Leveraging New CRM Marketing Channels for Your Loyalty Program

It's imperative today to integrate new CRM marketing channels, including re-targeting, mobile apps and more.

How to use CRM re-targeting, social CRM and other cross-channel CRM strategies to build or enhance your loyalty program.

By Lane Ware, SVP Consulting and Account Services

So, you’ve conquered integrating your loyalty program into all your CRM marketing channels, and your marketing calendar proves it. Every quarter you have a dedicated message highlighting the program’s benefits and the bi-annual program promotions. You have email, website banner/nav, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter covered.

Done.

Or not. You might need to hold off on those congratulations. Effectively leveraging new CRM marketing channels to support your loyalty program takes more than promoting a points event or uploading 144 characters into the automated campaign management system. It’s about ensuring that your loyalty program is seamlessly integrated into every part and every touchpoint of customers’ interactions with your brand.

So how can you ensure that you’re fully integrated with all CRM marketing channels? First, make sure you have the basics covered. Below, we review the minimal channels that need to be integrated in today’s connected world — yet most retailers aren’t doing it well. Then keep reading to learn about some newer CRM channels that every retailer needs to begin working into their loyalty marketing plans.

CRM Channel: Email — remember segmentation and personalization

How often do you acknowledge loyalty members and thank them for their business in those weekly or daily email barrages? What about recognition of top customers? Do they get the royal treatment? Are you providing their status toward the next reward or encouraging the use of their loyalty benefits? Reminding them of how to keep their top tier status? Pulling in dynamic, personalized banners and messaging isn’t difficult with most of today’s email service providers (ESPs).

Ensure that you’re reaching out at least once a month with a loyalty-focused message. Or better yet, craft a loyalty program statement that clearly shows their reward and tier statuses. This is also an opportunity to highlight a specific reward and provide relevant, targeted products to your loyalty members.

CRM Channel: Social Media — take a fresh look at your social channels.

Facebook: Besides an occasional loyalty program-focused Facebook post, are you targeting your best customers with insider tips, invites to special invites or “did you knows” about your value proposition and loyalty program? Do your members feel like “insiders”?

Design a dynamic custom Facebook audience comprised of your best customers. It will automatically update and ensure you’re reaching your top tier customers. Make sure you provide exclusive content just for them.

Pinterest: It’s easy to just use Pinterest as a pin cushion without much strategy behind the pins. But this channel’s 150 million members drive more traffic, sales and engagement than Facebook’s 3 billion members. Take the time to invite your best customers to contribute to a group board. Crowdsource your top pins from loyalty members.

Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat: Don’t forget these staples of social media.

  • Ensure that you have a loyalty-inspired hashtag to add to Instagram and Twitter.
  • Find ways to incorporate loyalty into your storylines on Snapchat through highlighting benefits or spotlighting loyalty members.
  • Make sure your influencers are members of your loyalty program — hopefully premier members. Encourage them to use the benefits so they’ll discuss that with their followers. Give them the inside scoop on loyalty program promotions and first-access events. In other words: Show them the value they receive as a loyalty member. And throw in a little love with heavy recognition and thank yous.

Those were the easy ones.

How about CRM channels beyond the tried and true?

Dust off those customer journeys your digital and ecommerce teams have developed, and track how your customers are interacting with your brand. Drill down on each touchpoint and look for opportunities for messaging and program reinforcement.

Even more importantly, go through your benefits list and make sure you’re highlighting opportunities for members to use their perks. If top members receive free returns, remind them about that benefit within their shopping cart. If members get free samples, how are you highlighting their goodies?

