When a brand wants to pursue customer loyalty as a strategic piece of its overall marketing plan, there are many questions to answer.
How do you go about finding the right vendor? What type of vendor will bring all the pieces to complete the puzzle?
There are many options to consider and decisions to make, and we will break them down for you in this article.
Assessing the Loyalty Vendor Landscape
In the loyalty space, you have loyalty technology platforms and loyalty agencies. Let’s look at these options first (as defined by Forrester):
These providers offer loyalty-specific consulting to help companies conduct market research, develop their loyalty strategies, build and manage programs, measure performance, select execution partners, and offer operational support. While most loyalty agencies prefer to partner with existing loyalty technology platforms for execution, some have the ability to develop custom technology solutions for their clients.
Loyalty technology platforms:
These vendors offer the technology platforms that companies need to identify and track customers and to power loyalty programs and campaigns. Supporting services are usually limited to implementation, integration, analytics, and support. Some technology vendors offer design services, but most partner with agencies and other service providers to augment their strategy development capabilities.
Now, here is Forrester’s definition of a hybrid loyalty provider:
Hybrid loyalty solutions:
Vendors in this category combine technology and services capabilities to address the broadest spectrum of loyalty requirements, from strategy to program management, to loyalty measurement and analytics. Nearly half of the companies that work with hybrid loyalty solutions leverage their provider for operational services to help them manage the program on a day-to-day basis.
Why Hybrid Loyalty Solutions Are A Better Option
A hybrid loyalty solutions provider offers loyalty marketers the best of both worlds.
In the past, solution providers would either take a consultancy approach or a software/technology approach. This doesn’t work effectively because it only provides a client with half the solution.
With a hybrid approach, the provider will be focused on developing both expertise in the loyalty space through customer acquisition, program design, data analytics, and making decisions derived strictly from a customer-centric approach, while also building technology capabilities.
Are you really serving the needs of your clients if you are making recommendations you don’t have to live with (i.e. build)?
As a technology provider, it’s extremely easy to build stuff that sounds “cool” but that doesn’t meet the needs of your customers. You want a partner who has market tested everything they build with customers in mind.
Hybrid Loyalty is in a Vendor’s DNA
At Clarus, we have always operated this way and it’s because we were “born” this way and it is in our DNA. We believe that being a hybrid loyalty solutions vendor gives us a competitive advantage.
This competitive advantage doesn’t just result in a client receiving our proprietary technology. What a client receives is nearly two decades of premium loyalty experience–the most in the business. You get proven methodology. You get time-tested best practices and strategic know-how. You get actionable analytics, financial modeling, and best-in-class creative.
Simply put, you receive an entire premium loyalty program.
We launch and maintain premium loyalty programs for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. There’s no extra work for our clients’ marketing or IT teams–only increased order frequency and volume, an ancillary revenue stream, and actionable data on their best customers.
Hybrid Loyalty Offers a Holistic Approach
Serving clients in a holistic fashion is what a hybrid loyalty solutions provider brings to the table and is something that we do on a daily basis at Clarus.
Our product road map is built on research and listening to our customers. The customer insights we gather allow us to have a very high hit rate with regards to new features.
Because we also have to live with the recommendations we make (since we’re building/implementing them), it naturally gives us more skin in the game. There’s no one for us to blame but ourselves if things don’t go right. The client benefits from this dynamic.
Since we’re executing on both segments, our clients benefit from network effects. Basically, the more clients we place on the platform gives us a better understanding of what customer loyalty behavior looks like.
What’s more, a feature request from one client gets built into the platform and can then be leveraged by our entire client base.
At the end of the day, we want our clients to focus on their business–not manage multiple vendors. We’re a turnkey solution that allows our clients to focus on their respective businesses while we run all things loyalty.
All the Pieces Put Together
Clarus chose this path because we think it’s the best option.
When you start an exercise regimen of any kind, it’s great until you can’t follow a routine. Then, the visits to the gym decrease and you’re left rudderless without any direction.
If you employ the services of a personal trainer that you trust, he or she can set you on a clear path toward success. At Clarus, we like to think of ourselves as that “personal trainer” in the loyalty space.
If you’ve built a consultancy agency, you just can’t flip and start to build technology. Conversely, if you run a pure technology/platform company, marketing/product/insights, etc. aren’t in your DNA.
If you choose to work with us, we will develop a winning plan to build and manage a successful, engaging, and peerless loyalty program.
We have always been this way. It’s in our DNA and we think that’s what makes us unique.