3 Best Practices to Differentiate Your Rewards Program

What is new and different, or unique and cutting edge today morphs into table stakes tomorrow.  Basically, the sizzle starts to fizzle.

Or so novice marketers might fear.

Consumer brands differentiate themselves based on capabilities from new technologies as well as on an end to end customer experience, including their rewards programs. While the existence of a rewards program today may be considered table stakes for most consumer brands and retailers, consumer brands can still differentiate their rewards programs based on multiple factors such as new technology, program features, performance, design, customer value, customer service, brand policies and social proofing, to name a few.

Savvy marketers already know that it is not only the leading edge technology, but also how you promote the features, leverage the data, create the policies, and design the offers and partnerships which create unique customer experiences.  In essence, a key goal of marketing is to promote how your product is differentiated from the competition.  While leading edge technology is a critical ‘must have’, creating sustainable differentiation in the eyes of consumers also requires pulling various marketing levers.

Here are 3 best practices to help differentiate your rewards solution:

  1. Get customers to redeem. Marketers should pull levers which will present relevant reward recommendations that are personalized for reward members and will drive their first and subsequent redemptions. Research shows that while consumers are enrolled in more than a dozen programs, they are only active in a handful. Reward program managers have the unique distinction of knowing how many reward points sit in a consumers account and they should use this data to increase value to members. That first redemption is critical to drive engagement, so consider incenting consumers who don’t respond to normal offers.  Incentives don’t have to be better pricing, but rather could be access to low point everyday ways to use rewards currencies.
  2. Put the customer in control. By giving the customer limitless choices on how to use their rewards currencies, the customer will feel in control and their rewards points will become ‘unlocked’.  Only good things will come from this. For example, consumers who have increased flexibility to redeem points for virtually anything are likely to freely promote your rewards program through social media.  Your program and your brand will be perceived as being customer centric, and that can only be extremely positive for driving new business and engagement amongst existing customers.
  3. Create a redemption experience that will trigger emotional attachment. The old adage of “make it simple’ still rings true.  How do we define simple? Simple can be defined as:
    • presenting a simple design,
    • having straightforward earn and burn policies,
    • delivering a simple (as in fast, easy and frictionless) redemption experience,
    • providing spontaneous options and instant gratification for redemptions, and
    • eliminating cumbersome processes (eg statement credits, gift card shipping)

    Program managers will always have new and exciting ways to differentiate their rewards programs.  Start with game changing technology, such as Loyalty Pay which serves as the critical foundation for leading edge customer centric reward programs.  Then design a rewards program to be fun and to evoke emotional attachments, loyalty and usage from members.  Key ingredients include putting consumers in control of their rewards points, creating a simple customer experience and presenting opportunities which encourage frequent redemptions. This winning combination will allow rewards programs to continue to thrive and be differentiated.    Loyaltypay.com  #LoyaltyUnlocked