#541: Reward Experiences Made Memorable for Members

The Loyalty Academy™ senior faculty members, Bill Hanifin and Aaron Dauphinee, are back from CRMC 2024 to bring you this week’s “Wiser Loyalty” podcast episode. This is the last week of this month’s topic series which is drawing constructs from the Loyalty Academy™ curriculum for the Loyalty Rewards Strategies & Redemption Experience course (course #108). This week the share their perspectives on the importance of creating seamless, brand aligned, and remarkable redemption experiences for members or experiences that are the reward themselves.

In the Wiser Loyalty series, Bill and Aaron draw a theme each month based on the courses required to earn the Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional™ (CLMP™) designation which is nearing on 1,000 individuals across 53 countries worldwide.

Show Notes:

1) ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Aaron Dauphinee⁠⁠⁠⁠

2) ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Bill Hanifin⁠⁠⁠⁠

3)  ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠The Wise Marketer 

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the founder and CEO of Let’s Talk Loyalty and also Loyalty TV. If you work in loyalty marketing, you can watch our video interviews every Thursday on www. loyalty. tv. And of course you can listen to our podcasts every Tuesday, every Wednesday, and every Thursday to learn the latest ideas from loyalty experts.

Today’s episode is part of The Wiser Loyalty Series, which is hosted by our partners, The Wise Marketer Group. The Wise Marketer Group is a media education and advisory services company providing resources for loyalty marketers through the Wise Marketer digital publication and The Loyalty Academy program that offers the certified loyalty marketing professional or CLMP designation. I hope you enjoy this weekly podcast, The Wiser Loyalty Series, brought to you by Let’s Talk Loyalty and The Wise Marketer Group.

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Bill: Welcome, everyone. I’m Bill Hanafin, the CEO of The Wise Marketer Group, and I’m one of the two hosts of The Wiser Loyalty Series here at Let’s Talk Loyalty. I’m here with Aaron Dauphinee. Aaron, how are you?

Aaron: I’m well, thank you very much.

Bill: Aaron is recovering from a series of interviews. He’s been the virtual talk show host of the loyalty industry over the last week, interviewing probably I don’t know, eight or nine brands at least or more at CRMC and we’ve been interviewing some other folks.

So, hopefully you still have a voice for us today, Aaron.

Aaron: Yeah, I do. I’m actually down here in sunny northern New Orleans, pardon me me just a quick flip from Chicago at CRMC, and then I’m heading back home in about a couple hours, actually. That’s great. Yeah, I’m in a new location for this.

Bill: And we’ve got an American holiday coming up, which I know you’ll take advantage of as a good Canadian, so.

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, that’s right. So, if you’re tuning into this series for the first time, then you probably know, or you may not know, but you need to know that we base these discussions on one of our courses in The Loyalty Academy. And so, in this month, we’re looking at loyalty reward strategies and reward experiences, which is our course number 108 and we try to break down, like, the key areas of that course into different topics 1 per week.

And so every month we’re doing this, we’ve been working our way through some of the courseware and had some really great discussions. And so this week. We’re going to talk about experiences with rewards and this is a really this is really a great topic because reward redemption is supposed to be 1 of the magic moments of participation in a loyalty program. And so, when we think about the experience of the reward in particular, we’re thinking about this for situations where the reward itself is, in fact, the experience, or it can be the experience if it’s done really well. And we’ve got a few things that we want to keep in mind for anybody brand marketers program operators.

And just think about this, the, the components of making the reward the experience it’s the ease of getting the reward right, Aaron? and it’s the connection to the brand that is rewarding to the customer and it’s the feeling that comes from being rewarded. So I don’t know, why don’t we dig into this thing, talking about the seamless aspect of rewards. You know, can they should they be must they be? But help me out with that.

Aaron: Yeah, for sure. When I think about you know, the ease of redemption, like, seamlessness that comes to mind, like, I love that word that you just popped out there. I think that’s the call to action for where we want to be.

And if you think about this from a to from exercise for those who’ve been in the loyalty industry for a while, like, back in the day, and that was not too long ago, to be honest with you, you know, you would redeem a reward as a member, and you’d wait 4 to 6 weeks to receive that reward from a oftentimes from a fulfillment broker, you know, which is a third party vendor and not even the brand itself or the loyalty program. So it was once removed. And if the, so if we put that into a tangible example In that moment as a member, I would think about the fact that maybe I’m redeeming for a toaster.

I don’t know. I’ve got a brunch on the weekend or something like that. I need a multi slicer. So, I would go online and take a look at the redemption values. seeing it’s pretty good about the percentage that I’m going to get back. It’s not too bad. Cause and who wants to really pay for a toaster, but then I’d go right to Amazon, right?

