1 THE FOUR FUTURES THE DIGITAL LOYALTY SURVEY Martin Hayward, Vice President, Global Digital Strategy
2 02 / The Digital Loyalty Survey high data control real relationships emotional engagement At Aimia, we believe that businesses who emotionally connect with their customers whilst also offering a high level of responsible data control, will be best positioned to inspire long term customer loyalty.
3 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 1 SUMMARY The marketing world is on the cusp of a revolution one that will create entirely new business models, technologies, and channels that will find brands interacting with their customers with new levels of relevance and immediacy. The advent of big data promises ever more insight into consumer behaviours, attitudes, and aspirations. Couple this data explosion with a rapidly expanding array of communications channels, and we may herald the arrival of a new golden age of marketing. Or, if marketers chase short-term monetization of data and exploit these new channels regardless of consumer preference and control, then we might find ourselves in a marketing dystopia. But how can we know that we re on the right path? To help marketers divine the proper strategy for navigating the digital future, Aimia has conducted a research study designed to understand consumers current attitudes and opinions about data sharing and control, the role of digital media in their lives, and about the nature and frequency of digital marketing communications. To collect our data, in the summer of 2012 we conducted a consumer survey in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, using SSI nationally representative online panels. In total, we received slightly over 6,000 responses approximately 2,000 respondents in each country. This report reveals a subset of those survey responses. In each country, we found a consumer population eager to engage online, actively seeking real relationships with their favourite brands, but wary of over-saturation and frustrated by the lack of value and relevance in most marketing communications. Some of our specific findings include: > > Consumers are increasingly connected online through multiple devices. > > While they re willing to engage with brands online, the marketing messages they currently receive often fail to meet their expectations. > > Although consumers are concerned about the increasing frequency and volume of digital communications, they do accept some responsibility for the increasing frequency and volume of digital communications they receive. > > Whilst consumers indicate a strong preference for messages over other digital channels, they delete a third of s unopened. > > While consumers express a strong desire to be rewarded for sharing data with marketers, they generally do not feel so rewarded. > > Relevance will be the crucial point of differentiation for future digital relationships. Consumers define relevance in part by how well marketers tailor the offer, frequency, and channel for individual consumers. > > Only organizations that prove themselves trusted and responsible managers of consumers data will be rewarded with their loyalty. Unfortunately, trust is low for many of the new stars of the digital world. Most importantly, our survey finds that marketing success in the digital future will depend upon how well marketers use data to build relationships dependent on two primary variables: the degree of engagement, and the degree of consumer control over their personal information. Aimia has identified four possible futures for digital marketing based on these variables. While all four futures are possible and indeed already exist only one offers a path to long-term profitability: the future of Real Relationships. It s our hope that this survey provides a few useful signposts to guide you along the way. Contents 1 Summary 2 Introduction: A Fork in the Road 4 The Four Futures 6 Future I: Offer Anarchy 8 Future II: Pay to Play 10 Future III: The Hunt for Affinity 12 Future IV: Real Relationships 14 Conclusion: The Loyalty Advantage 16 Survey Questions 17 About the Author
4 2 / The Digital Loyalty Survey INTRODUCTION: A FORK IN THE ROAD As recently as a few years ago, we could only understand so much about our customers. We possessed limited ability to get messages to them at the right time and place. But the arrival of ever more data about customer behaviour, attitudes and aspirations, combined with a rapidly expanding array of communication channels through which to reach them, now allows us to provide our customers with marketing relevance about which we could previously only dream. But as with every era of technological development, the danger is that marketers focus on the possible at the expense of the desirable. And so we find ourselves at a fork in the road one path leading to a possible golden age of marketing, and the other leading to consumer backlash, government intervention, or both. Will we take the road less travelled? The challenge as ever is to temper our enthusiasm with a thorough understanding of what s best for our customers. Fortunately, some of the early signs are good. Marketers have already begun to migrate from a shotgun approach, hoping to hit the right targets by peppering consumers with messages, to a rifle Choosing the right path through a period of such rapid change requires constant vigilance to ensure that our marketing efforts are designed to build long-term, profitable relationships. approach, in which messages are targeted to consumers based on real understanding of their needs. Indeed, our research demonstrates that a majority of consumers are happy to share their data with marketers, and are pleased with the possibilities of better targeted digital messaging. As our illustration on the opposite page reveals, consumers are connecting through multiple devices. They re embracing mobile channels. They re connecting with brands online through both brand-specific and social platforms. And they re connecting with the expectation that marketers will reward them for seeking out these relationships. If marketers choose the correct path, we ll earn the right to better understand our customers by connecting the dots between data sources drawn from throughout the customer lifecycle. We ll fully leverage the exciting new capabilities of mobile and social channels. We ll use customer data to build relationships, engagement, and enduring loyalty. But our key challenge is to embrace this digital revolution with both hands while showing enough restraint to avoid killing this new goose that lays the golden eggs. Why the danger? In an always-on digital future, marketers will soon have the ability to send messages to consumers at any time, wherever they are at home, on the move, before entering a store, in the store aisles, after leaving the store, and so on. They ll also be able to peer into a customer s social circle and use that knowledge to influence her purchase behaviour. It s already happening. But no matter how relevant our marketing messages, there are clearly times, places and occasions in which consumers prefer not to receive them. We assume that consumers are both willing and able to receive an endless stream of targeted messages wherever and whenever they may be, and marketers are already pricing in these new revenue streams. But evidence is mounting that the assumptions underlying these business cases are both naïve and potentially dangerous. Research firms such as Forrester and Gartner have suggested that if we add up the revenues that these new digital advertising models are promising the markets, they exceed the current total advertising spend by multiple factors. These assumptions may in fact lead us down the wrong path one in which consumers rebel against the always-on future, in which government regulators place constraints on when and how we can use personal data for marketing purposes. Choosing the right path through a period of such rapid change requires constant vigilance to ensure that our marketing efforts are designed to build long-term, profitable relationships. To help you navigate this fork in the road, we ve filtered the results of our Digital Loyalty Survey, conducted in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to help illustrate four potential future outcomes of this marketing revolution, and to provide you with some rules for navigating your business into the future of real relationships. For only one of these four futures will allow us to seize the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead.
