Trends in Customer Loyalty - Herman Trend Alert


Very recently, Loyalty 360, The Loyalty Marketers' Association in Cincinnati, Ohio issued its 2011 list of key trends. In this Herman Trend Alert, we highlight four we believe will be most important for the coming year.

"Loyalty will focus more on emotions than on rational, incentive-based initiatives." According to behavioral economists, economic decision-making is 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational. Thus, the loyalty programs that touch us emotionally will work the best; those that focus on the emotional side of the decision making process will create connected, passionate, and engaged customers. Expect to see more emotional appeals that involve our families, relationships, those in need, etc.

"Companies will increasingly look at how customer engagement and employee engagement [can] work together to drive bottom line results." In 2009, we wrote about a Gallup study that quantified the impact of customer and employee engagement. The study found the companies in the upper half on both customer- and employee- engagement get a 240 percent increase in bottom-line results. Marketers know it pays to invest in employee engagement!

"Marketers will integrate social gaming into their loyalty initiatives." Social gaming has become a pervasive activity across practically all generations. reports there are now 200 million people playing games on Facebook every month. Moreover, 24 of the games have more than 10 million users each per month. The level of consumer participation that can be achieved through gaming greatly exceeds what professionals may expect from traditional incentive-based marketing, especially. And as if that weren't enough, this sought-after participation builds lasting relationships, engagement, brand affinity, and brand loyalty.

"Cause-related marketing/corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that are aligned with strategic corporate goals will effectively drive loyalty --- especially with Millennials." According to a recent survey social and environmental causes had a significantly greater influence on the purchase decisions of Millennials than other generations. Marketers looking to win the hearts and minds of 18- to 34-year-olds' will begin with social and green issues; 85 percent of Millennials said they would switch brands because of this kind of marketing and 73 percent said they would try a new brand.

Joyce Gioia CSP


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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