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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ridgewell

Set Your Loyalty Program Up For Success By Creating A Strong Foundation

Why Loyalty? The Growing Importance of First Party Data

Today, marketers are looking for creative and effective solutions to drive more sales and engagement with their consumers.

In order to drive changes in purchase behavior and increase their ROI, marketers need to understand – and influence - the consumer journey. So it’s no wonder that loyalty and engagement programs are a priority for brands of all sizes.

A good loyalty program creates the perfect ecosystem to connect with your consumers, from the first “hello” of acquisition to falling head over heels with ongoing engagement.

Data is the key to making this happen – from unlocking personal and relevant moments of interaction that create profitable long-term relationships, to staying relevant on the path to purchase, as well as those moments between purchases when it’s critical to remain top of mind.

Loyalty programs enable marketers to go beyond demographics and gain essential transactional information, such as what consumers buy and when, where they shop, how frequently they shop, and more. Taking these insights and turning them into actions is critical for success. At 3 tier logic, this is exactly what we do for our clients through our world-class platform and proven capabilities, all backed by a passionate team that makes it all happen.

So, how do we approach setting our clients up for success? The answer – it starts with proper planning.


Measure Twice, Cut Once

The old adage of measure twice, cut once is critical in construction, and it’s just as critical when you’re looking to build a program that requires investment in time, resources, and cross-departmental coordination to unlock its full potential.

We usually recommend a six-step process from locking down a North Star vision, creating a plan for making that vision a reality, and to ensure a smooth launch. Here is a summary of some of the questions we ask and considerations we make to bring the planning process to life.


Step One – Discovery and Kickoff

Our first step involves clarifying expectations on what a loyalty program is meant to achieve. We start with some basic questions to align stakeholders on what needs to be done and how to measure program impact.

CMOs and CFOs may have very different definitions of success, so it’s critical to set expectations early in the planning process to get teams aligned. Questions include:

✓ What are we solving for?

✓ How does a program align with your overarching company goals?

✓ Who does it target?

✓ Where are we now? Where do we need to go?

✓ How do we make it happen?

✓ What infrastructure is in place now? What net new talent or resources do we need?

✓ Do we own the end user experience? How do we change this?

✓ What data do we need?


Step Two - Establish A Value Proposition

A good loyalty program has to offer value to two groups. First, the consumer needs to see convincing reasons to join and to return, to make membership worth their time.

Similarly, a program needs to offer tangible returns to the company through incremental revenue, first-party data, insights, and efficiencies. Considerations include:

✓ What is the program’s business model? Is it free, paid, or subscription-based? Is there a points system and/or tier system?

✓ What actions should be rewarded, and how?

✓ How will transactions be captured? At POS? Via receipt scanning? One-time promo code entry?

✓ What is the frequency and size of purchase – how long would it take to earn a reward?

✓ Is the program easy to understand and use?

✓ Are the rewards and offers both sustainable and profitable?

✓ Are the benefits – from exclusives to gift cards – seen as valuable by all consumer segments?

✓ What promotions can support acquisition, activation, and growth?

✓ Can the program leverage gamification and social sharing?

✓ What partnerships can be leveraged – for scale and efficiency?

✓ What data is needed to activate this?


Step Three - Align Your Resources

From internal talent to external expertise, you need effective resources to run an efficient program. This includes strategic planning, tactical execution, financial modeling, reward procurement, member acquisition, lifecycle marketing, logistics, customer care, and more. Loyalty programs need a commitment of time and resources to gain returns, so we help clients get ready for the journey ahead by asking the following:

✓ Who will champion the loyalty initiative? It’s hard to run a program off the side of a desk – a program needs an owner and a champion to maximize chances of success

✓ Are you ready for the long haul? Results won’t come in overnight, so make sure all of your stakeholders are aligned

✓ Where are the skill gaps? From ROI models to data and insights, acquisition and onboarding strategies, ongoing engagement, churn mitigation, and more – specialist skills are needed to support a fully functioning program

✓ What actionable data insights are you looking for? – Determine what’s needed to understand the program’s impact, journey management, tests, and ongoing optimization

✓ What areas across the company will the program impact? Cross-functional coordination and collaboration is key to your program’s success.


Step Four - Program Recommendations

Taking input from all the above steps, we now have a strong foundation to create a North Star plan that aligns goals with expectations and establishes the roadmap from launch to ongoing roll-out. We partner with our clients to recommend and model out the best possible program based on the business’s needs. During this stage, we focus on the following:

✓ Stakeholders are aligned on the definitions of success and timelines for results

✓ Core value elements are locked down, including program mechanics and rewards

✓ Consumer persona targets are defined and journeys are identified

✓ Data requirements are outlined and Next Best Actions based on that data are established

✓ Budgets and ROI models are developed to predict participation rates and anticipated returns

✓ Plans are shared for final approval

Step Five – Time To Build

This is where the rubber meets the road – the build itself. 3 tier logic's PLATFORM3 technology makes this fast and efficient. Test programs can be up and running in as little as 2-3 months, depending on complexity. Components include:

✓ Definition of loyalty business rules and how consumers will activate the value proposition

✓ Integration of tech stacks as needed, establishing any digital wallets

✓ Integration with digital and/or physical fulfillment partners

✓ Establishment of data, reporting, dashboards, and security and governance needs

✓ Acquisition strategies and key beats for announcing program launch and sustaining consumer interest

✓ Contact strategies for every stage of the path to purchase, from introduction and onboarding to data-driven dynamic messaging and personalized triggers

✓ Rewards, offers, and promotions procured and set up for launch and ongoing participation

✓ Operational refinements such as in-store integration to customer care

✓ User testing and QA, to be completed before going live


Step Six - Launch!

This is the only the start of the Loyalty Journey. Our dedicated account management teams work to ensure a smooth launch and assessment of program impact. And our Data & Strategic Services teams track impact and assess points of refinement based on insights by helping you do the following:

✓ Capture data and increase insights through testing and optimization – test everything and base actions on data

✓ Amplify engagement – promote your promotion for maximum impact

✓ Maximize the utility of your platform and leverage your Account Services team - make the most of its capabilities, such as data-driven personalization and AI-driven triggers

✓ Monitor your Return on Relationships with a growth plan – leverage lifecycle management to modify consumer journeys

✓ Conduct research and feedback - discover how to continuously optimize and refine your program elements

✓ Keep your stakeholders informed and engaged – share your wins, what you’ve learned, and the efficacy of the program

This is a thought starter on establishing a foundational process. Curious to know more? Visit our website to learn more at 3tl.com. Or better yet, we would love to hear from you! Send us an email to contactus@3tierlogic.com with any questions, or to book time with our Strategy Team




About 3 tier logic

We’re 3 tier logic - we help brands and agencies unlock the power of first-party data to boost consumer engagement and drive ROI.

We help marketers engage consumers and capture their first-party data in the process. We then assess this data and create personalized messaging and programs based on these actionable insights.

We offer best-in-class solutions and next-generation infrastructure to keep your consumers top of mind and drive them back to a purchase environment. It’s fast, easy, and efficient.

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