Loyalty is dead!
When was the last time your Loyalty program was loyal to you?
It is interesting that companies ask for your loyalty but then consign their loyalty program to their marketing archives with a “give them some points & they will come approach”. Loyalty programs get archived because they lose top management support. They are seen as costs with no tangible return.
More often than not this happens because a senior level evangelist does not own the loyalty program within the company. So critical changes in processes which may be customer friendly are not even tried because of the “holy cow” syndrome. “Holy cows” are beliefs that management will not change in a hurry-for eg “why would you provide an exclusive cashiering line for a loyalty program customer, it adds to costs & is complex to administer within a store”.
Interestingly without a robust “loyalty culture” companies are now clambering onto the bandwagon of coalition loyalty programs. Three of the world’s largest coalition loyalty companies are about to launch their programmes in India. Groupe Aeroplan , Loyalty One & Payback are all here & ready to launch! But loyalty is far more than a card & points alone!
It would be interesting to see whether coalition loyalty would just be a way for companies to outsource their loyalty function rather than making it a far larger part of strategy!
Despite being awash in data, many organizations are data rich but insight poor. A survey by consulting firm Accenture found 57 percent of companies reporting that they didn’t have a beneficial, consistently updated, companywide analytical capability. Among major decisions, only 60 percent were backed by analytics—40 percent were made by intuition and gut instinct.
Here’s a look at some practical issues that confound managers who want to drive the “data to insight” paradigm within companies:
- No one takes charge of this job. Mostly it is painful & not the easiest way towards getting a “grade” for any manager. Needs someone with the guts to challenge the status quo! But often the task is foolhardy! Who will bell the cat becomes the key issue? Data driven marketing sounds sexy but the devil lies in the details!
- The job crosses functional boundaries. Far easier to do stuff that only your function is mandated to do. So the Marketing head hesitates to take ownership because she is more comfortable doing the advertising stuff which truly “belongs” to marketing & does not involve conflict between functions!!
- The challenge looks insurmountable & you look “impractical” while taking it on! Not a good recipe for the political judgement required while building a “corporate career”.
- Not easy to collect the mixture of “skills” required-quantitative, technology & change agent messiahs!!
- By far the most neglected aspect of extracting value from transaction data-and one of the most important factors in building a firm’s analytic capabilities-is the organizational and cultural context needed to support data driven marketing. The leader needs to have the "feather touch" to navigate the political mine field as she navigates towards a data driven marketing culture!