5 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 3 HOW WE CONNECT Long gone are the days of landline busy signals awaiting any callers who ring us while we dial onto the web via fixed landline and desktop computer modems. Today s consumers spend increasingly more time online, connecting through multiple devices both at home and on the go. Whether through desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, connecting with consumers has never been easier but there are profound implications for how marketers choose to leverage these always-on channels. Nearly half of consumers connect through three or more devices. Mobile connections peak amongst year-olds. Smartphone 45% 48% 43% 3 Devices % Consumers are most likely to connect with brands through % 72% % % 14% although UK consumers are more likely to text. 87% 70% 97% Tablet 66% 27% Consumers are willing to connect with brands online, and some are creating multiple identities online. Q. Number of online accounts created: Q. Number of brands liked/followed: > % 11% 31% 12% 10% 16% 14% 0 > % 19% 17% 42% 28% 49% 25% 18% 36% 21% 30% 40% 23% 18% 40% 20% Women tend to dominate online brand conversations. Q. Percent who have liked/followed one or more brands: 67% 48% 56% 44% 64% 54% Nearly half of all consumers connect online with the expectation of a reward. Q. Reasons for connecting with a brand online: Future offer Specific offer/promotion To enter a competition
6 4 / The Digital Loyalty Survey THE FOUR FUTURES Despite the promise of digital technology to bring brands and their customers closer together, a gulf is in fact widening between them. On one side of the gulf stand marketers, preoccupied with what they want customers to do; on the other side stand customers, concerned only with what marketers can do for them. Bridging this gap is the unique challenge of the digital age. Whether and how we bridge this gap successfully depends on our management of two primary variables and the good news is these variables are largely within our control. Consumers are increasingly demanding and more aware than ever of their rapidly expanding data footprint. Nevertheless, they re generally happy to share their details widely in exchange for more relevant and generous marketing and offers. Marketers, meanwhile, are excited by the potential to track and communicate with their customers rapidly by incorporating new digital channels, platforms, and data sources. We re eager to leverage this ability to reward loyalty through new digital channels, to encourage behaviour shift, and to send offers whenever and wherever our customers are. When the interests of marketers and customers align, the future looks bright indeed. But how well these interests align will depend on how well we manage data along two primary axes: > > Control indicates the degree to which consumers feel they own their data including the right to grant permission for its use, and to set their own preferences for marketing purposes. While control can be mandated by regulators or seized by third-party data brokers, its degree is ideally determined through the transparency and added value of your marketing efforts. > > Engagement reflects the degree to which marketers use customer data to create enduring relationships rather than for shortterm promotions. To influence engagement, marketers must use data to build relationships on a foundation of trust, commitment, and reciprocity. The illustration on the opposite page shows these two variables plotted as simple x- and y-axes to form a traditional four-quadrant grid. Each of these quadrants represents a different potential future for marketers based on the resulting degree of control and engagement. We can summarize these four futures thus: > > Offer Anarchy: In this future, the increasing volume of customer data created by the digitisation of everyday life remains freely available, and only loosely controlled by governments or consumers. Consequently, always on digital channels and platforms are over-exploited by marketers. This scenario leads to highly transactional, deal-based marketing and frustrated, over-messaged consumers. > > Pay to Play: In this future, both consumers and regulators acknowledge the value and power of customer data. Consequently, data is controlled and traded as a commodity. To gain access to data, marketers will have to pay: either in cash to third-party data brokers, or in rewards to customers themselves. Consumers will increasingly offer their data, attention and spending to the highest bidder a future which will lay waste to many legacy business models. > > The Hunt for Affinity: In this future, marketers are attempting to use data to build engagement, but consumers still feel little control over their data. The result is a series of broken relationships as consumers seek the ability to regulate when and how they receive marketing offers. Brand-consumer relationships are intense, but short-lived. As a result, marketing expense and reward costs continue to increase. > > Real Relationships: This final, possible future is the one that marketers should strive to build. In this scenario, we use data to build sustainable, profitable relationships with customers based on trust, commitment, and reciprocity. The needs of brands and customers are aligned, with marketers delivering value and relevance, and customers delivering increased spend, tenure, and advocacy. The science fiction author Willliam Gibson famously said, The future is already here it s just not very evenly distributed. And indeed, we can see that the four futures described above are already part of the consumer landscape to varying degrees. In the following pages, we ll take a closer look at how our Digital Loyalty Survey respondents view these four potential futures. And in our conclusion, we ll provide some guidelines for making the best possible future the future of real relationships a reality for all of us.
