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How Do You Create Moments of Magic in Retail?

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By: Bill Hanifin, CLMP™ |

Posted on June 2, 2023

Exploring the Psychology of Customer Loyalty

Interest in Customer Loyalty reached an apex at Comarch’s Customer User Group conference (CUG), held in Krakow, Poland, 9-11 April 2023. Seriously, this is not hype, I found myself on the main stage sharing a talk on The Psychology of Loyalty on the opening day.

My talk followed a gracious welcoming message from Prof. Janusz Filipiak, the founder, CEO and President of the Management Board of Comarch SA and a sweeping address from Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the elected President of Poland, who served two successive terms from 1995-2005.

Following these two impressive gentlemen, I wondered if my message for the crowd was worthy of the positioning on the agenda. But I answered that question quickly, as I realized that my purpose was to help over 500 people gathered for this first-class event understand more about “Why People Buy”.

“Why People Buy” is the deepest of questions that intrigues, maybe confounds, marketers worldwide. If we really understood the intricacies of how people make purchase decisions, we could race to our objectives more quickly, through data-driven promotions and offers that trigger buying with the with the same reliability and conditioning as a Pavlovian experiment.

We do the best we can as marketers, using massive data stores and smart technology to connect with our customers, but we know that direct answers that lead to repeatable results are rarely achieved.

The webinar planned by the Wise Marketer in conjunction with Comarch Loyalty Marketing will give you a seat in the middle of this discussion, without the long plane ride to Poland.

The webinar is titled How Do You Create Moments of Magic in Retail?” and I’m looking forward to hosting an expert panel to explore the Psychology of Customer Loyalty more deeply and build on the ideas shared at CUG in May. Sign-ups are available now for this webinar, and you can learn all you need about this unique event: Register here.

The group we have gathered as panelists includes:

  • Christopher Sandstrom - Director of Strategy & Growth Americas, Comarch
  • Phil Rubin – the founder of Grey Space Matters, a  customer-focused strategic growth firm
  • Yuping Liu-Thompkins - Professor of Marketing and Director of Loyalty Science Lab, housed within Old Dominion University in Richmond, Virginia

Each of our panelists has a distinct experience set and operates in different, but adjacent parts of the customer loyalty field:

  • Chris is a potent business development professional and is most importantly a sensible and experienced strategic advisor to notable brands served by Comarch.
  • Phil’s loyalty legacy originated in founding of the one of the early frequent flyer programs alongside operating a strategic planning agency for many years, serving American Express, Nike, the Pittsburgh Steelers and more.
  • Yuping is the steward of one of the most trusted think tanks focused on Customer Loyalty. The Wise Marketer has published papers from the Loyalty Science Lab and the Loyalty VAULT, a favorite benefit of the Loyalty Academy’s CLMP™ community.

Together, this is an interesting group that I personally like to compare ideas with any chance I get. For that reason alone, I hope you are compelled to join us on June 21 for this discussion of “Why People Buy”.

If you want to come prepared for this discussion, there is some crucial background knowledge that will help you pose the right questions for the panelists. Did you realize that many of the best practices that inform strategy in the global business of Customer Loyalty are based on “tribal knowledge”?

Tribal knowledge in this case, means experiential wisdom that has been passed down and shared by practitioners over the past two decades. The concepts are working but we don’t know exactly why. That is because we don’t really know how these best practices are rooted or sourced, and therefore can’t always validate the collective truth of these best practices.

The Loyalty Academy™ set out to find the truth about these best practices several years ago and we found the answers through the study of behavioral psychology and human behavior theory.

Principally we know that almost all humans are driven by the three pillars of Self Determination Theory: Autonomy, Competence and Social Relatedness We have established clear links between each of these pillars and important trends in Customer Loyalty today. In the webinar, we will share examples of Purpose Driven Marketing, Gamification (Deep Engagement) and Community – maybe even more.

We have brand examples that illustrate the connection points between Self Determination Theory and these driving trends in the business and will add perspectives from each of our panelists to introduce new ideas.

We also know that multiple strategic elements of loyalty program designs work because they mirror the findings of BF Skinner’s work in the 1950’s, aligned with research on Idiosyncratic Fit, the Endowed Progress Effect and Loss Aversion.

How Do You Create Moments of Magic in Retail will not disappoint, and I hope you will join us on June 21 at 10am Eastern Time in the US. You can register here. In the event you can’t join us on the day, The Wise Marketer will have a recording of the discussion available on its website the following week.