Core Principles to Guide Your Digital Customer Marketing Strategy in 2018

WM Circle Logo

By: Bill Hanifin, CLMP™ |

Posted on May 9, 2018

The conversation about how to find new sources of profit for your business, whether retailer, e-tailer, hotelier or airline, is becoming more intense by the day. And, while sophisticated conversations swirl about how to effect the digital transformation of the enterprise, there are still quarterly numbers to meet. There’s no time to waste in taking action to improving the execution of your digital customer marketing campaigns.

The traditional understanding of customer loyalty (loyalty marketing) and perceptions of its efficacy have been tainted by the performance of many poorly conceived and executed programs. Marry this market experience with a recognition that consumers are writing their own script towards making purchase decisions, and there are limited reasons to cling to dated nomenclature.

It’s no surprise that CMO’s and their C-Suite colleagues react positively to discussion of improving Customer Experience and investing in Customer Engagement. Mention the role of customer loyalty and the conversation can go askew.

But the debate about which of these concepts (Loyalty, CX, CE) should prevail is not a zero-sum game. The brightest among us realize that winning the argument for any particular term is a hollow victory. To create sustainable sources of revenue for our business, we need to invest in digital marketing strategies that build profitable customer relationships. Investing in maintaining these relationships may be the most financially responsible decision an executive can make.

To clear a path towards Digital Customer Engagement, we’ve come up with a list of 8 principles to guide your digital customer marketing strategy. Taken together, these principles define the intersection of customer loyalty, customer experience and customer engagement.

We’ll go into more depth on this list in a future post, but let’s start the discussion now. We’re interested in your views. Please share your comments, questions and challenges.

  1. Engagement & Loyalty strategy should share a common goal to stimulate behavior change across desired (not all) segments of the customer base.
  2. Stakeholders should identify specific business objectives through a disciplined planning process to prioritize desired customer behaviors and set KPI’s.
  3. Incentives should be applied across a lifecycle of interactions, connecting transactional and non-transactional behavior.
  4. A second key objective that only digital marketing can achieve, is to uniquely identify the maximum reasonable percentage of the customer universe.
  5. Data collected should be carefully managed, creating a framework to personalize offers and communications based on purchase habits and qualitative preferences.
  6. The use of data insights should build trust with your customers, and enable more efficient and targeted communications across the identified customer universe.
  7. All incentives, campaigns and loyalty programs should be designed to be integral to the customer experience.
  8. All data-driven marketing campaigns can be measured with financial integrity, and loyalty programs should be expected to produce a measurable incremental financial benefit for the enterprise.

Bill Hanifin is CEO of The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).