When marketing managers consider how to build direct and lasting relationships with customers, they often think of CRM and loyalty initiatives as separate disciplines, with their own teams, tools, and technologies. However, in the most successful consumer-centric companies, CRM, and Loyalty work together to engage a wide range of consumers and develop deep relationships.
It is impossible for companies to start thinking about customer loyalty when they have not yet attracted customers, or even worse, when they do not even know how their Buyer Persona thinks or consumes. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) plays a key role in this, as it allows companies to develop a rapid relationship with customers by providing value through relevant communications and offers.
If we look at it as the construction of a building, such a platform provides not only the blueprints of what the customer values and the interaction they have with the brand, but also the foundations of an agile, omni-channel database with the ability to communicate with each customer in a personalised way that truly delivers value.
Now, it is important to understand what are the functions and benefits that will bring that extra value that is necessary for the loyalty strategy. For this we are going to focus on 4 key attributes that must be considered to build a successful CRM and Loyalty strategy:
CRM is often used as a high-volume customer acquisition tool, as it collects the email addresses of interested buyers to start generating lists and pre-qualified leads that can be incentivised to make the first purchase with recruitment offers that are remarkably interesting in content or value for the ideal customer, such as downloadable tools, information, "20% off your first order" or similar.
Loyalty Management provides a focused strategy for those customers who we already know, according to what CRM dictated to us, have a better fit with the brand, can be provided with more value and therefore have a higher Customer Lifetime Value. While CRM focuses more on customer communication, loyalty can go beyond the screen to create personalised experiences, which can be leveraged as an acquisition tool, for customers who are looking for more ways to engage with a brand.
At the end of the day, what you need most to have a truly value-focused customer strategy is the data you can collect about their behaviour, preferences, pains, etc. CRM brings its greatest value in the fact that all the data you manage to get from the customer whether it is through content offers, purchases, or surveys, it is all stored in the platform.
For loyalty initiatives this is invaluable because the more information you have about the customer, the more likely you can deliver the experience they are looking for. Marketers, and specifically loyalty marketers, can identify key behaviors through these profiles, such as preferences, longitudinal transaction, and interaction history, and earning and redemption activity. This allows brands to uncover the emotional factors that contribute to brand loyalty, making personalisation easier, more efficient, and cost-effective.
CRM increases engagement through scheduled, recurring, and triggered communications across multiple channels. However, it is primarily an outbound marketing relationship based largely on transactional data.
The cumulative value of the loyalty exchange gained through profitable behavior creates a strong bond between the brand and the consumer. As such, loyalty programs offer the substantial ability to influence customer interest and form a long-term two-way relationship.
The digital world we are used to living in is completely personalized. The news, stories and posts we see are totally different from those of most people we know.
CRM helps us to keep track of customer behavior and information, which allows us to understand them and know what they value and what they don't care about at all. By generating a loyalty strategy for our Buyer Personas what we achieve is to translate that information into much more personalized communications, activations, and strategies according to what people really consider important, attractive and easy to accept.
CRM and Loyalty can be used together to create deeper connections with your customers. Rather than viewing them as an option or as separate strategies, they should be seen as partners working towards the same goal: creating authentic relationships. In fact, the two elements stand out for their different attributes. CRM creates breadth: it casts a wide net to reach and understand many customers in a comprehensive, omni-channel manner. Loyalty creates depth: it deepens relationships with customers who are committed to creating deeper ties with your company. Together, the two enable you to create connections that expand broadly (reach many people) and deepen (create deeper connections with valued customers).