4 Words for Loyalty Marketing in 2024

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By: Bill Hanifin, CLMP™ |

Posted on December 26, 2023

Why you need to redefine Trust, Transparency, Relationships & Gratitude for success

There are words in the English language that are used so often that they risk being labeled as trite. And just like a teenager gives her parents an eye roll and turns up the volume on the iPods in their ears to drown out the noise, that’s what can happen to otherwise weighty words that are used without sincerity in the parlance of business.

Trust, transparency, relationships and gratitude are four words that come to mind this holiday season as being “at risk” based on their use in the world of customer loyalty, and we wanted to come to their “defense” by offering perspectives that might nudge you to rediscover your connection with each one for 2024.


Trust is defined as the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Our confidence in others correlates directly to the level of trust we have in them. In business, our trust in the services and technologies that we depend on for the execution of our customer marketing strategies determines who we choose to work with and our willingness to invest in the partners who provide the services.

Seeking to build trust across our networks should be a high priority. Making a commitment to building trust with our customers (those people we hope to refer to one day as “loyal”) should be the North Star guiding how we create customer experiences and the embedded offers that are part of those experiences.


Customer loyalty is less about making anyone truly “loyal” and much more about changing behavior. If we are good at our craft, we can achieve that objective. If we are really good, we can find ways to alter customer behavior over the long term through the establishment of trusted relationships.

Relationships are fundamental to increasing customer lifetime value far into the future. One of the wisest statements I heard this year came from Andy Choi, Founder & CEO of Do Good Points. He asserted that “relationships grow at the speed of trust.”  Andy didn’t pay me to mention this, but I do believe that just as engagement is a predecessor of loyalty, that trust is a predecessor of strong relationships. And relationships are necessary to build CLTV.


If you’re old enough to remember how professors used “transparencies” during lectures – and I’m sure many of you are not – you’ll understand that the principal feature of a transparency was that it let the light shine through. Stating that it’s important to be “transparent with customers” is so often touted in briefs and strategy documents that it is becoming a throw-away phrase.

The litmus test of transparency is what our customers see through the lens. No matter how much lip service we give to making our program rules, offers, and email communications transparent, we need to continually monitor the perceptions of our customers to all those elements of our marketing efforts. If they see the lens as a bit cloudy, then it probably is, and we need to clean up our approach.


Gratitude is the secret power of many successful people. It doesn't need to be reserved only for momentous occasions. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness. They even have stronger immune systems.

We’ve all been operating under pressure for 3 years or more, at a minimum. The pandemic changed our outlook on the world as we knew it and the relentless pursuit of objectives and profit makes it challenging at times to be grateful for much of anything. Maybe 2024 will be the year that our patterns change, and we can be jointly outspoken in gratitude for all that we have accomplished and hopeful for what is yet to come.

So What?

If we pay attention to what research is telling us about evolving consumer attitudes, and if we listen to day-to-day conversations with people in our midst, it should be clear why we chose these four words - Trust, transparency, relationships and gratitude – as important ones to redefine for application in our business in 2024.

People are hungry for messages that break through the noise and capture their attention in an authentic way – one that sparks a bit of emotion, not just recognition of a “deal.” We encourage you to take what we have written here and use it as a starting point. Build your own take on each of these words and decide how you want to make the meaning of each come alive in your customer loyalty / customer marketing efforts.

We are betting that if you do this, you will find grand success in 2024. Something to be grateful for, to be sure.