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70pc of consumers find loyalty programs too cumbersome: report

A new report from 3Cinteractive finds that approximately 70 percent of consumers do not sign up for loyalty programs because the process is too cumbersome – but almost the same percentage say they would if it were simplified to answering a text message.

The report, called the 2017 Mobile Marketing Planning Guide, looks at the variety of ways marketers are allocating their mobile budgets for the year 2017. The report finds that loyalty programs are an area of intense scrutiny for marketers and knowing how to navigate them will be crucial for the next year.

“New user acquisition will always remain central to any business growth strategy,” said Margie Kupfer, vice president of marketing at 3Cinteractive. “But the growth of an existing customer base should be a priority since historically it costs less to grow an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one.”

“Leveraging mobile as a way to expand a loyalty program helps accomplish this. Since so many people are already tethered to their mobile devices, and using them all day throughout the day, it makes sense to optimize the mobile device with a loyalty program for a brand – in virtually any industry.

“Our research shows that the consumer appetite for mobile enabled loyalty is outpacing the brands’ ability to deliver so there is a first mover advantage to those who can get out in front of their competition on meeting the customer’s mobile expectations.”

Survey says
Since keeping existing customers is more important and cost-effective than acquiring new ones, brands need to do everything they can to keep those customers happy.

Keeping them happy can take many forms. Loyalty programs are one of the key methods for brands to retain customers and keep them coming back.

Once a customer’s loyalty has been acquired, 3Cinteractive found that most – 40 percent – preferred to communicate with the brand through text messaging. This goes against the conventional wisdom that mobile applications are always the way to go.

In fact, apps and email both scored around 20 percent in terms of preferred loyalty communication. That’s about half of the surveyed consumers who preferred text.

Surveyed marketers also expressed an interest in mobile coupon redemption for 2017. Mobile coupons regularly produce redemption rates at ten times the rate of paper coupons, making them essential for mobile marketers.

“The best way for brands to take advantage of mobile coupons is to also take advantage of the unique features and functions mobile offers,” Ms. Kupfer said. “For example – location.

“With mobile, brands can engage with their customers when they are near or in a location, at their moment of need,” she said. “Mobile enabling coupons also enhances brand persistence.

“No one leaves home these days without their phone, but they may leave a store without making a purchase because they left their printed coupon at home.”

Always loyal
The power of loyalty for mobile-focused brands and marketers cannot be overstated. Some of the biggest brands in the world are investing heavily in keeping their customers happy and loyal.

Coca-Cola partnered with NASCAR for a mobile-powered loyalty experience at this year’s Darlington race with positive results (see story).

Seven-Eleven is similarly inserting ties to its loyalty platform with regards to the presidential election. The convenience store chain has sponsored The Onion’s coverage of the election in hopes of drawing more, younger users to its platform (see story).

In order to keep their customers happy, brands need to do more than just offer a coupon every now and then. They need to understand the ways in which consumers want to engage with the brand.

“The biggest takeaway from this report is that brands are starting to realize their mobile strategy needs to go beyond the mobile app,” Ms. Kupfer said. “Augmenting their app strategies with text messaging and mobile wallet marketing, for example, enables brands to reach beyond just their most engaged customers in a simpler, more IT light way than the large investments of apps.”