Some of us at Motivforce have been avid Star Trek fans since our early years. Mind you, not the super nerdy types who glue on pointed ears and pretend to chat via chest-fitted communicators at conventions. Nerdy enough though, to sometimes use the show as a frame of reference when confronted with the realities of work life. As we are in the business of client engagement, our favourite role model is of course Captain Jean Luc Picard. In virtually every episode, this charismatic leader gazes at the galaxy, lifts a finger to point it at a random planet and tells his crew to ‘engage!’ However, engaging does not always mean jumping to warp speed. Allow us to explain.
Many of our clients are warming up to the potential of Big Data, as they have an abundance of digital data from many sources, such as smartphones, sales databases, geographical production data, point redemption figures, social media opinions or even weather forecasts at their fingertips. Data that can be mined with smart analysis tools to provide data-driven insights (set to stun) for real-time decision making and tracking of shifts in customer sentiment. Indeed, Big Data holds warp speed potential for loyalty programs, but much of its progress has to be taken in foot-dragging steps, as important bottlenecks must be overcome. In our quest to debunk Big Data myths, may we draw your attention to an important fallacy that we sometimes encounter when talking to clients. The fallacy that one can deploy an algorithm on to a volume of raw data and have deep insights into program performance pop up automatically (there must be a button on the console for that!).
The reality of Big Data is that it needs to be cleaned, converted, wrangled and mangled, laundered and trimmed before it can be mined, analysed and meaningfully interpreted. This is a process that is sometimes painstakingly slow and, believe it or not, often involves a lot of manual labour. Client data is seldom ready to be analysed or put into our R-Cube to churn out those colourful plots and decisional pointers. For example, an unruly client data-base containing over 600,000 records and 22 ways of spelling a business partner’s name requires elaborate data janitor work. Moreover, verbatim data from social media posts about learning modules is unstructured and contains hidden and between-the-lines meaning. At Motivforce R&D, we constantly face the challenge of how to uncover this meaning. We refer to this as the Big Data’s gravity problem, alluding to the fact that while everyone’s attention is focused on exploring unknown worlds, there is a lot of unseen toll and hard work that drags us back to earth.
Just as spreadsheets have enabled non-experts to execute financial analysis, we are now witnessing the emergence of easy-to-use dashboard tools that enable our clients to monitor their programs in great detail and make real-time decisions. An important challenge is that we engage with our clients to make sure that they connect the right dots and obtain valid insights. While it’s exciting to boldly go where no loyalty program has gone before, our programs also need to live long and prosper, as Vulcan logic would dictate. That is why we feel it is important to keep treating Big Data in a down-to-earth manner.
What does 2018 have in store for the B2B loyalty sector? Our loyalty doctors have gazed into their crystal ball and are predicting greater transparency about privacy, more ‘loyalty hacking’, increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate program members attention and interest (A&I) and more programs going local, not just in Acapulco. 2018 will also see a new era of ‘influencer loyalty’ via online reviews from proactive program members and more member-to-member live video streaming in a quest for personalisation. Programs will also see more effective loyalty cycle management so that they don’t become complacent about longstanding participants. You can read the full list of top 10 B2B loyalty program trends for by clicking here:
The development of online education modules continues to be a growth market for Motivforce. While we keep expanding our enablement portfolio with some of our accounts in conjunction with the latest social loyalty tools (such as gamification), others are simply all about business partner learning. We often get asked to come up with a convincing business case that outlines how clients will start earning by learning.
We think there are four key benefits, all with direct important bottom-line implications.
There has been a lot of debate in recent months about the most effective metrics to use when assessing the performance of a loyalty or incentive program.
To see the real effect of the power of loyalty and incentive program it is also recommended to use Confrere Analysis.
Loyalty and incentive programs are powerful tools. Used effectively they can generate habitual behavioral loyalty, increase sales revenue, decrease customer churn, increase share of wallet and limit variety-seeking behavior. Many of these results have been empirically tested in academic research and in award winning case studies.
At Motivforce we have been helping clients to deploy Business Partner-driven strategies in order to improve their performance, agility and profitability. Although this is still core to our business, we also work on a growing interest in measuring the impact of employees on the bottom line. Employees are arguably a company’s most valuable resource, as they are sources of innovation and knowledge and allow for competing through service excellence.
The future of loyalty programs is mobile. This mantra has been reiterated across many loyalty marketing industry trend reports. It is a mantra that clearly has face value. In fact, it is a no-brainer, as much of our life now revolves around our little handhelds. Most loyalty programs are migrating to mobile platforms, allowing their members instant access any place, any time. Being able to check your points balance, the latest reward additions or quickly swiping through a learning module in a client’s parking lot definitely ups the convenience factor. But, it does not guarantee an engaging mobile program experience. That is why a number of forward-looking brands have started to engage their members by inviting them to share their ‘must-share-moments’ with the brand and explore the face value of the mobile camera.
In our conversations with organizations that are assessing B2B loyalty and incentive programs, a number of negative perceptions inevitably surface.
Here are the top 5 myths about loyalty programs and our evidence as to why they simply aren’t true.
Over the past 20 years, the structure of B2B loyalty programs has grown from simple sales incentives that reward for achieving sales targets to rewarding for profile performance. Profile performance is the concept of creating the ideal participant profile and rewarding for all behaviours that a participant demonstrates in adopting this profile.
There are many variables to consider when creating the ideal channel loyalty program participant profile and these are broadly classified into the following 5 types of loyalty program participant profiles:
Our research has shown greater loyalty (measured by sales and other valued added behaviours) amongst program participants who are active in enablement tasks, compared to those who are not. In looking at correlations between those participants who have undertaken enablement tasks, versus those who have not, we have observed three traits....
A term that we commonly use in channel loyalty and incentive programs is the effort advantage ratio. This is the study of consumer loyalty programs and the effort a participant must undertake to achieve a loyalty program reward and how this effort impacted on attractiveness of the loyalty program for their continued participation.
These are 7 things to consider when weighing up the Effort Advantage Ratio.