7 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 5 ENGAGEMENT AND CONTROL When the interests of marketers and customers align, the future looks bright indeed. But how well these interests align will depend on how well we manage data along the two primary variables of data control and customer engagement. Plotting these variables along simple x- and y-axes forms quadrants, each of which represents a different potential future for marketers. High Data Control PAY TO PLAY REAL RELATIONSHIPS Rational Engagement Emotional Engagement OFFER ANARCHY THE HUNT FOR AFFINITY Low Data Control
8 6 / The Digital Loyalty Survey FUTURE I: OFFER ANARCHY In the 2002 film Minority Report, a science-fiction film set in the near future, on-therun protagonist John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, races through a retail mall deluged by a torrent of audio and visual location-based marketing messages. The messages implore him by name, helpfully suggest products based on his purchase history, and bombard him with discount offers. Because Anderton is fleeing from the authorities, he is understandably distressed by having his name broadcast all over the mall by digital display advertisements. And by his look of surprise and annoyance, we may assume that he didn t opt in to this communication stream. For a film released five years before Apple debuted the first iphone and two years before Mark Zuckerburg created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, Minority Report now appears wildly prescient in its depiction of data-driven, Welcome to the Offer Anarchy future, in which consumers have no say in whether or how their personal information and buying habits are used for marketing purposes. hyper-personalized, locationbased marketing. And although the film is fictional, this brief scene successfully sums up the fear and confusion felt by consumers towards always on marketing messages. Welcome to the Offer Anarchy future, in which consumers have no say in whether or how their personal information and buying habits are used for marketing purposes. As our Four Futures illustration on page 5 depicts, the Offer Anarchy future is one in which consumers have no control over how their data is used, and in which marketers make little effort to use that data to build lasting customer relationships. In this future, customers are oversaturated with messages, frustrated by the irrelevancy of most digital offers, and ultimately forced to tune out all but a small percentage of the marketing noise. In the meantime, marketers receive little return on their investment beyond short-term gains driven by deep discounts and opportunistic promotions. Offer Anarchy is our most dystopian vision of the future a future in which neither brands nor consumers win. As our illustration on page 7 shows, Aimia s Digital Loyalty Survey reveals that, for at least some of our customers, the Offer Anarchy future is already here. Some of the symptoms of Offer Anarchy include: > > Irrelevance breeds regret. Driven by negative media stories about intrusive data collection, as well as by their own personal experiences with irrelevant marketing messages, significant numbers of consumers in the three markets we surveyed express regret at connecting with brands online. Approximately one in five consumers have regretted liking or following a brand via social media, while one in four have regretted connecting with a brand via their web site. > > There s too much noise. When it comes to marketing messages, the numbers in our survey are startling: While 86 percent of consumers receive marketing s, only 12 percent look forward to receiving them, and nearly half think they receive too many. The numbers are similarly grim for text messages. When most of the messages we deliver to our customers are perceived as noise, then Offer Anarchy is already here. > > amplifies the noise. Given the literally dozens of marketing s our customers receive, it s no surprise that these messages quickly reach a saturation point. Our survey reveals that tipping point at 20 s per week the number of s that a majority of consumers believe to be too many. One caveat: Our survey also shows that their actions directly contribute to the noise, with nearly two-thirds of consumers admitting that their actions affect the number of marketing messages they receive. > > Irrelevance also drives disengagement. It s no surprise that consumers perceive most messages even ones they ve volunteered to receive as irrelevant. Our survey shows that one-third of marketing messages go unread, and that only one in five result in a consumer taking action. This poor ratio of action to inaction speaks to marketers continued inability to deliver offers of obvious relevance and value. > > When it comes to effectively leveraging new communications channels, marketers have a poor track record: Direct mail became junk mail; became spam; we can only guess the pejoratives soon to be assigned to social and mobile messages. Our survey reveals that successful avoidance of the Offer Anarchy future will require marketers to change their behaviour along both the engagement and control axes: we must collect data for the express purpose of building relationships, and we must cede to our customers control over how we use that data. Only by changing our own behaviour as marketers can we hope to avoid this most dystopian future.
