British businesses have endured several turbulent years. Brexit, Covid and the resulting fallout from both events have created an uncertain environment for businesses to operate in. Added to this, the current cost of living crisis has hit businesses two-fold, both in terms of increased operating costs and reduced demand as consumer seek to tighten their purse strings. In such trying times, it’s more important than ever for businesses to retain and engage their customers.
By: Charlie Hills & James Davies, Mando-Connect
In the B2C world, many brands have turned to loyalty programmes to help retain customers. Just this year, we’ve seen some of the biggest brands in the world launch new programmes such as McDonald’s My McDonald’s Rewards. Yet such programmes are relatively few and far between in the B2B space. Moreover, there is shockingly little robust research into the world of B2B loyalty. To shine some light on this under researched topic Mando-Connect have conducted a study into Businesses and Employee audience attitudes and behaviours towards loyalty programmes and, critically, how that varies by the organisation size, business sector and position held within the company. The research has been shared in a new whitepaper- What the British want from loyalty programmes – The B2B & Employee Edit. The whitepaper is available to download on Mando-Connects websitebut here are some of the key learnings.
1) B2B And Employee Audiences Are Huge Loyalty Fans
Across all the audiences surveyed an astonishing 73% are currently members of loyalty programmes (B2C or B2B). Moreover, 53% think all brands should offer them and 74% say they are a great way for businesses to reward their customers. It’s clear that B2B audiences are already familiar and feel very positively towards them. They have a clear appetite for them.
2) They Are Highly Engaged with a Range of Loyalty Programmes
For the first time, the research has been able to show how many programmes the B2B audiences are currently members of. The response ranged from 4.3 – 5.4 programmes for the most engaged audiences (those in Junior and Middle Managers positions). With an overall average membership of 4.8 programmes, it’s safe to assume that the B2B audiences are familiar and engaged with a range of different programmes. You, as a programme owner, must therefore take an approach that differentiates and compliments the programmes that your audience are already members of.
3) They Display a Clear Preference for Points, Milestone, and Always on Programmes.
All the B2B and employee audiences responded with the same top three preferred loyalty mechanics: points (75%), milestones (35%) and always on (31%) reward programmes. These formats are straight forward and easy to understand. It suggests that it’s best to keep things simple with B2B audiences, especially for those time poor and stretched individuals working in micro-businesses!
4) They Are Motivated by Discounts, Free Products and Partner Rewards
Again, the B2B and employee audiences displayed a clear and unanimous preference for the type of rewards that they want to receive. They want discounts and offers (67%), Free Products and Services (32%) and Partner rewards (28%). To motivated prospective members to sign up to your B2B programme, you must offer tangible value and ideally a range of both own product and partner incentives.
5) They Want Rewards from Big, British Brands.
As you may imagine, there was more variation in the response to the question around the type of partner rewards that B2B audiences want, particularly among different organisational sizes. Two qualities were preferred amongst all other though; respondents wanted rewards from big brands that are familiar to them (53%) and British brands (30%). If you are going to include partner rewards in your incentive mix, ensure they are from well-known brands to engage your customers.
The data within this whitepaper paints, for the first time ever, an incredibly positive picture of the opportunity of loyalty programmes with B2B and Employee Audiences. They are very positively impacted by programme membership; they will shop, spend, and refer your business more and will feel more emotionally connected to you as a supplier. If you are looking to build a great relationship with a B2B or Employee Audience and you don’t have a loyalty programme you should get one… If you do have one, there are some clear insights and recommendations within Mando-Connect’s report to ensure that you’ll get it right for your specific audience.
Charlie Hills, CLMP, is the Managing Director & Head of Strategy at Mando-Connect and a featured contributor to The Wise Marketer. James Davies is the Junior Strategist at Mando-Connect.