The loyalty programs of yesterday do not drive loyalty as they once did. eMarketer found that even though loyalty program membership increased in 2015 as compared to 2014, participation in programs actually fell by 22 percent. This finding was confirmed by participants at Loyalty360’s annual conference, the 2015 Loyalty Expo, which we attended last week. Brands seem to realize “loyalty program” does not simply mean “points program” any longer. A question that arose, “Would your customer leave you if you removed your loyalty program?” caused many to stop and evaluate their loyalty programs.
Loyalty today requires building an emotional connection with customers and adding real value to the brand-customer relationship. Many brands are talking about how to best use their data to personalize the experience and build that personal, emotional connection. Keith spoke on a panel with Jerel Titus, director of agile business operations at Mutual of Enumclaw, about how the insurance provider works with SundaySky to use its customer data to deliver personalized videos that build engagement and create emotional ties with policyholders.
With personalized video, brands take the most engaging medium (video) and use their customer data to deliver a message that is unique and highly relevant to the viewer. Jerel gave an example about how millennials are loyal to brands when they feel a sense of community. When a brand engages each customer with a personalized story, they begin to create that community feel.
Jerel spoke about Mutual of Enumclaw’s customer-centric culture and how deploying a SmartVideo program directly aligns with the goals of creating individualized experiences with customers. Delivering personalized video experiences at two key touch points in the customer lifecycle (to welcome new policyholders and to engage existing policyholders as they come up for renewal) has helped the company increase NPS scores among video viewers and drive more policy renewals.
Many of the session attendees had questions about the level of effort involved in unlocking the internal data required to power personalization. The ability to cull actionable data out of all available data is a work in progress for many companies, and not every company has a perfect data storage or API capability already in place. Jerel provided some helpful perspective for attendees on how Mutual of Enumclaw, with some focus, was able to ready its data systems and launch a personalized video program.
There is a lot of buzz about big data and personalizing experiences, causing marketers to feel the process has become overcomplicated. Really though, personalized communications help marketers simplify their messages. Mutual of Enumclaw, for instance, uses personalized video as an engaging and effective way to explain and simplify the details of a customer’s insurance policy, which can be complicated. Each customer receives a video that welcomes him by name and is personalized according to his policy and insurance agent’s details, and Mutual of Enumclaw gains the opportunity to build trust and loyalty among customers.