And I look at the cost of the toaster and hard cash. And so the variable isn’t actually about the reward value necessarily, but it’s actually then becomes about the speed of getting it to me, because if that brunch is on this weekend coming up Amazon can deliver that for me, but there was uncertainty in the redemption experience if it came from the loyalty program or the brand, because it might be a couple of weeks or something elongated.

So, so I think that’s changed the game. The new expectation is that the more immediacy to fulfill on those rewards when they’re tangible reward items like that. And so, you know, now it’s very common to have the capability for that fulfillment to come directly from the OEM, the original equipment manufacturer, in some cases and the point being that really is a much more redacted timeline our expectations, you know, as consumers has gone from this idea of getting something in weeks to now days and even more so into now, even hours for some particular products and services.

And so, I think you get my point here, which is really now we’re at the beginning and if not now, certainly in the very near future where there’s going to even be an ability for me as a member or customer to be able to schedule these things within a 15 to 20 minute window and the brand and fulfillment houses will have to find a means to enabling that because that’s the expectation when I go on Uber eats or lift or skip the dishes or any of these or any of these types of immediate delivery services and they’re getting them every, in their everyday purchases they’re certainly having this type of expediency.

And so that expectation is certainly rising. And when it comes to the reward or redemption to be at least on par.

Bill: Right on. Lemme ask you something. Go ahead. So there’s the seamless, there’s the timing element, but there’s also venue and what I would call context. Oh, yes. So it seems like a lot of rewards right now.

I mean, a lot of brands, especially retailers, are thinking about doing, in kind rewards, if you want to use that term, so redeeming back for something in their store, like in creating that return visit. And I think that gives an opportunity for the brand actually to create an experience around that reward redemption.

So think about you’re bringing back the customer into the store, and it’s one thing just to maybe scan a code, get a discount you know, turn in some sort of a, a token for your reward, but there should be something more to that. Like, you know, what do you think brand can do to make that in store experience more impactful?

Aaron: Yeah, I think that comes to about the being aligned to the brand to some degree to, which is the 2nd component. But just to touch on this, I think it’s an element of making things memorable, which is the 3rd, and so you want to have your employees in this case, if you’re talking about in store redemptions, have a bit of pep in their step or like, Hey, congratulations. Wow. This is amazing. This is good. As opposed to just being, you know, which is great when they do ask would you like to redeem some points? Like, that’s great. But to try and make it not in a fake or ungenuine way. But like, Hey, this is, it. Really valuable. Like, this is a good thing that you’re doing and congratulations and thank you for being, you know, one of our loyal customers that’s achieved this and it becomes, you know, particularly in commoditized type businesses like grocery and even gas it, you know, it doesn’t seem like it could come across trite if not done well.

So I’m not suggesting this is easy, but there has to be some element of surprise and delight that comes into this on the reward side as well too, for those individual customers that are redeeming frequently in, in your store location. And maybe that’s the solution is it becomes, you know, an identification from the brand of every five or six redemptions in store.

It’s something that’s a little bit more upscale or up up motivating and memorable to some degree. Yeah, that’s kind of my thoughts on the, in-store for sure. Yeah.

Bill: You know what’s interesting, we heard a lot of this at CRMC. There’s much more recognition of the need to put loyalty right in the, in the middle of your operational model. So the brand is thinking about if I’m going to do something special and create an experience. It’s going to require me to invest more in training of my people and to maybe have some coordination on site inside the store and that is traditionally very difficult to do.

It’s carries some risk. I think Yes, but just think about the idea like I mean, what if you walked into a retailer? Say your favorite men’s clothing retailer and you find out that you know, you get some sort of benefit, you get a reward, but what if that person would take you aside and say, Aaron, you know what, I know you’ve been you know, you’ve been buying these certain types of shirts in the past.

We’ve got something that would compliment that beautifully and they give you a couple options. And what if they gave it to you for half price or they gave you one for free? All of that could be absolutely memorable, but it’s difficult to pull off. I think.

Aaron: Yeah, 100%. And again, it has to be genuine and authentic to the brand and be aligned with the brand that you’re actually right.

Bill, if you know, if the goal is to make sure that the relationship between that brand and the members is really strengthened, lengthening and reciprocal 2 ways the moment of reward is one of the critical pieces in the puzzle for sustaining your connections to the brand. And so, only makes sense that the brand should be front and foremost in reinforcing.

This is a moment between the two of you, like a moment that matters, if you will. And also not be so shy about the fact that they’re providing this for you. right? Like there’s an element of these things that get lost. And so, you know, being assertive of like, we’re in this together. You certainly, you don’t want the member to be making a redemption, you know, just receiving an email from the brand off to the side.

