Loyalty Marketing is key. Roberto Muñoz, Head of Loyalty Travel at Puntos Colombia manages a joint program between Colombia’s largest bank Bancolombia and Latin American retailer Grupo Éxito. Prior to his current role, he was a strategist for Aeroméxico’s loyalty program Club Premier. The brand marketing leader shares key insights about digital channels for loyalty marketing with Portada including how tech and digital channels enable companies to engage and gain new customers and keep them happy coming back.
Interview conducted by Alejandra Velazquez
Technology plays a crucial role in enabling marketers to do a better job, not least when it comes to loyalty marketing. In fact, 84% of executives surveyed by Accenture agree that companies are using technology to weave themselves seamlessly into how people live today.
“Technology helps us to segment audiences. It sparks activation” Muñoz says, adding “Technology provides us the data to develop the right targeting strategies. That way, we keep captive users interested and lure in new consumers via their passion points, like travel, fashion and entertainment. The challenge is recruiting customers that actually interact with the brand, not just sign their name on a list.” But nothing matters if the information isn’t properly documented. The challenge is tracking customer data and applying it correctly in order to serve your marketing strategy. A department that manages and filters big data correctly is always a must.
But nothing matters if the information isn’t documented properly. A department that manages and filters big data correctly is always a must.
Digital Channels: E-mail Marketing is Still an Effective Tool
“Digital channels are key to bring new customers into our loyalty marketing programs. You can target specific audiences by sending key messages. 85% of our customers say they read our news through e-mail marketing. I’ve heard many experts talk about the death of e-mail marketing, but our numbers show the contrary,” Muñoz asserts.
Segmenting information via e-mail is the only thing that ensures the client remains active in your program.
According to Muñoz, segmenting information via e-mail is the only thing that ensures the client remains active in your program. Many strategists say “leave your most valuable customers alone, you don’t want them to get bored. I think when you’re really involved with a brand, you don’t mind how often they contact you. You know you’ll get relevant content eventually.”
…Social? Not so much
“Social network strategies are too focused on massive audiences. We address and recruit a very small percentage of users on social networks. Some programs only want users to click here and then to subscribe to a given program and get an immediate benefit. However, out of all users who sign up, a tiny percentage will actually become involved. You invest a lot of money and end up with a handful of users akin to your brand. One time in Aeroméxico we set a goal to sign up one million new customers onto our base. But in the end, less than 5% of those clients were actual travelers. The rest had been “bullied into it” by the hoards of ads we’d purchased on digital.” However once you have acquired new clients, social media may prove a valuable tool for loyalty marketing.
You invest a lot of money and end up with a handful of users akin to your brand.
Loyalty Marketing: Three Ways to Get Customer Feedback
Reliable customer feedback is also an important piece of Puntos Colombia’s strategy for using digital channels for loyalty marketing. Muñoz has developed three ways to approach customers: direct meetings, focus groups, and surveys.
“High-profile customers get invited to breakfast or lunch to offer their feedback and opinions about the program. Nothing is as valuable as having customers tell you how they feel in person. We have a very direct style of approaching customers. The director of the program may have a sit down with customers and explain what they can and can’t do about their non-conformities.”
They also have focus groups conducted through third-party researchers. Because when consumers don’t know they’re speaking directly to a brand, it helps them give unbiased feedback. Last but not least, there’s surveys. Many valuable customers take the time to respond and are often rewarded with incentives like additional points. The incentives help ensure they are interested in giving their honest opinion.
Reliable customer feedback is also an important piece of Puntos Colombia’s strategy.
Roberto Muñoz, Head of Loyalty, Travel at Puntos Colombia, will be one of the dozens of brand marketing innovators participating at at the exclusive knowledge-sharing and networking event Portada Live on Sept. 22.