not normally used you know, in the business room, the boardroom or whatever, but we’re all about the brand love. So wonderful three pillars to keep focused on. Yeah. 

Wendy: Yeah, absolutely. And it is important to note that 40 percent of people are frustrated by messages that do not reflect their wants and needs. And this is really important for marketers to understand that is, you know, that’s just under half. 

Paula: Wow.

Wendy: So think of the folks that are not engaging because it’s not relevant to them. Put your marketing dollars in areas that allow you to create that relevance for them. And, you know, again, not only are you going to be building that, that brand loyalty, but you’re also going to be building that authenticity with your customers. 

Paula: Absolutely. Yeah. And there is enough information out there. Again, we know the market is changing, but you know, programs are capturing zero party data and all sorts of party data. So definitely no excuse not to be personalizing. So super important to, to keep focusing, I guess, on the changing landscape. 

The other piece I loved as well, Wendy, was the real importance that convenience came through you know, as something that your research and candidates are absolutely saying is really driving participation. So tell us a bit about the shift in priority towards convenience. 

Wendy: Yeah. So there’s been a surprising increase in participation in loyalty programs. You know, despite the shift in priorities, it remains incredibly valuable for brands in 2024 with more than six and 10 consumers paying more to shop with brands that they’re loyal to.

But our research also suggests that the most successful programs offer a diverse range of rewards, making them feel like individuals rather than, you know, just part of the crowd. I’m an 85 percent of consumers say their favorite brand treats them like an individual. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah. So people are telling us what they want. They want to feel the connection. They want to feel the genuine brand relationship. And they’re telling us that effective messaging or personalized experience are really key. So what do you think they can do with that information in order to build the loyalty?

Wendy: Yeah. And so nearly 80 percent of customers are eager for relationships with brands or, you know, to work with brands that get them. That seems to be sort of the common theme across everything that we’re talking about today and with loyalty programs in particular. But that means that, you know, marketers have to find the right people really get to know them and build that relationship and that trust by delivering that personalized content.

So I feel like we continue to double down and double click on this, but it is that important is, you know, find your people, get to know them. And really turn them into fans of your brand by, you know, personalizing the information. 

Paula: Yeah, and I think what you said to me off-air as well is that the messaging piece really, I suppose, serves as the foundation. So again, it’s fantastic if we have currencies, if we have a full loyalty platform, but actually ultimately there’s absolutely no point having that currency in play if you don’t have that foundation right. So I think what you’re saying is, let’s get back to basics. Customers are asking for it. So let’s see what we can do with the messaging just to make people feel like they’re actually hearing from a brand that truly understands them.

Wendy: Absolutely, and we consider that messaging piece, that email piece, really to be the flywheel. You know, once you get that right, once you have that information, the personalization pieces in place, then, you know, you can operationalize that within a broader loyalty platform. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. And I remember you told me as well, I thought it was quite funny as well, Wendy, you know, because I think sometimes we try and get a bit too clever in terms of the copywriting. We might get the Chat GPT involved, and then it might use that language that we that might just not resonate with the particular market that you’re talking about. So I guess it’s important to keep that local aspect as well, and just keep a sense of what is important to my customer in Denver or in Dubai or wherever we happen to be.

So from my point of view, you know, it is around, you know, compelling messages locally relevant and keeping that tone of communication in a way that does make me feel like I’m understood. So it is a sense of belonging. So I think again, you know, let’s be wary of the creepy messaging, be wary of the overuse on AI perhaps. And just get back to, you know, keeping the messaging platform in a way that you can simplify, you know, your communications and the process and make sure that your loyal customers are aware how much attention you are paying to communicating to them in a way that they want to be communicated to. 

Wendy: Yeah, absolutely. Getting those personalized offers to them and, you know, using a little loyalty platform in the longer term to streamline, you know, that loyalty that you’re demonstrating back to them is that’s really important. So whether, you know, whether you have a dedicated loyalty platform or you’re leveraging existing tools, the key is to make the experience seamless. And we keep saying this value, what is the value to the customer is making sure that every step of the way it’s valuable to the customers. 

Paula: Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. And I know your other favorite point is that a loyalty program is not necessarily designed for everyone. So tell us about your insights on that side.

Wendy: As you go through this process of finding your people, getting to know them and turning them into super fans, what’s important for brands to recognize is not everybody is going to be your customer and not everybody is going to be loyal. And that’s okay. Because what you really want to do is understand who are the people that you really want to connect with.

Who are the folks who you really, you know, who are really authentic supporters of your brand. And those are the folks that you want to continue to bring back. They’re the folks who are going to spend more with you. They will buy more from you. They will be, you know, the cost of, you know, customer acquisition costs are going to go down, but it’s okay that not everybody is your loyal customers. Those are not, you know, it’s as good to know who your loyal customers are as it is to know the ones who are not going to be your customers forever. 

Paula: Totally. And I remember sometime a while ago, Wendy, actually, I remember somebody on this show saying, you know what, actually it’s exactly the same point, just express expressed a little bit differently that there is actually sometimes an overhead and a cost to maintaining a huge database, but actually if you’re, you know, following the Pareto Principle and thinking about where you should be investing, then actually you could probably like literally archive 80 percent of the members focus down and double down.

And I think that’s what you guys are saying is really know who those people are that you want to cultivate and the people who are one and done, let them be one and done, you know, let’s really build loyalty where there’s a, an opportunity to build share of wallet. 

