In today's Facebook and Google Ad Sense generation, where many a content experience is dictated by what you like, search for and click on, brands that aren't completely optimized at every touchpoint are now in perilous danger of becoming the dumb bouncer in a movie, blocking a consumer from a desired experience.
“Don't you know who I am?” says consumer. “You're not on the list,” says the dumb, bouncer-like brand. “Get in line like everyone else.”
So, how do brands avoid pushing people back and leaving consumers out in the cold? And better yet, how can they utilize the velvet rope to their advantage?
Remove barriers with smart data
We all want to be treated differently. We all want access past the velvet rope and no one wants to get in the back of the line—especially when the wallet is out or about to be. That's common sense. Yet so many programs still have gatekeepers on the phones that, instead of using data from recent transactions, zip codes, a pre-created “decision tree,” or a sales funnel script, just hold the company line. When a consumer calls a brand, it's an opportunity to engage, or enrage, and the difference between effecting one or the other isn't massive if companies are optimized. The data is at your fingertips and can be used to optimize every consumer touchpoint.
Use the velvet rope to your advantage
Your customer is telling you what he or she wants with every purchase and every email clickthrough—and every message that goes unopened or brand action that gets no reaction. Are you listening enough to turn that behavior into a velvet rope moment? That's a lot more effective than guessing what the market wants and it's the essence of loyalty, whether in a formal program or not.
It's no surprise, for instance, that a recent survey of retail marketers shows a majority expecting “substantial growth” of revenues from loyalty programs in the next three years, while 32% plan to implement a new program. (Edgell Knowledge Network (EKN)'s State of the Industry Research Series: Customer Loyalty in Retail) Listening and responding are the fundamentals of making customers feel special.
Consistency is crucial to a VIP experience
While offers should vary across touchpoints based on both consumer-initiated and other factors, each of those touchpoints may require a different approach to communications. The VIP experience breaks down if one consumer doorway feels completely different than the rest. Firms in our space are typically single channel-based, whether it's the email ISP or the Web analytics firm, and that marketing silo model ultimately works against the loyalty promise.
If I'm shopping at a big retailer, I expect the brand to know me, regardless if I'm checking out a Web deal or if I'm in the store purchasing something because I want to kick the tires first.
In order to hit their projected growth, loyalty marketers need to sync up their channels, mend the gaps in the consumer journey, and make sure their staffs are fully capable of executing in their respective channels—and communicating with each other.