And in the case, indicating it’s being processed or that it’s on its way, which is a good brand moments. Certainly, and you want to reinforce those, but then leave it, you know, gosh, forbid third party where the product arrives and they receive it and it’s nondescript and it’s non identifiable packaging. You know, there’s a company details to reinforce that, you know, that the member even made a redemption, you know, the congratulations. Thank you. Like, don’t stop here. Get your goal set for your next reward. Like those things that keep them engaged and want to come back to the brand. And so. You know, and I, and we say this here from the cheap seat, so to speak, if I use a baseball analogy and we recognize, you know, at some point, we just need to concede a little bit that for some deliveries, the first impression might be the packaging from, you know, the envelope or the box from DHL or UPS or the courier service. That’s fine. But really once that you’re past that, it needs to be reinforced, pardon me, by the brand to be a rewarding moment that truly is brand experience or is a branded experience for that member. And again. Appreciate, there’s layers of costs that come into this as well too. But as you said earlier, this is the payoff moment. Like this is the moment that truly matters in the relationship as to why we’re doing this and why they’re participating and you want them to feel valued, I guess. And then you also want to call on to action. I think the critical thing is to get them to engage again quickly. Right? Like we talked about goal setting in our psychology course earlier, and I think it was February that we covered that particular topic. And we know that when someone receives a reward. That moment of satisfaction and that and uptick in engagement occurs and it’s there. It’s tracked. It’s studies have shown this but it’s not long lived. Right? And it can fall off sooner than we think. And so we just can’t take it for granted.

Bill: Exactly well, you know, you’re trying to, I think what you’re talking about is trying to create a bit of a Seth Godin moment that wow factor that he talked about.

And I mean, he was so much on target with that. I was just as you were talking, I was thinking about. Suddenly unboxing came into my head. So how many of those unboxing videos have you ever watched on YouTube about or, you know, and Apple, I think, pioneered a lot of this and the experience of not just buying the product, but opening this box and the way it so beautifully packaged and had some messaging. But I think that sort of idea can translate to the reward space. I think that’s really what you were talking about before, but just you could let your imagination run with that to make it a much better experience.

Aaron: Yeah, 100 percent that’s exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about, you know, memorable moments or remarkable using Seth Godin.

I love that you brought him into the equation. He’s one of my faves. And most marketers would agree, I would think. But it goes beyond just actual tangible products too, right? Like we’re talking about if the reward itself is in fact an experience you know, there needs to be tools also in place to help the individual member remember and be able to share that with others.

So, people who know me well for this example. So forgive me a little bit, but if I’m redeeming for tickets to go ziplining, who knows me knows that why I’m picking this one, you know, it’s an attraction type of reward and there’s this moment. In all of these types of operations that they take a picture or there’s a video, they throw a GoPro on your helmet on. And so that moment is being captured. That experience is being captured. And so I think here’s where we need to get creative as loyalty marketers to say one, the redemption may have happened to three months before, reinforce like, Hey, you’re about to go on this experience with us. Congratulations. Have fun type thing from the brand. Then when in the experience itself start to be able to find mechanisms to capture information, get access to that photo, be able to then send an after card that says, Hey, we, you know, we, here’s a picture of you in this reward. We’re so happy that you’re able to do this. And thank you so much for being a loyal member. Right. Thank you so much. We value. And we just wanted you to remember this and that we’ve done this together, you know, and there’s certainly marketers who can get the language exactly correct in terms of what would be appropriate. I’m not professing to be an expert on that but what I think my point is that we need to be better equipped, certainly to get these moments, right. And to capture them and to be able to make sure that we’re enabling the reward. And if it’s an experience reminding them just how they got to that.

Bill: That’s great. Good place to wrap it up and I just put it out there that if anybody needs to know you know, if Aaron, if you’re looking for a birthday present for Aaron, anything associated with speed would be good.

So, zip lining, formula 1, you name it, I think it all vectors into the happiness for Aaron. So there you go. That’s how you to create the best experience right there. Thanks everybody for being part of this Wiser Loyalty Series with Let’s Talk Loyalty. We love this collaboration with Paula Thomas and hope that we’re bringing you value from valuable information every month.

So, this month, we’re just wrapping up our series on, reward strategies and reward experiences. It’s our course 108 and loyalty academy and next month We’ll be back with a brand new topic.

Aaron: Yeah, that brand new topic is actually finance. So, we’ll be getting into the nitty gritty So we’re looking forward to that for the month of june.

So stay tuned with us Goodbye, everyone. Stay loyal. Be well.

Bill: Thanks, Aaron. Thanks everyone.

Paula: This show is sponsored by Wise Marketer Group, publisher of the Wise Marketer, the premier digital customer loyalty marketing resource for industry relevant news, insights, and research. Wise Marketer Group also offers loyalty education and training globally through its Loyalty Academy, which has certified nearly 900 marketers and executives in 49 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For global coverage of customer engagement and loyalty, check out thewisemarketer.com and become a wiser marketer or subscriber. Learn more about global loyalty education for individuals or corporate training programs at loyaltyacademy.org.

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