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February 26, 2013

How Brands Improve Loyalty in Response to Mobile and Social Media

Today, mobile and social media have created new and exciting avenues for businesses to connect with their customers. Mobile and social trends are being rapidly adopted by consumers as more and more people want a  convenient and efficient form of customer service, which multichannel gives them.

In fact, a recent Nielsen and NM Incite study found that 30 percent of smartphone users’ total time online was spent on social media and that 46 percent of smartphone owners used devices to access social media. Also, over 1.3 billion users are expected to access social media from mobile devices by 2016 -- almost double the number of mobile social media users in 2011, according to Juniper Research. And, with smartphone adoption rates at 55 percent and tablet ownership at 52.4 million as of December 2012, it is clear that critical mass has been reached. 

“Smartphones, tablets and social media are natural fits, so loyalty providers should be taking advantage of this symbiotic relationship,” explained  Michael Hemsey, president, Kobie Marketing in an exclusive interview with MobilityTechzone. “The impact of both is growing in overlapping and complementary ways as consumers increasingly crave a genuine connection with their preferred brand.”

These days, social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare are ideal platforms to have conversations with customers, personally engaging them with the brand using timely and relevant offers on the channel of their choice. In order to get a full view of a customer, Hemsey advises gathering consumer behavior metrics across all channels so that loyalty programs can create relevant messages to be streamlined across mobile and social channels.


Image via Eventbrite.com

As of late, there has been a shift toward omnichannel marketing and loyalty, an initiative to drive, track, measure and reward behavior throughout the enterprise and customer experience. “As trends like gamification – wherein game points can be converted into real-world rewards – continue to gain traction, brands are delivering experience-driven loyalty and not merely points-for-rewards,” he added.

According to Hemsey, when it comes to marketing, the breadth and depth of consumer data has created a twofold problem as only 10 percent of the data collected is being turned into actionable insights, leaving t lost opportunities and much of the data collected is being done in siloed corporate departments.

“Sales teams, IT teams and marketing teams are each working with incomplete customer pictures. This increases the chance of downstream communication errors and, like a clog in a pipe, slows down reaction time when problems arise. Only by bringing all consumer data under one de-siloed roof can we give customers the great experience they deserve,” he said.

Omnichannel loyalty is a multistep process, according to Hemsey. First, multi-channel marketing became an omnichannel experience. Then, loyalty programs became embedded throughout channels in seamless ways. Enhanced customer experience management, however, is the outgrowth of bringing together traditional CRM metrics and omnichannel loyalty program information.

“Customer-facing loyalty initiatives need to be seamless, functional and personalized, which means there needs to be an uncluttered mobile Web landing page and loyalty program offering woven throughout the channel experience. And, backend loyalty initiative implementations need to create that seamless omnichannel loyalty experience relating to the convergence of CRM in one de-siloed location, yielding improved customer experiences,” added Hemsey.

So, this means choosing the right CRM software and loyalty engine like Kobie Alchemy. Alchemy supports loyalty programs in countries all over the globe. Kobie Marketing was recently ranked the “highest overall for its technology and program management services” in a Forrester Wave report. Developed by Kobie technologists and software engineers, its platform provides capabilities and systems in a hosted environment that is less expensive than an in-house approach.

Today, Kobie works with airlines, restaurants, telecom companies, entertainment brands, financial services, retail and lifestyle brands to ensure they’re using omnichannel loyalty tactics, employing omnichannel marketing and working to de-silo their internal consumer metrics backlogs. Whether it’s helping brands like BJ’s Restaurant re-design its loyalty program to include social media and mobile, working with Verizon to create Verizon Small Business Rewards, offering small businesses a online and offline rewards, or helping launch AMC’s Stubs loyalty program, Kobie understand that all verticals are becoming increasingly data-rich and interconnected.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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