Q&A: Customer Loyalty with Clutch’s Jenna Flateman Posner
Forrester Research reports in The Forrester Wave: Customer Loyalty Solutions For Midsize Organizations, Q1 2016 that improving loyalty will be a top priority for 82 percent of marketing decision makers at midsize organizations over the next 12 months.
Profiled in the report is Clutch, a provider of customer intelligence and personalized engagement tools that empowers consumer-focused brands to identify, understand, and motivate their most valuable customers. Lyons Consulting Group is excited to announce we’ve joined the ClutchConnect partnership program. ClutchConnect is designed to create a framework for collaboration between Clutch and a broad range of partner types.
We sat down with Jenna Flateman Posner, vice president of strategic partnerships at Clutch, to learn what drives the need for loyalty programs and how Clutch helps retailers reach their loyalty goals.
Jennifer Kijek: How does Clutch work?
Jenna Flateman Posner: Clutch is a data management platform that helps B2C brands market smarter to their existing customers.
We look at loyalty a bit differently than most by viewing it as a data capture strategy. Clutch gives brands a complete view of the customer so they can create a 1:1 view across all buying and engagement channels. This allows brands to identify true cross-channel value. They can understand who their best customers are and use that information to develop acquisition strategies that focus on potential customers that look like their best customers, or inform goals and KPIs against their existing customer base.
Clutch has another unique approach to data management. Through our more than 450 integrations, we aggregate all transactional data, not just data associated with rewards members. The result is the ability to use machine learning to identify potential growth within an existing customer base.
We also offer segmentation tools that enable brands to differentiate between their unique value segments. The segments are based on what SKUs a customer buys, what demographics they belong to, how often they purchase, what channels they buy on, and their social behavior. Now brands can talk to moms between the ages of 30-40 with an average spend of $100 who bought SKU #12345 and liked you on Facebook, but maybe haven’t been in your store for 60 days. Compare this to a teenage boy who shops twice a year only online. The goals for both customers are different and, as such, should be communicated with and incentivized differently. The 20 percent off email blast is not the answer.
Clutch allows you to set rules, milestones, and benchmarks against those segments. As customers increase or decrease in value, engage or disengage with your brand, communication is automatically sent out to them via ESP, SMS, push notification, and even personalized direct mail. The goal is to be anywhere the customer is and provide communications or incentives they need to increase in value.
The result is customer communication so relevant and personalized that the 1:1 relationship between the brand and customer is strengthened. Brands can extend the emotional connection to customers outside the physical store, which is inherently the entire point of implementing a loyalty program.
JK: How do you define loyalty?
JFP: I can start by telling you how we don’t define loyalty. Many brands get stuck in a single points-based published loyalty program. This methodology is broken because it assumes that every customer wants to be treated the same way, which is clearly not the case. Just because you and I are in the same loyalty program doesn’t mean we will be motivated by the same triggers, discounts, or methods of communication. Customers all have different habits, patterns, behaviors, and values. Loyalty should be earned and based on the unique value type each independent customer brings to the brand. When brands are considering deploying a loyalty program, the goal should be simple: Give your customers relevant and personalized programs solely designed to foster and maintain an emotional connection with them. If you create a program that’s one-size-fits-all, it’s just not going to get the job done. It will become a cost center.
JK: When developing a new program, what are the top requirements a merchant needs to consider?
JFP: The requirements will be different for each brand. We leverage machine learning and three to five years of historical data to drive our strategic approach to program design. Not a single program we bring to market is the same as another program. That’s because no brand is exactly the same and neither is their customer base. We build programs specifically for each brand and tailor them to their unique customer segments.
JK: What KPIs determine if a loyalty program is successful?
JFP: We take things a big step beyond the traditional KPIs (like increases in average spend and cross-channel wallet share). Because we look at loyalty as a data capture strategy, we leverage cross-channel data to give our brands full transparency into cross-channel customer value. We offer omnichannel member scoring and the ability to monitor the trajectory of the customer’s score. Having access to a score trend-line is essential because it lets you predict whether a customer segment is increasing or decreasing in value. This can inform pre-emptive campaigning designed to retain and grow customers before they begin to fatigue. Customers can be measured based on spend, recency, frequency, and evangelism, but the goal is customer retention and growth, which can come in all shapes and sizes.
JK: How important is a unified omnichannel experience?
JFP: Customers need to be able to buy and use gift cards on any channel and track their loyalty progress on any channel. Loyalty programs should function in stores through POS, online through eCommerce platforms, on mobile through native apps, and on social media. Loyalty is the unique identifier that gives brands the power to understand the true value within their existing customer base. There’s no longer a need to create fictitious or aspirational personas to drive marketing initiatives; rather, brands can create personas based on unified customer data. The opportunity, insight, and intelligence an omnichannel experience provides is incredibly powerful when the right tools are in place.
Both LYONSCG and Clutch will be exhibiting in the Partner Showcase during the three-day event from April 4–6 at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Fla., so please stop by to learn more!
Jenna Flateman Posner is vice president of strategic partnerships at Clutch, a pioneering consumer management platform that delivers omnichannel loyalty, consumer intelligence, and engagement solutions to customer-focused brands. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter at @JFlateman
Jennifer Kijek is director of strategic alliances LYONSCG. She can be reached via email at email@example.com Twitter at @JenniferKijek