9 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 7 ALWAYS-ON MARKETING Thanks to such emerging digital platforms as browser-based behavioural targeting, mobile devices, location-based targeting, and social media, marketers can now reach consumers anywhere, and at any time. But just as with many advances in science, our ability to do something often outpaces our understanding of whether we should do it. Our survey shows that marketing fatigue is a real phenomenon amongst consumers and if we don t address this concern, we may find ourselves in the Offer Anarchy future. One in five consumers express regret for liking a brand online, while up to one in four regret registering with a company or brand website. Q. Regretted liking a brand: 18% Q. Regretted signing up online: 20% 24% Consumers are unenthusiastic about the digital communications they receive. 26% A majority of consumers consider receiving 20 or more s a week as too many. Texts: s: 86% 28% Receive marketing s 50% Receive marketing texts but only but only 12% 10% Look forward to receiving them Look forward to receiving them ANd 53% ANd 46% 44% Think they receive too many Think they receive too many 58% Consumers delete more than one third of s and texts from brands without reading more than the title. Q. Action taken when receiving messages from companies: Read and take action Read no action taken Glance at contents Read title only Delete without reading Percent unopened 23% 18% 15% 33% 18% 17% 35% 20% 19% 17% 36%
10 8 / The Digital Loyalty Survey FUTURE II: PAY TO PLAY A future marked by offer anarchy is the worst possible future for both marketers and consumers. But even if we avoid that grim fate, there is another form of dystopia possible one with especially gloomy implications for marketers. It s a future in which marketers unwillingness or inability to leverage data to build real relationships has forced the issue of data control out of their hands. In this scenario, new mechanisms, either mandated by government regulators or developed by entrepreneurs, have arisen to act as gatekeepers to control access to data. Consumers themselves become mercenaries, selling their data to the highest bidder. If this future seems far-fetched, then consider that, much like the Offer Anarchy future, evidence that we re heading down this troubling path already abounds. And our Digital Loyalty Survey indicates that consumers are already well considering the importance of data control, and the value of their personal information to marketers. Warning signs of the Pay to Play future include: The data divide between consumers and marketers is a study in irony: the data that marketers can more immediately monetize purchase data or web browsing data, for example is the data that consumers are most reluctant to share. > > Data aggregator backlash: The past decade has seen the rise of monolithic data aggregators who sell consumers financial, purchase, lifestyle, and household data to marketers, mostly without their knowledge or permission. Their activities have drawn media attention, with the resulting investigative reports pointing out the lack of consumer access to or control over this information. Popular revolt against such practices could force reforms that would increase the price of this data to marketers. > > Legislative scrutiny: The media spotlight on Big Data has in turn drawn the scrutiny of legislators around the globe, who are now demanding to know what data these companies are collecting and how they re monetizing it. Government entities such as the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission, as well as initiatives such as Midata in the United Kingdom and a review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in Canada, all speak to a potential regulatory environment that restricts data access and raises costs for marketers. > > New business models: Although yet to gain traction, start-up companies in North America and Europe are even now positioning themselves as secure data storage lockers or personal data gatekeepers. The purpose of these entities is to function as a control mechanism to help consumers choose who sees their personal information and what they can do with it. Should any of these start-ups build critical mass with consumers, marketers may find access to consumer data more restricted and more expensive. Our Digital Loyalty Survey results, a portion of which is summarized in the illustration on page 9, also reveals the extent to which consumers are now aware of marketing noise and their ambivalence about sharing personal details with marketers. They re increasingly ambivalent about sharing data, and they re actively seeking help with managing their online connections. The data divide between consumers and marketers is a study in irony: the data that marketers can more immediately monetize purchase data or web browsing data, for example is the data that consumers are most reluctant to share. On the other hand, consumers are much more comfortable with sharing such relationship building blocks as hobbies, interests, and lifestyle data but this data is traditionally under-utilized by marketers. The solution to avoiding the Pay to Play future is for the marketing industry to collectively shift our marketing efforts to the upper-right quadrant of our Four Futures graph, toward a future of Real Relationships. We ll achieve this goal by voluntarily using data to build sustainable relationships, and voluntarily ceding transparency and control over these efforts to our customers. It s a more difficult road, but one that will bear richer fruit.