Wendy: Exactly. I mean, exactly. Invest in those true customers. We know that almost 60 percent of customers are prepared to pay more for a brand to which they feel a connection. That’s significant. 

Paula: Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. I think the whole idea of get this, do that, you know, that transactional piece has moved on. I think in 2024 and maybe it’s, you know, you know, moving on from the pandemic, I think focused all of our minds in terms of how we wanted to engage with brands. So I think for loyalty marketers, you know, maybe they’re hitting, you know, a bit of a speed bump and need to rethink how they do their loyalty programs. 

Wendy: Yeah. I mean, I would agree with that. I think we are seeing people think about what does loyalty really mean and what does it look like and how do you get that right at a foundational level?

Paula: Yeah. Okay. Tell me about gamification. This is always one of my favorite topics. I think there’s always something again to go back to my original work with you guys in Cheetah Digital. It was always such a core part of that product. And I know it’s continuing to deliver. And I think particularly as we come into again, you know, smaller budgets, perhaps doing more with SO. Tell us about what are you hearing coming through in terms of the consumer appetite for gamification?

Wendy: Yeah. So what we know is that gamification not only increases engagement, but harkening back to a previous trend we talked about, it fosters a sense of community among customers. People love to compete. They love to share their achievements. They love getting badges. They love getting stars and creating a space where customers can connect and share their experiences as a social element to the loyalty program.

So again, you know, tapping into that community building aspect of it. This is also a great way to collect relevant information from customers directly. Customers are more likely to share personal information in exchange for something. So we know this, you know, you give me something that I perceive to be valuable, I’m willing to give you something, my information that’s valuable to me. We know nine and 10 consumers say they find discounts and coupons to be valuable exchange for their personal data with loyalty rewards and points a close second. So we know these things matter to consumers. 

Paula: Yeah. So I think what we’re hearing is it’s defining value a little bit differently when it comes to the value exchange.

Wendy: Yep. I think, you know, people often think of, you know, value as money. And data positions are great. You know, opportunity to flex our relationship marketing muscles and make their audience, you know, make audiences feel like VIPs and it doesn’t have to be money, right? It can, you know, offer them exclusive content like previews, eBooks, guides, recipes you know, exclusive access to content, whatever your niche may be, make the cost of entry participation in a survey or a poll.

You know, all of these are designed to collect zero party data, but they are, they’re activities that consumers will engage in. Because the value on the other end to them is significant. So, you know, we encourage our customers to look at those surveys and polls and I see them all the time and I actually enjoy participating in them because I know I’m going to get a more personalized experience if I am willing to put forth the time to give a little bit of information upfront. That’s going to make the experience for me in the long run much better with that brand. 

Paula: Totally. And I can tell you from experience as well, Wendy, that certainly when it comes to, you know, planning internally and talking with the CFO, if I’m planning a gamification campaign, you know, purely from a cost perspective, it’s just something that goes down so much better internally because the ROI just seems so much better.

So again, I think it’s been talked about for many years, but I think it’s a really time is still here. You’re hearing about it. I know even more with this sense as well, as you said, of fostering that sense of community. And the piece that I loved was that the demographics show that particularly, you know, Gen Z and millennials maybe less so on the boomer side, but there is this appetite for community, the gamification can support. So something that we should continue to focus on. 

Wendy: Yes, absolutely. Cultivating that sense of community can be a powerful tool for data collection. Also, you know, when customers feel that they’re part of a community, they’re more willing, perhaps even feel a little more compelled and responsible to provide their input, their opinions and their perspectives.

We found, you know, in this report, 55 percent of consumers find community like connecting with other people who like the brand as a valuable exchange for their personal data. This number correlates closely with age generations. Gen Z, no surprise, are more enthusiastic with, you know, 68%. And boomers, probably not surprising, are the least at 38%. So, predictions are spot on. 

Paula: Amazing. Amazing. Listen, Wendy, I feel like we have absolutely flown through a huge report, as we said, 56 pages of information. I really want to thank you for shedding light on this year’s Consumer Trends Index. And of course, we’ll make sure to link to the meetmarigold.com website for anyone who does want to go in and download their own copy of the report. 

And so before I wrap up, is there anything else that you wanted to mention for our audience who are listening and curious about your research? 

Wendy: I would just encourage everyone to download it regardless of what aspect you’re looking at. There are trends in here that everyone will benefit from knowing and understanding, and I will continue to you know, embrace personalization. It’s all about personalization. So get that piece right, and you will have loyal customers for life. 

This has been a great opportunity, Paula. Thanks for having me. We’re really excited about this research. We will continue to deliver it. But this year’s is especially insightful, so I would encourage everybody to download it. 

Paula: Wonderful. Listen, thank you again for your investment in this research. Wendy Werve, Chief Marketing Officer with Marigold. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Wendy: Thank you.

Paula: This show is brought to you by the Australian Loyalty Association, the leading organization for loyalty networking and education in the Asia Pacific region. The Asia Pacific Loyalty Conference will take place on the 7th and 8th of August this year at the Gold Coast, Australia, with over 350 guests in attendance, including yours truly from Let’s Talk Loyalty.

I can’t wait to meet so many loyalty experts from the Asia Pacific region in person. Register now to hear global experts discuss current trends in loyalty marketing. There will be fantastic networking opportunities, hosted drinks and dinners, appointment bookings, competitions, and great prizes to be won.

Visit australianloyaltyassociation.com to find out more.

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