All life is a Rhythm! Find the one that your customers groove to!

In a recent event full of Loyalty marketers, a whole lot of conversation was focused on “inactive” “non-engaged” and therefore “non-loyal” customers. There was a lot of worried faces pondering on how they can ensure higher engagements (read as CTR’s on EDM’s, responses to social posts etc.) The general consensus was that times are tough for Loyalty.

This is something that’s been bothering me as a loyalty marketer for quite some time now.

It is the way conversations around ‘loyalty metrics’ shape up. Brands compare their repeat customer percentage, recency, frequency, etc. with not just other loyalty programs in their category, which is actually the smart thing to do, but across completely dis-similar categories and arrive at dire prognosis about the health of their loyalty programs.

Allow me to explain this through an example that resonates with me personally.

I have been a loyal customer of Levi’s for long now! However, I don’t end up buying Levi’s denims every two months. I am perfectly happy with set of 501’s and 513’s & till the time I need a replacement, there is simply no other reason for me to buy more of them. I wear them practically 3-4 times a week! How much more loyal could I be?

But, by conventional loyalty metrics, I do not meet the definition of a loyal customer even though my heart bleeds blue. I don’t open their every email, don’t click on the link in their weekly sms, don’t rush to every quarterly sale… by now I am so fed up that I even block their number!

This is where brands need to understand and march to the real Rhythm of their product. Lot of brands flood members’ inboxes with offers and ‘Miss You’ communication every other week, when the purchase frequency itself may be once every 12 months. While this might make sense for brands in food, personal care, etc., I have observed that lifestyle brands are increasingly adopting this high intensity communication approach. The casualty in this bombardment (for lack of a better word) is ‘Customer Experience’ itself, a pre-requisite for customer loyalty.

A seasoned category manager is attuned to the Rhythms and purchase patterns of their product category. Then why is it that this understanding is not often reflected in the loyalty marketing communication of the brand? Is it that loyalty marketing teams are under tremendous pressure to deliver numbers with respect to active customers, repeat purchases, driving recency and frequency, etc. that they are throwing caution to the wind when it comes to CX? Or is it that at the time of program design, sufficient time was not spent on defining category appropriate metrics? Whatever be the reasons, it is high time brands realized that what works in one loyalty program need not necessarily work in another.

P.S. Oh yes – Every customer who ever bought will not be a loyal customer! But that is a topic for another discussion 

What do you think? As always, do let me know your views in the comments section below!

Image: Byard Lancaster, Jazz Musician. Courtesy:

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