11 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 9 THE DATA DIVIDE This growing divide between what marketers want to do with consumer data, and what value consumers expect to receive from it, could lead to a Pay to Play future a future in which regulators or third-party brokers help consumers seize control of their data, and marketers are forced to pay a premium to collect it. The more readily data can be monetized by marketers, the more reluctant consumers are to share that information. Happy to share Neutral Never share Name 60% Hobbies 57% % 39 4 Lifestyle 31% Address 18% 24% Purchases Web History 14% % % Very appealing/ Appealing Neutral Unappealing/ Very unappealing 20% Mobile Number 8% A plurality of consumers are interested in the idea of a third-party helping them manage their online communications 47% Household % Date of Birth Income 36% % Occupation while more plugged-in consumers are more interested in having a single source for all marketing messages. Number of connections: 1 43% 34% 40% 2 44% 39% 46% 3 49% 46% 49% 4 53% 58% 63% In the Pay to Play future, consumers who now promote your brand for free may come to expect a reward. 42% 10% 16% 32% Have promoted brands online for no reward Have promoted brands for a reward Won t promote without a reward Haven t promoted a brand online
12 10 / The Digital Loyalty Survey FUTURE III: The Hunt for Affinity Marketers fully attuned to the promise of the digital future understand that the surest way to avoid grim scenarios such as Offer Anarchy or Pay to Play is to use customer data to drive real relationships. But engagement is only one of the variables at play in this future; control, the other primary variable, is equally important. For even if marketers attempt to leverage data for its long-term relationship benefits, we will be successful only to the degree that we practice transparency and voluntarily cede permission to our customers. Failure along the control axis will result in a future in which customers remain sceptical of our efforts, and become promiscuous in their search for symbiotic brand relationships. Call it the Hunt for Affinity. Consider the conundrum of behavioural pricing. Technology now exists that gives online retailers the power to target prices to individual consumers based on the vast troves of information now available about their online shopping, browsing, and social media habits. Two consumers looking at the exact same product page can receive two different prices, each based on algorithms designed to predict and display the exact price point that will encourage each of them to click Buy while preserving the retailer s profit margin. Instead of building loyalty, we may build a generation of sceptical, promiscuous customers searching for real relationships with their favourite brands, but never finding them. From the retailer s perspective, this technology is marketing nirvana: we now have the ability to use data to deliver the right price to the right customer at the right time. We can target our discount dollars with surgical precision, as opposed to offering the same discount to every customer regardless of her loyalty, tenure, or advocacy. We can lure new customers in with attractive low prices, and offer existing customers enticing prices that encourage cross-sell and upsell. But because these sophisticated analytics happen behind the scenes, without customer knowledge or permission, they often don t perceive the benefits of this activity. Instead, they read media exposés on price discrimination, learn about friends who receive lower prices for the same product, and wonder what personal information the retailer has at hand and how they acquired it. instead of building relationships, data used in this way has the potential to fracture them. Instead of building loyalty, we may build a generation of sceptical, promiscuous customers searching for real relationships with their favourite brands, but never finding them. Our survey reveals that consumers are already aware of this perceived loss of control, and their skepticism is mounting. consider these findings, as depicted in our illustration on page 11: > > Consumers blame themselves. Even as they recognize that the volume of digital noise is increasing, roughly three-quarters of consumers in our surveyed markets recognize that their own online actions contribute to the increasing number of messages they receive. This recognition in turn fuels the perception of powerlessness they feel which may make them less likely to connect with you in the future. > > Relevance is the missing link. Because consumers perceive a lack of relevance in their digital communications stream, they re most likely to open messages with pure utilitarian value, such as those from banks and cable providers. That only one in five consumers perceive loyalty program communications as relevant demonstrates that loyalty marketers, too, have much work to do to increase the value of program communications. > > Consumers are reluctant to engage through new platforms. Although our research shows that consumers willingly connect with brands online, it also reveals that they re less likely to do so through social and mobile platforms: roughly half of consumers see no value in connecting via social media, and roughly half are unwilling to receive location-based offers via their mobile devices. This skepticism and reluctance to engage is becoming widespread. Even as marketers are developing and using tools to deliver targeted, relevant, and value-added communications to individual customers, the lack of customer permission and control remains a significant stumbling block to building long-term, profitable relationships with our customers. To help consumers with their Hunt for Affinity, marketers will need to focus on the total brand experience, and to build those relationships on more than just short term offers and rewards. This focus will help retailers already at the mercy of price comparison sites and shopper showrooming activity stand out against the backdrop of marketing noise. As for behavioural pricing, here s a what-if scenario: suppose that, instead of implementing behavioural pricing behind the scenes, you transparently offer lower prices, deferred discounts, or equity in a loyalty program to those customers who voluntarily raise their hands and ask to participate? What if, instead of making your customers unwitting dupes, you made them active partners in this process? Welcome to the future of Real Relationships.
