Expo focuses on the human aspect of loyalty
In Florida, USA, the third annual Loyalty Expo has been exploring and examining the latest techniques and strategies for engaging customers, along with the key problems facing marketers as they work to engage customers, employees and partners in a bid to drive long-term, sustainable results, according to contributing editor Tim Crank (managing director of engagement marketing for Young America).
The three-day conference opened by addressing one of the most important - yet often overlooked - aspects of loyalty programmes: the human aspect. Barry Kirk of Maritz chaired a workshop on 'The Neuroscience of Engagement', in which he asserted that "consumers are human beings first", and that they are much more irrational that marketers would ever like to believe. This presents a problem because most loyalty programmes are clearly designed based on rational decisions and behaviours. Kirk demonstrated how loyalty programmes could be much more effective if they incorporated aspects of neuroscience and behavioural economics into their structures.
The focus on "consumers as people first" continued as Jeanne Bliss gave a host of examples and insights into 'The Five Decisions of Beloved and Prosperous Companies', using real-life examples to describe the key decisions that have been common to most companies that customers and employees alike call "beloved". Bliss described how organisations achieve prosperity (both in terms of finance and human spirit) by putting the customer on their strategic agenda.
But the central theme in several of the breakout sessions, including that of Robert Passikoff of Brand Keys and Jim Harris of WSJ Office Media Network, was the topic of customer engagement. Passikoff and Harris demonstrated how customer engagement increases brand equity which, in turn, leads to greater customer loyalty and profit. The duo demonstrated how they were able to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of various marketing touch-points to determine the best mix for driving customer engagement.
Bill Hanifin of Hanifin Loyalty led a panel discussion on 'Nurturing Loyalty Through Social Media', in which it was noted that, while traditional loyalty programmes only reward customers for purchases, leading edge programmes such as MyCokeRewards, Groupon, and Tasti D-Lite are now using social media as a way of rewarding customers for other behaviours (such as referrals, recommendations, checking-in, and even for other social media posts) by linking their loyalty programmes to Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare, among others.