Loyalty Programs: Email Marketing's Secret Weapon
Rich: Welcome to Thinking Caps. This week, we're going to ask the question, are loyalty programs an email marketers secret weapon? Stay tuned.
Tim: Rich. I love when people like Chris Marriott, of his stature and experience start to blend, email marketing and loyalty, cross- channel and multi- marketing functions. Why don't you set up who Chris is and what this article is about that you're presenting this week.
Rich: Yeah. So, Chris is the president and founder of Email Connect. And Email Connect runs enterprise ESP selection processes for email marketing platforms for many of the world's leading brands and has done for many years. So, we're talking about somebody that is an absolute expert in email marketing, has been for many years, and what he doesn't know about this particular part of the MarTech space. Literally, it can be written on a postage stamp. A really interesting guy to pay attention, Tim.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely. Chris is a great guy and we're going to see more from him, but let's dig in here. So, he's basically saying that the loyalty program, the loyalty data, and email marketers, they need to get together. They need to collaborate and understand what they know about a customer to basically empower both sides independently and together. Right?
Rich: Yeah, and Chris gives it a little bit of a context and in this article, which we'll post the link too, he talks about a little bit of an anecdote about how he was 10 years ago thinking about setting up Email Connect. And his boss at the time was trying to convince him that ad tech was the place to be. That was the hot ticket, and actually email marketing was becoming a little bit passe and he really needed to be where the future was. His article starts off by saying how glad he was that on this one occasion, he didn't actually listen to his boss because you have the ad tech space really struggling with privacy. Really struggling with the death of the cookie in all sorts of trouble. Whilst on the other side, you actually have MarTech specifically, CDPs and email marketing vendors, that are actually booming because of this disruption, because Google, the IEB, and others are all saying it's now all about first party relationship. So, everybody is thinking," How do I build my database? How do I establish those dreads, to customer consumer relationships, that's going to give me that first and zero party data that's so important in the way that the world is now shaping up around privacy."
Tim: Yeah. Look, not only that, we're in a good position, people on the first party relationship marketing side of things, not the ad tech side to humanize that, right? I mean, email's a very personal and intimate channel as well as SMS, which we'll talk about a lot. It's time to not only get that first party relationship built, but really start to humanize that connection and interaction with customer. What else does he get into?
Rich: Well, the interesting thing here is he's also talking about this evolution, which is impacting email marketing industry, and he's actually making it far more productive than it might've been in the past. Because as brands, as retailers, as marketing is pretty focused on collecting, and leveraging first party data, and zero party data, they can then really personalize and trigger emails that are far more effective, because they're coming from a far greater understanding of a customer as an individual. So, he's seeing this move to first party relationships, this move to collecting first and zero party data as it's almost like a rebirth, if you like, of the effectiveness of email marketing. Not that it's ever not been effective, it's always been effective, but this is just another level of granularity in being able to understand what's the right message to send to the individuals based on a real understanding of who they are.
Tim: Yep. Absolutely, and in his article, he defines first party data and zero party data, which we've covered extensively. And by the way, just go to cheetahdigital. com/ resources up in the top nav, we've got the zero party data playbook. We've got the path to personalization where we literally break down all the different types. What else does he cover in here, and what does he start to suggest that's interesting and unique?
Rich: Yeah. Once you have the email marketing world doing everything they can to really collect zero party data to... They've been collecting first party data for quite some time, but it's really in the last, I'd say 18 months, we've really seen this big uptick in email marketers specifically thinking about zero party data to augment their first party data. And that, is obviously data that has been transparently and willingly offered by consumers to brands in return for more personalized content, more personalized offers, more personalized services. As opposed to first party data, which you can collect from analyzing and observing what people are doing on your websites, or through your e- commerce systems and POS systems, et cetera. So, it's putting those two things together. She's really giving these richer profiles that can trigger personalized emails and offers. Now, as marketers have actually been doing, email marketers, I'm sorry, do that. What Chris is actually saying in this article is actually, they need to look to loyalty programs. He makes the point that the first thing you should ask if you say," Well, I don't have a loyalty program," it's in this day and age with privacy disruptions," Why haven't you got a loyalty program?" That's the first thing you should be asking, but assuming that loyalty programs, you have one, and you understood this, the shift to the need to build these direct relationships with everything that's going on with ad tech disruption. You need to now look at, as Chris was saying, what can the loyalty program actually do for the email marketing program? And he makes the point right off the bat, that loyalty programs have always been an absolute treasure trove of first and zero party data.
Tim: Absolutely. There's so many things that happen inside of a loyalty program that could be tapped for other things like email marketing personalization, For sure.
Rich: Yeah, exactly. When he kind of makes the point that it's basically like two types of loyalty programs. Is those with whom you have to stay in the relationship, and then there's those with whom you want to stay in the relationship.
Tim: Sure. So, the first one might be an example, and he mentions the grocery store, right? If you're a shopper in a grocery store, you can give some information to get coupons, offers specials, but you can leave that program, right? You can go to another grocery store down the block, and you didn't really lose anything, because it was more of a real time transactional. Whereas the second one, and I just experienced this week, I was talking to you about is something where you're actually building equity in that loyalty program, right? As you know, I'm flying to see you in the UK at the end of the month, and instantly when I booked the ticket, I got an email that said," Hey, Tim, we've bumped you up in your tier, but you can also use some of your points that you've accumulated to go to first- class for an international flight." And I was like," Boom, done!" And it all happened within five minutes. So, I was invested in that loyalty program, I've amassed the points, I've already told them that I travel for business exclusively, and then they triggered the email based on all that information. And they know me well. I mean, they treat me well on the plane. I fly a lot. That's a second level of the ones you want to be in that relationship and build some equity to retain that customer.
Rich: Yeah, no, no, no. We know that email's always been an extremely important part of loyalty programs. I mean, just think about the types of email campaigns that are sent out routinely as part of loyalty programs. There's, communications around point totals, special offers and coupons, partner specials, and deals, update your preferences, newsletters, et cetera. There's always been enormous synergy in terms of how email plays a part in loyalty program, but it's not something that's commonly done where email marketers will actually look at a loyalty program and go," Right, what can that actually, what can the loyalty program do to benefit my email marketing?" And that's where this treasure trove of data comes into play.
Tim: Absolutely. He's got five great points. Let's cover them real quick, because we have a minute left here.
Rich: Yeah. Sorry. Is the current loyalty program fully leveraging email marketing to engage with his members? That's one question, he says you should ask. He says," Is the loyalty program gathering the right data about his members," right? Is it asking the right questions, collecting that great data? Does the loyalty program database contain data that could be leveraged by the email marketing team? Of course, and how can the email team turn subscribers into loyalty program members and thus help themselves to more zero party data?
Tim: This is great, and there's a great case study we have with Vans that goes into how they actually activate this. Things beyond purchases to actually inform emails, and in fact, I got my email from vans the other week and I just ordered some new ones. So, that's a great example of me taking non- purchase oriented tasks, flowing into email, and then sending me to do more. Rich, we got 15 seconds left.
Rich: Read the article. Very interesting to see this convergence between loyalty and email. So, get that, take it away.
Tim: Another good one. We'll see you next time.
As President of Email Connect, Chris Marriott brings years of digital marketing and vendor selection experience to helps clients connect with the right marketing technology solutions for email and multichannel marketing. Chris breaks down why the loyalty program is the best way to collect zero-party data as a clear demonstration of value exchange, then going one step further and integrating loyalty programs into your email marketing strategy for the most effective results. He also outlines some important questions your company needs to ask to start leveraging all your data in less that ten minutes.