13 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 11 LOOKING FOR LOVE While consumers understand that their own actions online have increased the volume of digital marketing messages they receive, they feel powerless to control the flow. In the Hunt for Affinity future, marketers attempt to use data to build relationships, but lack of transparency and control leaves consumers sceptical and promiscuous. Consumers understand that their own actions online contribute to the volume of digital noise. Q. Percentage of consumers who say the volume of digital messages has increased in the past year: 61% 66% Q. Percentage of consumers who believe their actions have contributed to this volume: 59% 75% 72% 72% Consumers struggle to find relevance in their online communications, but providing such relevance is the key to surviving deletion. Q. Percent who say messages from this source usually relevant: 40% 30% Grocers REWARDS 20% Voucher programs $$$ Travel companies 10% 0% Cable providers Loyalty programs Online retailers 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Percent who always read digital communications from this source 50% 60% Without a clear understanding of how online connections benefit them, consumers are reluctant to engage through social media. Q. Have you connected via social media to: Resolve a customer service issue Provide feedback Receive advice from other customers Give advice to Contributing to other customers discussions None of these 30% 26% 21% 16% 13% 53% 21% 19% 17% 12% 12% 59% 25% 21% 19% 15% 14% 55% Perceived lack of control and unclear value leaves consumers reluctant to receive mobile offers. Q. Interest in receiving mobile offers: At checkout 2% In the aisles 8% Upon arrival 13% Before departing 26% Never 51%
14 12 / The Digital Loyalty Survey FUTURE IV: Real Relationships In the preceding pages, we ve taken a close look at three potential dystopian futures for marketers. In each of these futures, marketers fail to deliver along at least one of the twin axes of control and engagement. In each case, this failure results in either an increase in the cost of data, a reduction in marketing effectiveness, or both. Our final, and most hopeful, look at the future concludes with a vision in which marketers succeed along both axes. In this future, we leverage data to build long-term customer loyalty while voluntarily granting consumers control over how, when, and where we use their data. The result is a future of sustainable, profitable loyalty: a future of Real Relationships. It may not be marketing utopia but it s a future in which everyone wins. The term real relationship is no mere marketing buzzword, nor a concept to which we must merely pay lip service before returning to our regularly scheduled barrage of always-on promotional messages. Using modern data analytics techniques, we can now measure the value of individual customer relationships not merely in relation to our next campaign, quarterly results, or annual report, but over the lifetime of a customer s relationship with our brand. And as we improve our ability to tie brand interactions to transaction data, we ll soon develop new definitions of value that include measures of influence and advocacy in our models. At Aimia, we ve drawn on over 15 years of academic research and client engagements to identify the fundamental building blocks of customer relationships. These elements are critical to building sustained loyalty and customer value: > > Trust: Over the past two decades, multiple academic studies have identified trust as a necessary component of loyal customer relationships. Trusted brands are perceived as honest, ethical, believable, and possessed of high integrity. We establish trust with our customers by using personal data to deliver relevant offers, by practicing permission-based marketing, and by establishing a transparent value exchange in which consumers have a clear understanding of how data use benefits them. > > Commitment: Customers are committed to brands that demonstrate commitment to them. How do we demonstrate commitment to a customer relationship? By using data to enhance and personalize the customer experience. Personal status and recognition delivered through a tiered loyalty program; merchandising, store design, and pricing strategy all fueled by data and insight; media impressions customized to the individual customer; relevant messages of clear value delivered to your customer s preferred device; all of these tactics demonstrate commitment to your best customers. > > Reciprocity: Strong relationships are symbiotic; for loyalty to last, both partners must derive strength from the other. Customer data analytics make this symbiosis possible. For marketers, relationship value comes in the form of increased customer lift, share of wallet, and lifetime value. For customers, value comes in the form of rewards and recognition that strengthen their loyalty and make them champions of your brand. Our Digital Loyalty Survey reveals that customers are ready and willing to share data voluntarily with brands that earn trust, demonstrate commitment, and deliver reciprocity. The illustration on page 13 highlights these green shoots: > > We re willing to engage. Our research shows that consumers are more than happy to exchange personal data for relevance and value. The one data stream that they seem reluctant to share web browsing data is ironically the one data stream that has been relentlessly monetized by marketers, often without consumer permission. > > Reciprocity builds trust. Respondents in all three markets we surveyed are most willing to share data with companies they perceive to be using it effectively. Companies faring the worst in this calculation are big search and social platforms that have most aggressively monetized data, ostensibly to deliver targeted advertising but these platforms receive at best middling grades in their perceived relevance. > > Frequency and channel are key elements of control. Marketers who choose the time and place to deliver marketing messages on behalf of their customers will fail along the control axis, with a corresponding decline in relationship value. By giving your customers the choice of when or where to receive offers, you ll reinforce trust and commitment. Delivering messages personalized to the hour may be overkill even though one in six consumers would prefer to receive offers at a particular time of day. Regardless of consumer readiness or organizational commitment, relentless marketplace demands for short-term results will continue to drive us toward Offer Anarchy. Building a future of Real Relationships, on the other hand, requires C-Suite support, a dedicated strategy, robust analytics, and talented marketers to deliver on your vision. It s not a journey for the faint of heart. For those who persevere, however, the fruits of your labour will more than make up for your hard work.
