Loyalty Goes Social
by Dr. David Cox
The concept of Social Loyalty has been growing over the last five years, but we predict that 2016 is the year when it will truly take off in terms of our clients.
The first steps were taken when loyalty and channel incentive programs began creating profiles and pages on Facebook and LinkedIn for participants to follow and ‘like’. Know Your IBM’s Facebook page for example already has over 2,000 ‘likes’.
Initially many companies and incentive agencies avoided this effective medium, as they felt they could not “control” the communication or feedback. Gradually they began to realise that participants and customers will set up their own unofficial Facebook and social media forums to discuss aspects of your loyalty program, product or service. As a result many companies now realise that it’s is better to be part of the conversation with a chance to participate than be left out.
Today’s leading programs have expanded beyond a presence on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and have built internal collaboration and exchange through communities within the construct of the program via general chat rooms, live chat, rating and feedback mechanisms and special interest forums.
One of the latest innovations has been to embrace Social Badging using the Open Badge platform. This platform allows companies who operate loyalty and incentive programs to issue ‘badges’ for résumé-worthy achievements such as sales performance, skills development and collaboration.
These badges can then be shared and displayed via a participant’s social media presence such as LinkedIn or Facebook thus extending the footprint of the loyalty program and harnessing recognition from a wider audience – friends, family, colleagues and prospective employers can see their success. Further, these badges can also be used to earn accelerator or bonus points as well as a proxy for status tiers within a program.
In programs where Motivforce has deployed this concept, we have seen a dramatic increase in participant performance and a return on investment.
Social media is one of the most absorbing tasks that individuals undertake on a daily basis. Indeed for Millennials, their life is built around their social media habits. Thus savvy program designers are looking to leverage this existing infrastructure to drive their own programs.
In an age where clients are talking about the need to increase engagement with program participants, the fusion of social loyalty with existing tools such as effective communications and the right reward mix, is proving to be a powerful combination.
We’ve been pioneering the fusion of digital games with e-learning since 2006 so it’s good to see that we’ve been ranked among the top 10 gamification technology providers by APAC CIO Outlook Magazine
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.
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.
For the third year in a row Motivforce has struck gold at the 2017 Brandon Hall Excellence Awards with its Know Your IBM channel incentive program, winning the Gold Award for Best Sales Training Program for Extended Enterprise and Gold Award for Best Unique or Innovative Sales Training Program.
In addition, Know Your IBM received a Silver Award for Best Results of a Learning Program; and Bronze for Best Advance in Creating an Extended Enterprise Learning Program.
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.