Marketing Essentials for B2B Loyalty Program

Time to harness marketing to improve your B2B Loyalty Program

Be it a street vendor selling ice cream, your favourite footy team, Elon Musk boasting about the SpaceX Mars program or yourself in an interview – we are all marketers in our own right.

Every day, we promote or sell something; that something can be an idea, concept, or product. Promotion and marketing has been in our DNA since humans walked on this planet… and while the essence of marketing has remained the same over the ages, the nuances have become sharper and more precise over time with evolving technology and developments. 

I want to quote my favourite ‘marketer’ of all time, Steve Jobs, “Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us”. To make it simpler modern marketing is trying to cut through the clutter of noise and create a position and value for your brand in consumers’ eyes. This value creation and brand positioning do not change in B2B. 

Taking this view to B2B incentive and loyalty marketing, we are firm believers that a new or existing loyalty program should have a theme that you can anchor all new program marketing messages around. A link to the sell, the benefits statements and actions to achieve in a program. Yet, many B2B organisations still haven’t embraced the importance of marketing their B2B loyalty program. Maybe it is not part of their long-term strategy or something they cannot invest their resources into, however, without a defined communication and marketing strategy a program could easily fall into one of the unwanted stats.  

  • 77% of transaction-based loyalty programs fail in the first two years 
  • 25% of loyalty programs reward customers for some form of engagement. 
  • Only 11% of loyalty programs offer personalised rewards. 

A loyalty program requires the same love as any other product or service your organisation provides. In fact, it is more critical to evolve and constantly promote your loyalty program. If done right, loyalty programs themselves are great marketing tools that aim to secure partner loyalty. 

Let’s look at some of the building blocks of marketing to harness B2B loyalty programs. 

Customer Knowledge

Customer knowledge affects all aspects of purchasing behaviour and is thus an important task for marketers to research and understand. Customer knowledge also affects all aspects of the marketing strategy developed for your target segment or consumer. Without customer knowledge, you are assuming things and shooting in the dark. Unfortunately, only 41% of marketing executives use customer data to inform their marketing strategy. 

It is critical that you have the knowledge of your target audience before launching your Loyalty Program. In a successful program, marketing, and communications are huge assets but only if you know who you are talking to and the relevance of messages to the individual. For instance, with Email Marketing, we all have received promotional emails that have no relevance to our likes and choices. What do we all do with those emails? Delete and later unsubscribe.

A B2B loyalty program must be seen as a tool that utilises your customer data and turns it into value for the organisation. Ensure that all your communications are tracked and reported, and in time, you will be able to create customer segmentation and personas that will inform your approach directed at their triggers.  

Segmentation and Personalisation

Positioning and targeting are extremely relevant in loyalty program adoption, as the strength of a program lies in whom and in what way it is targeted. Segmentation allows your organisation to create content for specific customer groups, while personalisation means looking more in-depth into each customer within a segment individually. There’s a time and place for both of these strategies. Combining them maximises the effectiveness of any brand’s marketing strategy. Today’s marketing needs to be geared toward THE customer and not A customer.

Marketers have to supply their customers with the information they are looking for and become their trusted advisers. Therefore, the message needs to be not only personal but also relevant. To achieve this, you need to develop a single and continuous view of their behaviour,  integrating all the data you have about the customer in-house, both structured and unstructured. Within an incentive program, you have a tool that can consolidate this information and behaviour. Which can lead to greater segmentation.  

Personalised marketing is made up of three stages: market segmentation, marketing targeting and product positioning. It is virtually impossible to satisfy all customers, so it is up to the organisation to select the specific parts of the market you best serve or best know. Therefore, businesses could identify market segments, select a few profitable segments, and develop products and marketing mixes that are aimed at particular customer groups. 

It’s essential that your communication efforts have the power to cut through the clutter and deliver your message quickly. Keep in mind that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. Email marketing is very effective if you have personalised data that can be segmented depending on your audience location, choice, historical open rate, etc. It provides you will the power to communicate as frequently as you want and at any or every stage of your loyalty program – from the launch to reward and recognition; email marketing can be as effective and personal as you’d want it to be.

Personalised emails with real-time progress achievable incentives will get you the email cut through
Personalised emails with real-time progress achievable incentives will get you the email cut through

This is not just true for digital comms but also for in-person marketing. Have you ever met a salesperson who does not really know what they are selling? Or even worse, they are just not interested in selling a product? It’s 2022 and one of the most traditional methods of marketing is still a flyer handout or a salesperson driving sales on the floor of a showroom. Forbes study reveals that 71% of all shoppers surveyed spent $50 or more when shopping in-store than when shopping online (54%). This stat online tells us that informed salespeople will nudge potential customers to products they know more about.  In-person marketing doesn’t just refer to visiting a store or a showroom but exploring every avenue where you can touch base with your customer.

Trade shows and conferences can open up new opportunities for sharing stories, creating pop-up shops, or interacting through immersive experiences are all effective ways of in-person marketing.  As amazing as this experience could it, they do need to tieback to your brand and understanding of your audience as some of these experiences can be very expensive!

Marketing Essentials for B2B Loyalty Program

At 212F we have the expertise in self-funded incentive programs which help brands promote or launch their incentive program with a bang!

Never Ending Process of Improvement

“If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” ​– Albert Einstein.

No marketer in the world can provide you with a specific formula that works; it’s a process. A process that requires frequent changes and modification to ensure your trade partners, customers or resellers are engaged. Ideally, your organisation will constantly review your loyalty program at regular intervals and create a list of “lessons learnt”, which will inform you if you require a complete refurbishing of your incentive and loyalty program or if minor tweaks will do the trick.   

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Be it marketing your B2B Incentive Program or growing it 212F is the only B2B Engagement Agency that challenges how incentives & loyalty programs should work. We don’t focus on just program results but on the behaviours that bring you the results. In other words, we think strategy first, rewards second. Got questions about B2B incentive & loyalty programs, reward options, travel & events solutions? No question’s too big or too small. We’d love to help you, whether that’s a query on a single reward element or a potential overhaul of your entire program. Click here to contact us today.

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