15 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 13 MARKETING NIRVANA The most optimistic scenario in our four futures is the future of Real Relationships, in which marketers use data to build long term engagement in an environment of permission and trust. Our Digital Loyalty Survey supports the notion that consumers are ready and willing to connect with brands, and will share data with those that deliver relevance and value back through the time and place of their choosing. A majority of consumers are happy for marketers to use lifestyle and shopping data to deliver more relevant offers. Q. How happy are you for companies to use information about you in the following ways? (% happy/very happy): 55% 37% 70% 37% Product recommendations based on lifestyle data Targeted advertisements based on web browsing history Voucher offers for products purchased regularly Product recommendations based on shopping history While millennials are more open to location-based offers, consumers overall are much less willing to provide more data to Facebook and Google. C RED IT My mobile provider My bank My credit card provider My cable My energy provider provider Company uses data to personalize 64% 58% 50% 43% 40% 37% 32% 30% I m willing to provide more data 46% 25% 15% 14% 20% 15% 18% To build lasting relationships, marketers must recognize and act upon customer preferences. 57% More than once a day Once a day Once a week Once a month Less frequently 1 in 6 Number of consumers who prefer to receive offers at specific times of day While Millennials are more open to location-based offers, consumers are much more likely to respond to them once they ve had a successful personal experience with one. Q. Percent likely to respond to a location-based offer: Overall 48% Under 35 68% 48% Over 55 77% 75% Have received location-based offer 83% 50% 84% 11% 26% 16% Have not received location-based offer 81% 44% 45% 43%
16 14 / The Digital Loyalty Survey CONCLUSION: THE LOYALTY ADVANTAGE When it comes to building a future of Real Relationships, loyalty marketers have a natural advantage. The loyalty industry has always been at the forefront of using data to understand customer behaviour in order to deepen relationships for the long term benefit of both brands and their customers. The potential to leverage new data sources to deepen customer insight, and new communication channels to reward their behaviour, bodes well for loyalty marketers ability to build trusted, committed, and reciprocal relationships with their customers. For the digital transition to deliver all that it promises, we must secure a new contract of permission and trust between marketers and consumers. In this effort, loyalty marketers are well placed to lead the broader marketing industry. As marketers contemplate how best to navigate the future, we would do well to take note of the loyalty model. As we exploit new digital channels, incorporate new data sets, and evolve our analytical skills to meet the challenge of this rapidly expanding digital universe, we must ground our marketing strategy in fundamental principles drawn from the loyalty industry: > > Recognition and reward fuels engagement. Loyalty programs have proliferated because of their grounding in basic human psychology; customers like to be rewarded, and they like to feel recognized. Value propositions that combine economic rewards with best-customer recognition have proven to be the most effective means of encouraging your customers to raise their hands and voluntarily share data with you. > > Transparency fuels control. Loyalty programs also succeed because, unlike many of today s data aggregation and web advertising platforms, the value customers receive in exchange for sharing data with loyalty program operators is transparent the points, miles, vouchers, and recognition elements are tangible reminders of program value, and reinforce the value of the relationship in the minds of your best customers. Consequently, they view loyalty programs as a safe haven within which to share personal information. > > Relevance breeds trust. Loyalty marketers understand that offer relevance is often the most underutilized form of value in marketing. Our Digital Loyalty Survey reveals that customers are instinctively willing to share personal information that aids relevance particularly data about lifestyle, hobbies and interests, and preferred communication channels. To breed trust that pierces through the marketing noise, ensure that every offer you send is as relevant as you can make it. There will unfortunately be an inevitable temptation towards short-termism, as the possibilities inherent in new sources of consumer data and new communication channels tempt some of us to over-message and even turn a blind-eye to data privacy issues. If this failure occurs on a broad scale, it could lead to rapid consumer disillusionment, subsequent withdrawal of access and permission, and a descent into offer anarchy. To make the future of Real Relationships a reality, we must demonstrate restraint and respect for consumer s permissions and preferences from the start. We must use the new digital tools at our disposal to deliver relevant messages at relevant times, while avoiding over-messaging and intrusion. For the digital transition to deliver all that it promises, we must secure a new contract of permission and trust between marketers and consumers. In this effort, loyalty marketers are well placed to lead the broader marketing industry. The world s most successful loyalty programs have demonstrated how relationships built on trust, commitment, and reciprocity fuel data, insight, and customer value. Our customers are ready and willing to take this journey with us we need only meet them halfway.
