Top 10 Trends for B2B Loyalty Programs
- Social Loyalty – this is the year when Social Loyalty will take off – ‘social badging’ is a whole new phenomenon which we are introducing to our clients’ programs. Program participants will be given ‘badges’ for achieving certain levels of skills development and certification which they can display on their personal social media profiles – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Gamification – we will definitely see more developments in gamification techniques to encourage e-learning, refresh participants’ educational pathway and encourage knowledge retention. Our new Soccer 6 Penalty Shoot Out game for the Know Your IBM program has already delivered exceptional results. The uptake of learning modules by IBM business partners registered in the Know Your IBM program has risen to unprecedented heights.
- Coalition programs – more coalition partners will get involved in sponsoring channel loyalty programs. In the spirit of true partnership, suppliers and channel partners will increasingly work together to co-market learning opportunities in order to boost overall sales performance.
- The continued fusion of enablement and learning with sales incentives – the combination of these two elements – Learn & Earn with Sell & Earn – is still the key to the success of a B2B loyalty program, one which will help companies to achieve – and even exceed – their business objectives.
- Bigger print budgets – the loyalty market is crowed with email and digital communications to program members, meaning it is increasingly hard to achieve cut through – that’s why clients will need to invest in allocating great budgets to print and tangible teaser items.
- Greater use of Big Data and predictive analytics – our clients already have a myriad of data at their disposal regarding their sales channels. By using advanced data analysis we can drill down this data to determine patterns and predict future outcomes, without the need to collect more data via traditional surveys. As a result, forecasting business partner behaviour can now be done with an increasing level of accuracy and reliability, and this will have an enormous impact on managerial decision-making in loyalty programs.
- Program member empowerment – today’s B2B loyalty programs allow participants to use their hard-earned points as assets that can be invested back into their business and employee development – for example, investing points into additional analytics training, or sales and marketing support (not just the usual merchandise rewards). This focus on program point portfolios and ROI-based decisions will open up new opportunities for fuelling program performance.
- The power of program member reviews and reviewers – we live and learn in a ‘referral economy’, leaving reviews on websites for products that we have purchased, or hotels we have stayed at. We will see an increase in this type of sharing among our loyalty program participants, writing online reviews of course modules for example for the benefit of other channel resellers – the psychology of sharing will encourage greater engagement.
- Text-mining tools – with the rise of social loyalty and the infusion of social media into loyalty programs, clients are facing huge amounts of unstructured, textual data – for example chat rooms, forum discussions and member reviews. The increasing use of text analytics will help us to uncover information that is ‘hidden’ in this type of language content so that we can better support managerial decision making.
- Programs are finally becoming ‘glocal’ – B2B loyalty programs are expanding into new regional emerging markets in South America and Asia, as well as new channels, such as online and mobile apps. This means that the reach and depth of program engagement is becoming not just truly global, but also more local (personal) – in other words more ‘glocal’ than ever.
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Our Loyalty Doctors have drawn up their list of Top 10 Loyalty Trends for 2017. Augmented reality, Chatbots and cognitive computing will all enter the channel loyalty program arena; so too will sales incentives and the Internet of Things. For the full list go here
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