Meeting Loyalty Members in the Moment
Retail loyalty programs of all types are seeing significant adoption and participation growth.
Starbucks, for example, announced in its Q2 2022 report that members of its Starbucks Rewards program increased by 17 percent to 26.7 million active members. Those members represent over half the company’s revenues. In grocery, Albertsons Companies began 2022 with 30 million active Just for You loyalty members, a 45 percent jump in membership compared to 2019.
For these retailers and others, the increase in loyalty program members represents vast opportunities to further a connection with consumers and win long-term, high-spending customers. Customers and loyalty members are looking to engage, but are retailers meeting them and assisting them on their shopping journeys in the most optimal way?
For years, retailers have employed personalization tactics in marketing, but a new model — Marketing in the Moment — aims to do more. It serves customers, especially loyalty program members, an enhanced personalization experience that reflects where a shopper is, what they’re doing in that moment, and factors in environmental contexts to make it feel even more immediate and relevant. It knows who a shopper is and serves content that applies to what they’re doing at that moment.
Personalization When it Matters Most
To date, marketing personalization has primarily focused on who a shopper is and what they’ve purchased before to help retailers send the most relevant content (e.g., promotions, news) to them to improve their experience. The next evolution in that personalization process is going beyond simply knowing who the shopper is to identify what they’re doing in real time — their context — and sending unique offers and information to each customer based on that moment. This is the essence of Marketing in the Moment. It looks at each customer individually, who they are and their purchase history, and then flows in data like location, what they’re doing in the moment (e.g., researching a recipe online), information on weather and seasonal activities, and much more.
There are four key areas or contextual triggers that Marketing in the Moment relies on to build a personalized shoppable moment. These triggers include:
- What’s happening around the customer and in their daily life? Examples include weather, sporting events and community events.
- Location and movement. Where is the customer at that moment? They can be in a store, at home, on the subway, etc.
- What is the customer doing at that moment? This can be reviewing loyalty points in the app, browsing recipes, creating a shopping list, and more.
- System triggers. What’s the latest in the retailer’s marketing platform? Examples include meeting a loyalty goal, redeeming points, or engaging with a retailer over social media.
These contextual data triggers work in concert with what retailers know about who a customer is, such as demographics and purchase history, to build a Marketing in the Moment message.
Retailers are ushering in new loyalty members actively seeking a more personalized experience; they’re seeking a partner in their shopping experience. A model like Marketing in the Moment enables retailers to develop a stronger one-to-one relationship with each shopper.
Use Case: Marketing in the Moment in Action
First, how a Marketing in the Moment message gets delivered runs through these three pivotal Cs:
- Customer: A retailer starts by factoring in what's known about the customer they’re targeting: life stage, purchase history, dietary needs, price sensitivity, etc.
- Context: Secondly, the retailer adds any contextual data at work: environment, location, activity and system triggers.
- Content: Lastly, the retailer delivers a call to action or notification for a customer: loyalty point milestone alert, a gift, coupon, sweepstakes message, etc.
The content can go far beyond promotions and points.
For example, a midsize supermarket with a few hundred stores could use Marketing in the Moment to send a 5 p.m. notification to a program member (who they know is gluten-free and currently on a train home from work where a store is at a nearby stop) announcing a promotion on a new gluten-free pasta along with a link to a recipe. The message can speak directly to that shopper to make the next train stop and try a new dinner that evening.
At the same time, touting the same gluten-free pasta brand, a Marketing in the Moment message from an individual location could reach a shopper in-store, sending a coupon for a free trial and a link to a story about the organic process of making the pasta product.
Another shopper could be at home, looking at their rewards balance and receive an online offer for the pasta that would push them over a rewards threshold. Each scenario shows how a retailer can meet shoppers "in the moment."
Marketing in the Moment is personalization with a purpose. It’s more than knowing who a shopper is; it understands how an individual customer can be served with context and content at the most optimal time of engagement. Marketing in the Moment can transform loyalty programs from a reliable way to reward customers for shopping into a powerful engine to drive sales and win customers for life.
Tim Mason is CEO of Eagle Eye Solutions, a SaaS technology company transforming marketing by creating digital connections that enable personalized performance marketing in real time through coupons, loyalty, apps, subscriptions and gift services.
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Tim has been CEO of Eagle Eye since September 2016, joining as Chairman in January 2016. He has over 30 years’ experience within the grocery and retail industries, with a strong background in strategic marketing and customer loyalty.
Previously, Tim was a managing director at Sun Capital Partners and Chairman of Bonmarché Holdings plc from 2013 to 2015. Prior to that he was Deputy CEO at Tesco from January 2010 to December 2012. He held a number of other roles within the Tesco Group between 1982 and 2012 including CMO for Tesco and CEO of Fresh & Easy LLC. Tim spearheaded Tesco’s bid to crack America, and was responsible for the expansion and operations of 150 stores US wide.
Throughout his career at Tesco, he was renowned for being in touch with the customer, and instrumental in the creation of some of Tesco’s most successful marketing initiatives (Clubcard, Express, Personal Finance and Tesco.com). He is also a Director of It's Fresh Ltd and Purple.