A more profitable direction

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1 A more profitable direction nowhere rewards How to change direction and find the road to reward

2 A more profitable direction Your reward program could be harming your profits, and your relationship with customers. Here s how to change direction and find the road to reward. Customer rewards programs are an established part of the marketing mix for many banks and financial institutions. Sometimes they are so well established that the original reasons for setting them up are obscured by other objectives or lost in the details of day-to-day management. So it s worth remembering that all rewards programs should be about building customer-centric relationships and driving long-term profitability, rather than focusing on one-off transactions. That may sound straightforward. But there are two roads to choose when banks engage in reward programs. The most frequently chosen route, travel rewards, is popular with customers but often fails to deliver. Customers get a very limited variety of rewards. Members complain about rewards that need more points than they can earn, or have limited availability. Marketing directors complain of low levels of engagement and profitability. And delivering travel rewards can be expensive. We call this type of program the road to nowhere. The road to reward leads to success, helping you hold on to your customers and boost your revenues. With lower and better-timed expenditure and greater diversity of rewards, this is the way to more connected, contented consumers and higher returns on your investment. Contents A more profitable direction 2 Why do so many financial organizations choose the wrong road? 3 Recognizing the wrong road 4 Taking the right road 6 Take the road to reward and discover success 8 A more profitable direction 2

3 Why do so many financial organizations choose the wrong road? The most common approach to banking loyalty programs is to partner with an existing reward currency such as an airlines frequent flyer program. Travel rewards have consistently been the most popular redemption category, and travel-based schemes were the first rewards programs. So buying currency from an airline or hotels program makes life easier for the bank, and, in theory, appeals to customers. There are plenty of other apparent advantages. The rewards program manager deals with just one contact. Billing for all points goes through one invoice. But there are also inherent problems with taking this route. nowhere REWARDS A more profitable direction 3

4 Recognizing the wrong road There are three main problems with the traditional approach to banking loyalty programs: Costs without benefits Linking with existing travel currencies requires businesses to pay for points up-front. That s a drain on cash flow, with no guarantee of any customer engagement in return for your expenditure. And when they come to redeem, the rewards you ve already paid for may not be relevant or in reach of all your members. Your big outlay may have looked like good value at the outset, but it only works if your members actually want what you ve bought for them. Enraging rather than engaging customers Recent research* among nearly 4000 members of travel and banking reward programs reveals that: 59% of members complain they regularly experience problems with limited availability of the travel rewards they want. 54% complain about attainability of rewards, saying they can t collect enough points, their points expire before they can use them or the rewards are poor value. When customers can t get the rewards they ve been promised they feel frustrated, and that damages the emotional attachment they ve formed with your business. So your investment is wasted. 59 % of members regularly experience problems with limited availablity 54 % of members can t collect enough points or rewards are poor value * Research among Priority Pass members, July Respondents were 3920 Priority Pass holders: 1,079 UK, 1,082 North America, 699 Europe, 66 Brazil, 666 APAC, 328 MEA. 90% were members of frequent flyer programs, (56%) were members of frequent guest programs, and 52% were members of bank loyalty programs. A more profitable direction 4

5 Just another rewards program Consumers today expect marketing communications that are targeted: to their lifestyle, their purchasing habits, their preferred communications route. They are swamped with offers, competitions, information, so they look for filters. They expect to get what they want, fast. More and more of the marketing messages they receive allow speedy responses and offer immediate access. Give today s consumer a loyalty program with one size fits all rewards, offers that are hard to understand and rewards that take a long time to achieve and they think you re outdated, impersonal and irrelevant. Loyalty marketers need to change gear if they want to build reward programs that get noticed and create customer relationships that convert into growing business. They must adapt or lose out. MY PROMOTIONS A more profitable direction 5

6 Taking the right road For a modern, personalized and more effective rewards program you need the latest ideas from consumer marketing, the most successful developments in e-commerce, and the buying power of a global group. Combine them for a route that gives your members more varied, more available and more affordable rewards. Create a program where your members choose from rewards that they really want. Rewards that reinforce your brand With more variety you appeal to everyone you want to reward whether they re looking for a mini-break, a family vacation, the trip of a lifetime or a luxury watch. That personalization helps you cut through the noise created by the other loyalty programs targeting your customer. Understand customer preferences and capture their wishes, and you can tailor offers and communications to their interests. You can present a far wider range of rewards, including merchandise and experiences, as well as travel, in your own branded environment, without relying on access through someone else s currency. That way you build more value into your own currency, and you ensure your business is associated with both earning and enjoying those rewards. nowhere rewards A more profitable direction 6

7 Rewards that are valuable When there s a clear points-to-currency conversion you establish your currency as valuable, with prices comparable with conventional retailers and travel agents. So let your members see real-time competitive prices Give your members the best opportunity to use their points with a range from entry-level to aspirational, and allow members to add cash to their points to give them even more flexibility and make it easier for them to redeem. That makes the points you give more useful and more valuable, to many more of your members. They will be more motivated to stay with your business and earn more points. Rewards for your business Your business benefits too, with reduced costs for your program. Rather than paying one upfront blanket price for a bank of points that might not be used, pay at a more appropriate stage in the redemption cycle where points are actually redeemed by your program members. Spreading your rewards options means you re reducing reliance on airline and hotel partners. You can mix in rewards with high perceived value but lower costs to your business or even rewards where you can earn commission. A more profitable direction 7

8 Take the road to reward and discover success There are huge benefits to be gained, for your business and your members, from a successful rewards program. A program that meets your objectives: retaining customers and creating profitable long-term relationships. Make your communications stand out from the mayhem of marketing messages, and turn a one-off transaction into an emotional engagement with your brand. Take the wrong road and you risk losing members and wasting money, especially as other businesses start to adapt. Take the right road, a customer-centric program incorporating the best and freshest thinking in rewards and redemptions, and you satisfy your members and drive profits for your business. A more profitable direction 8

9 This article was brought to you by Collinson Latitude. We are part of The Collinson Group. The Collinson Group help brands across the world manage their customers more effectively. We started out over 20 years ago offering travel enhancements and insurance. We re now a leading provider of customer management, focussed on delivering acquisition, optimisation and retention through people, products and services. The aim of every business within The Collinson Group is to support, delight and reward our customers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any manner, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright Collinson Latitude Ltd 2014

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