Pay special attention to the following touchpoints:

  • Product reviews – Create icons that indicate which reviewers are loyalty members, including a unique icon for top tier members.
  • Ecommerce shopping cart/checkout – If you offer a points program, it’s mandatory to show the points earned for an item and total purchase upon shipment. Not negotiable. Easy? No. Critical? Yes.
  • Package fulfillment – Take a hint from the pure-plays and make sure that your fulfillment messaging and the actual packaging recognizes loyalty members and includes a list of benefits. Oh, and how about inserting a VIP-branded thank-you card into the package?
  • Walgreens' appApp – You certainly can’t forget your brand’s mobile app. Not only should you have the member’s status and available rewards on the app, but you should also schedule push messages to provide early notifications of new merchandise or sales to your best members.
  • If you’re doing location-based messaging, send the member’s reward status when they’re nearby or remind them it’s about to expire.
  • Look at how the app improves the customers’ experience. Take a page from Walgreens’ book. The Walgreens app not only shows your Balance Rewards summary, including your reward availability, but it’s also integrated with Android Pay and Apple Pay for an easy checkout with minimal clicks to use a reward and pay for the remainder of the purchase.

Look in Your Marketer’s Crystal Ball

We’re all struggling to keep up with the latest CRM and marketing channels. But here a few things that should be on your radar:

CRM Re-targeting
Re-target your loyalty members on the web. Build awareness of your loyalty program alongside the brand messaging. Whether it’s promoting abandoned cart merchandise or a sales promotion, recognize loyalty members and feature popular benefits.

Shopping Through Social Media
As it stands, social media platforms are currently acting as a digital catalog where customers browse before going elsewhere to purchase the product. But there is also some purchasing happening, and all agree that “click and buy” options will increase. Start thinking now about how to integrate your loyalty program.

  • Recent research highlighted in Marketing Week1 shows that Facebook is the most popular site for direct purchasing, with 19 percent of all respondents selecting the platform, followed by Twitter (10 percent). Next are those wanting to be able to buy from Instagram (9 percent), Pinterest (7 percent) and Snapchat (5 percent).
  • If you’re offering mobile checkout by arming associates on the floor with tablets, look for opportunities to provide member preferences, status and recognition to the associate through an API to your CRM system.

But Wait, There’s More

Conduct an audit of new projects or tests that are going on in the digital and IT worlds. The more opportunity you have to come into a project on the ground floor, the more seamless the integration will be. Meanwhile, try to keep an eye on the four emerging CRM marketing channels below.

Smart Tags on Store Shelves
If you’re a believer in bricks and mortar, you know it won’t be long before smart tags will be gracing store shelves. These tags will recognize the individual shopper and, in addition to providing customized prices, they can also support your loyalty program. Be sure to get in on the ground floor and ensure that the tags will show points (if appropriate), shopper status and exclusive offers for loyalty shoppers.

Addressable TV
Yes, it’s already here. And the only thing keeping it from exploding is the lack of on-demand content. You can reach loyalty members on a household level as long as they have a top box from a satellite or cable company, or an IP-address connection. Target your video to specific members.

Automated Checkout
If you’re following in Amazon’s footprint and testing automated checkouts at the store with no associate involvement, you’ve got to put your loyalty program front and center. From signage to emailed receipts, ensure that you’re recognizing members and reinforcing benefits.
Home-base Connected Platforms
Yeah, I’m talking about you, Internet of Things (IOT). Food retailers may find targeting messaging to smart home refrigerators effective. Sportswear retailers may target Fitbits. Alexa and Dot are ready to make you a favorite store. It’s here. What makes sense for your brand?

Stay Ahead to Stand Apart

Today’s cross-channel, cross-device, consumer-dominated world makes it challenging to create a consistent customer experience. But those retailers who fully integrate loyalty into that experience will be able to differentiate themselves and have a one-on-one relationship with their best, and most loyal, customers.


Worried that your loyalty program isn’t keeping up with the times? Check out our blog, Signs That Your Loyalty Program Is Losing Momentum.

How can CCG help you with your CRM resource needs? Whether you’re interested in augmenting your existing resources or looking to take your CRM initiatives to the next level, our loyalty program marketing experts can help. Check out our retail marketing services for all the ways we can assist you in achieving greater success. For a complimentary one-on-one discussion, call us at 800.525.0313 or email us today.


As CCG’s senior vice president, consulting & account services, Lane Ware combines strategic expertise and experience in multiple industries with implementation and project-management.