17 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 15 ENSURE ALL DATA COLLECTION BENEFITS THE CUSTOMER LET YOUR CUSTOMER CHOOSE THE CHANNEL DELIVER VALUE AND RELEVANCE IN EVERY INTERACTION BUILD RELATIONSHIPS BASED ON TRUST, COMMITMENT, AND RECIPROCITY ASK FOR PERMISSION BE TRANSPARENT IN YOUR DATA USAGE
18 16 / The Digital Loyalty Survey SURVEY QUESTIONS Chart page 3: Q1. Which of the following do you own/use? Q2. Please indicate for each of the different types of digital communication, what you personally use it for. Q3. How many companies or brands do you currently like or follow on Facebook or Twitter? Q6. And what was the main reason you decided to like or follow them? Q15. Have you ever received communications from companies in any of the following ways? Q16. Overall, to what extent do you enjoy receiving offers by text? Q17. How many companies do you receive offers by text messages from? Q18. In a typical week, how many text messages do you receive from companies? Q18b. And how many of these are text messages with offers and promotions? Q19. Would you say the total number of text messages you receive from companies is? Q47. Have you ever done any of the following? Chart page 7: Q7. Have you ever regretted liking or following a company? Q13. Have you ever regretted signing up or registering with a company? Q15. Have you ever received communications from companies in any of the following ways? Q22. How many companies do you receive offers by from? Q23. In a typical week, how many s do you receive from companies? Q23b. And how many of these are s with offers and promotions? Q24. Would you say the total number of s you receive from companies is? Q25d. In general, out of every 10 messages ( s or texts) you receive from companies, how many would you say you? Chart page 9: Q25b. Compared with this time a year ago, would you say the number of s and text messages you get from companies has? Q25c. To what extent do you think the change in the amount of online communication you receive has been affected by actions you have taken for example signing up with more companies or opting-out of receiving s? Q33. In the white box below you will see types of information companies might collect about you, or ask you to provide. For each one, please drag and drop it into the box which best describes how you feel about sharing it. Q36. For each of these companies, to what extent do you agree that? Q41. Some people have told us they get so many messages with offers and promotions that they like the idea of a company or organization you could use who would manage the messages you receive, so all your deals and offers would come from one source. How appealing do you find this idea? Chart page 11: Q31. GPS technology which is built in to many mobile phones means it is now possible for you to receive offers or promotions on your phone which are based on your location at the time. Have you ever received a location-based offer like this? Q38. Has a company ever surprised you with a particularly relevant or personalized offer? Q39. Which company was that, and why were you surprised? Q47. Have you ever done any of the following? Q48. Would you do any of the following if you were offered an incentive or reward? Q49. And did you receive any kind of incentive or reward for making positive comments or sharing offers? Q50. Would you only do this again if you were offered an incentive or reward? Q50a. Which of these would encourage you to connect with a company you deal with on social media like Twitter or Facebook? Q50b. And if you did connect with a company on social media, would you expect to be rewarded for doing any of the following: Chart page 13: Q27. Thinking about the messages you receive by text or from companies, for each type of organization, please indicate how relevant to you they are in general. Q29. And how often should an individual company (i.e. not a daily deal site) send you offers? Q35. And which of these specific companies would you trust? Q37. Some companies use information about you to make the messages you receive from them more personal. How happy are you for companies to use information in each of the following ways?
19 The Digital Loyalty Survey / 17 About the Author Martin Hayward, Vice President, Global Digital Strategy Martin has been working with Aimia since 2010, leading the development of the company s global digital strategy. An acknowledged thought leader and author in the future of customer data, insight, loyalty and marketing, Martin was previously Director of Strategy and Futures for dunnhumby, at the heart of the development of the innovative use of detailed customer data for marketing and communications. In 2010, Martin published a book, Any Colour You Like As Long As It s Any Colour You Like, exploring the future of customer data and insight. Martin s previous position was as Executive Chairman of The Henley Centre, WPP s leading Strategic Marketing Consultancy. Prior to joining The Henley Centre, Martin was the founding Managing Director of BBH Futures, the strategic consultancy arm of the Bartle Bogle Hegarty Advertising Group. He was also Head of the Marketing Services Department for Mercury Communications, during which time Mercury was voted Brand of the Year. Martin began his career in Account Planning at Ogilvy and Mather. About Aimia We are a global leader in loyalty management. Our unique capabilities include proven expertise in building proprietary loyalty strategies, launching and managing coalition loyalty programs, creating value through loyalty analytics and driving innovation in the emerging digital and mobile spaces. Employing more than 4,000 people in over 20 countries, we build and run loyalty programs for ourselves and for some of the world s best brands. Customer data is at the heart of everything we do. We are Aimia. We inspire employee, channel and customer loyalty. Visit us at aimia.com.
20 GOLD From the social graph to communication networks to rewarding new levels of loyalty, social media is data gold. You need more than just a Facebook page. You need a social loyalty strategy. MINE 450 FACEBOOK FRIENDS 118 FOURSQUARE FRIENDS 240 TWITTER FOLLOWERS 210 BLOG SUBSCRIBERS 168 PINTEREST FOLLOWERS 305 TUMBLR FOLLOWERS For an initial conversation, call Will Shuckburgh on or write to him at