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Unlocking Customer Loyalty with Personalisation
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B2B companies always look for innovative ways to build stronger customer relationships. McKinsey & Company survey report states 72% of respondents said they expect the businesses they buy from to recognise them as individuals and know their interests. A big takeout is to think that a B2B relationship is that of a business, do that, and you’ll truly miss the importance of individuals in the decision-making process.
Personalisation has emerged as a key strategy pillar for enhancing the customer experience, regardless of the industry, whether automotive, trade, manufacturing, food distribution or IT. Identifying and communicating with the individual is a metric for success. Incentive and loyalty programs are no exception.
By putting customers at the centre of the B2B loyalty programs, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences and provide tailored incentives that keep them engaged and loyal. But the journey to personalisation is not straightforward and requires a strategic approach that balances the needs of the business with the desires of the customer.
Let’s explore the key considerations for B2B companies embarking on the journey to personalisation in their B2B loyalty programs.
The B2B marketplace is generally small, and every dollar spent needs to justify the investment. This means a generic campaign will not have the desired impact, ultimately affecting the ROI of your B2B loyalty program. To truly connect with customers, it’s crucial to recognise that not all customer segments are the same. By moving away from generic campaigns and messaging and instead creating targeted, personalised communications, businesses can create a loyalty program that truly resonates with their customers.
Building a tailored approach specific to customer type comes with its own hurdles, as complex customer databases, shifting market dynamics, and evolving relationships all present unique challenges. But with the right strategic approach and a deep understanding of customer personas, businesses can unlock powerful insights and build a B2B loyalty program that truly sets them apart.
Understanding your customers is critical to building a successful loyalty program. But with so many different customer segments to cater to, how can you create communications that truly resonate? The answer lies in customer personas. By grouping customers with similar attributes, behaviours, and needs into personas, you can create targeted communications that speak directly to their unique needs and preferences.
For example, a business customer persona might include a name (such as ‘Matt’), along with defining demographics, a business type category, and details of how they engage with your business. By grouping customers of similar types under this persona, you can develop tailored incentives and rewards that keep them engaged and loyal.
Of course, customer personas are only as good as the information that goes into them, so it’s important to gather feedback and refine your approach over time. But with the right insights, you can unlock the power of customer personas and build a loyalty program that truly sets you apart.
When we consider personas in the context of a B2B loyalty, incentive and reward program, the persona group must be based on customer interactions and behaviours inside the program, as they link the behavioural pillars of a program.
To achieve this workflow of information, we have created a B2B Engagement Model that links back to the B2B loyalty program design and pain points. It would place our customer database into cohorts, enabling us to develop relevant and tactical communications to change customer behaviour.
We want to bring a ‘program management through personas’ perspective by raising awareness of the program while nudging program participants to engage in behaviours that achieve the program objectives. That is, to keep the program front of mind, reinforce the program benefits and total value proposition of a client’s product, and recognise a buy > reward > recognise> incentive cycle that resolves a pain point.
By controlling the segmentation of a reward program based on behaviours, we can create engagement campaigns with a message that speaks directly to a cohort within the incentive program and cuts through the business-type barrier.
You have a well-rounded communication plan when you place business-type communications at the top of program-related comms. Within a B2B loyalty program, engagement and points or value earned in the program relate to a customer relationship’s performance and value. Our B2B Engagement model takes two vital parts of a loyalty program and weighs them against the entire program database creating groups of similar customers and the chance to communicate with them, not just on spending.
Measuring engagement is crucial to determine the success of a B2B Loyalty, incentive and rewards program. If certain customer groups aren’t interacting with the program’s communications or incentive offer, it could indicate that they have lost interest or are no longer involved. If no action has been taken to address this, this group will have a negative impact on the program’s sales results.
Harvard’s Apostle model considers customer satisfaction and loyalty as important indicators for customer groups. Similarly, analysing transaction rates, activity, and emotional interactions within the program can provide valuable insights.
For instance, customers who earn points but don’t engage with sales representatives or redeem rewards could be considered “hostages.” These customers are still doing business with the company, but they may be stuck due to contractual obligations or a lack of alternatives. By understanding engagement scores and the percentage of the database within different customer groups, program managers can gain vital insights and develop strategies to win back their attention through targeted offers, recognition, or value-based communications.
They can use various communication and platform tools to activate change and improve customer engagement. When program managers understand engagement scores and the percentage of the database within cohorts, they can gain vital insights and start deploying win-back or targeted offers, recognition or value-based communications.
While customers may accumulate points over time, the moment of reward achievement truly solidifies their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.
The value that customers get from a B2B loyalty program allows them to receive real value on redemption, and getting to that moment is paramount. It’s crucial to provide appealing offers that help customers achieve their desired rewards. These frequent reward redeemers and point bankers often become brand advocates, so finding new reward options and ways to earn points for these groups can benefit both the customer and the company.
By tapping into spending behaviours and understanding a customer’s reward goals, you can tailor your sales offers and hunt for new deals to help them earn the rewards they desire. This creates a successful communication campaign and helps you to establish a cohort of loyal customers who spend 100% of their potential revenue on your business.
Ultimately, the power of reward redemption is the outcome of sales efforts. You can create a loyalty program that truly benefits these loyal customers by recognising and targeting the “A-list” customers with higher balances. Communicating with them regularly and acknowledging their loyalty can strengthen your relationship and solidify their trust in your brand.
In B2B loyalty programs, it’s crucial to have targeted strategic communications in place. All communication sent to a loyalty program customer database should support the overall business marketing strategy. A well-designed loyalty communication strategy creates and sends relevant, targeted offers to specific customer groups, lifting those messages to create brand advocacy anchored to rewarding moments for the customer.
It’s important to have a fluid loyalty communication strategy that adapts to the changing needs of your customers. By analysing customer data and behaviour, you can identify which offers to resonate with specific groups and adjust your strategy accordingly. Prioritising targeted and relevant communications create a loyalty program that connects with your customers, drives business success, and reinforces customer loyalty.
The aim is to provide insights and advice to help businesses strengthen their customer relationships. By prioritising strategic communication that supports the overall business strategy, companies can create loyalty programs that genuinely resonate with their customers and drive business success.
Personalisation is no longer just a trend; it’s necessary for the success B2B industry. B2B loyalty programs tailored to specific customer needs and preferences can drive engagement and build stronger customer relationships. By understanding your customers, building customer personas, designing programs for specific customer segments, and measuring engagement and rewards redemption, B2B companies can create loyalty programs that truly set them apart. Personalisation is the key to unlocking the full potential of a B2B loyalty program. Businesses that take the time to develop a strategic approach to personalisation will reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty, satisfaction, and sales. So, start your journey to personalisation today and stand out in the competitive B2B market!