10 March 2014

Start customer engagements before they buy: Aimia

Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, has released a global report highlighting the importance of connecting with customers beyond the transactional stage. Rewarding Interactions: Are You Ready for Customer Intimacy recommends planning to interact with customers both before and after the purchase activity. 

Companies which truly value interactions develop additional ways to reward and recognise loyal customers beyond points, cash and discounts. For example, social currency - online recognition and status - is a way for customers to gain social standing among peers and social groups, said the company, which owns stakes in Air Miles Middle East, operates China Rewards, a coalition loyalty programme in China that enables members to earn and redeem a common currency, and has a minority position in Think Big, the owner and operator of BIG - AirAsia and Tune Group's loyalty programme.

"Real loyalty isn't created at the close of the sale," said Rick Ferguson, Vice President, Knowledge Development for Aimia. "It's created when the brand and the customer become intimate through multiple interactions before, during and after the purchase. Companies that strategically use those interactions to learn more about their customers will build greater loyalty, create new revenue streams and develop lifelong customers."

According to Aimia's research, there are four reasons marketers should collect interaction data in addition to transaction data:

Create new revenue streams. Interaction data is an untapped resource. There is revenue to be had from refining the information.  

Drive incremental revenue from the loyalty base. Tying interactions to transactions creates a three dimensional, customer-centric view generating sustainable incremental lift beyond a campaign ROI. 

Leverage and validate investments in new communication channels. Marketers need to reach consumers where, when and how they want to be reached. Different media, such as social media and mobile, are needed to connect with consumers throughout their interactions with the brand.

Lower the cost to serve, while increasing value. Seeing the consumer on her entire lifestyle journey enables a wider array of partnerships to be formed, lowering the cost to run the loyalty program while increasing value to the consumer.