One loyalty size no longer fits all

By Kristie Atkins of Wink

We’re increasingly talking to clients about their struggle engaging younger customers.

“They’ve got more time on their hands so they’re researching competitors rather than just coming straight to us.”

“When they grew up they’d sit around the dining table and hear mum and dad talk about finances, so they’re more conscious about money.”

“I’d never even heard of ‘social purpose’ a few years ago” and one of our favourites, “they’re just not doing what we want them to do!”

They’re right. Today’s young customers want loyalty programs to be human and more personalised.

Research shows over 70% want brands to celebrate their birthdays and two-thirds will quit if there is not enough variety of offers, active communication and personalised content.

Here are the biggest callouts when planning your loyalty strategy for younger customers:

1. Young people are “people”, not just customers.

More than any other demographic, young people tell us they want to be treated like “me”, not just like any other customer, so build a personalised experience.

This personalisation should not just be about name, account and service.

Get to know the real person, serve up content relevant to them, bring to life complimentary offers, allow access to merchant funded rewards and deliver challenges and gamification to create a more engaging experience.

Young customers will also be the first to line up to write reviews and engage with your business in other ways if they can earn additional loyalty credit or relevant, digital rewards.

2. Demonstrate your worth.

If young customers feel like they’re getting value, they will stick with you.

In the U.S. young women flocked to Lululemon’s loyalty program, despite the fact they charged over $120 per year. They were drawn to an exclusive pair of members-only yoga pants they got when they signed up.

Show young customers the value you bring and how it outweighs the cost of doing business with you.

3. Sadly, none of us are staying the same age forever.

Your customers are quickly changing. Life changes like starting a career and having a family drastically impact their needs.

A great loyalty program will adapt over time to meet and exceed member expectations as their lives evolve.

Think about retention across the customer lifecycle. Maintain an emotional connection and provide additional value to drive up engagement and reduce churn.

4. Young customers want your best.

Authenticity sells more than ads. Make it genuine and give members tangible value.

Young people want a loyalty program that will be part of their lives and deliver real-time, personalised benefits.

Gather member feedback to inform future content decisions and listen and interact with them on social media. Understanding what they want and delivering on what you promise is key.

The next generation of customers also has greater expectations around privacy and data protection. They expect their interactions with a brand will have integrity and be transparent.

5. Young people communicate on the go, across multiple channels.

Cross-channel promotion is a must.

Over 96% of young people have a smartphone and 80% check it hourly. They also use other mobile devices like tablets and laptops to consume media and display advertising in greater volumes than other audience segments.

Social media is a default mode of communication, often replacing phone calls and supplementing email and texting.

Multi-channel promotion of your loyalty initiatives will drive the strongest results.

Over time young customers will increase their spending power and have more brands fighting for their attention so get them in early, nurture them and let them grow. It’s always easier to keep a customer than get a new one.

About Kristie Atkins

Australasia’s Certified Practising Marketer of the Year, Kristie Atkins is Managing Partner of customer acquisition and retention business Wink. A dynamic growth and commercial leader, she previously served as Managing Director in renowned marketing solutions business Edge (now owned by Blackhawk Network), as Chief Operating Officer of Waivpay, Chief Commercial Officer for marketing services giant Ovato and Director of Sales for Event Hospitality & Entertainment. She is a fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, head judge of the Awards for Marketing Excellence and member of Australian Institute of Company Directors. Kristie is on the board of Restaurant & Catering Industry Association Australia, growing international fashion company Azura Runway, the Foundation board of leading medical research institute HMRI and chairs HMRI Sydney Foundation. She is also a mentor to emerging business executives and future leaders.

About Wink

We understand the unique challenges you face. We’ve been responsible for loyalty, acquisition and retention, spend and share of wallet driving in big brands and businesses in Australia and internationally.

Every member of our team has had direct responsibility for commercial and customer experience in B2B, B2C and B2B2C environments.

We don’t just hire “agency” people. We are a group of experienced professionals who have worked on both sides so we can deliver the style of service you and your customers want, while consistently bringing innovation and automation.

Follow Wink on LinkedIn or visit thinkwink.com.au