This interview was conducted by Clark Buckner from TechnologyAdvice.com (they provide resources on the best customer incentives, software options in employee engagement, innovative training games, and much more). Also, be sure to check out their technology conference calendar.
Customer loyalty industry experts Barry Kirk, VP of Loyalty Strategy at Maritz Motivation Solutions, and Ashley Tate, Director of Marketing at BigDoor, discussed understanding and validating customer personas, data-gathering strategies, and the importance of knowing your customers before creating a loyalty initiative with TechnologyAdvice host Clark Buckner.
Kirk emphasized that the term “consumer” is extremely reductionist in nature. It’s as if marketers view customers as a consumption machine that buys products or services, when in fact a marketer’s goal ought to be to create a relationship with them.
Customers are human beings. Likewise, so are marketers, and marketers would do well to remind themselves of both facts. From a loyalty standpoint, marketers need to move out of a “numbers” mindset and into an “actual person” perspective.
Moreover, Kirk stressed the importance of understanding not only loyal customers but “pre-loyal” customers as well. These are people who, before even buying a product, already show interest in your offering. They work to get to know the product, so they read up on the product’s origin or why it exists.
Kirk also illustrated the four core drives that explain why people become motivated to engage in an experience:
- The drive to acquire stuff: People like getting stuff, whether that’s actual stuff like rewards, points that they can redeem for rewards, or just certain status markers, like “Premium Member.”
- Drive to defend: When people become attached to an experience or brand, they’ll defend it when others might say something negative about it.
- Drive to bond: Customers love to interact with others, and especially within a loyalty program.
- Drive to create: Customers love to add their own touch to any kind of experience.
Pondering on these four core drives allows marketers to understand their customers’ wants and behaviors. When talking about their brand, marketers can then leverage their knowledge of their customers’ drives in order to build better relationships with them.
Customers today often want to be as involved as they can with the brands they’re passionate about. They care deeply about why these brands exist and what such brands offer to them. It could even be argued that they essentially want to marry themselves to brands that align with who they are and offer products, services, or experiences they desire.
A Shift into Persona Marketing
In order for any successful loyalty marketing campaign to begin, marketers should shift their mindsets from value-based segmentation to a persona marketing perspective. Instead of analyzing data for the purpose of determining who buys more products than others, use such data to understand who your customers really are. Ultimately, that results in knowing them on a more human level.
It’s critical for loyalty marketers to create personas by factoring in these pieces of information:
- Job title or level of seniority
- Customers’ daily lives
- Customers’ reasons for visiting their site
- The value your product brings to them
- Customers’ goals in the experience
- The experiences they seek to get out of your product or service
- The duration of the journey you want your customers to take
Data-Gathering Tips for Loyalty Marketers
Heat maps enable marketers to see their customers’ online behavior based on where they’re clicking and what pages or links they’re visiting. Consequently, marketers get to follow a visitor’s journey throughout their online experience.
Customer advice reports allow marketers to test new ideas in order to receive feedback from all kinds of customers. Gathering data from loyal customers is not sufficient, as you will most likely receive the same results, the same likes and dislikes, etc. What marketers ought to seek is unbiased data, which you can get from those who have bounced from your site or from those who originally bought your product or service but decided against further purchases.
Survey methodologies help marketers understand the values behind their customers’ behavior. Why is the brand important to them? How do they spend? Since different customers have different values, marketers can use surveys to pinpoint the dominant value systems that drives their target customers to act.
Ultimately, knowing who your customers are at a human level is of foundational importance when launching any customer loyalty program. Understanding what drives a customer toward action is essential to knowing what kind of value you should offer through a loyalty rewards program. Most importantly, you may have gathered all the data you need about your customers, but what’s critical is how you use that data to show your customers that they’re more than just a number.
Be sure to download the next available podcasts now for free in iTunes: The Customer Loyalty Space!